So...this just happened. I came home from the gym to see my new shoes waiting for me on the porch. I absolutely could not wait to try them on, so I did...while wearing my favorite pair of Sprawl shorts. This picture basically sums up my life: MMA and fashion. The only thing that could have completed the summation would be if I was standing in the middle of a library.
The Renaissance Man:
I have a friend who is 6'8, 275lbs and a yoga instructor. He was a college football player with a 4.0 and is now finishing his final year of dental school. We like to describe him as the enormous ex-football playing- yoga instructor-future dentist-crystal collecting-rare sea coral distributor. We have always delighted in the "Renaissance Man," that guy will varied skill sets from a plethora of discordant arenas. That guy from the Old-Spice commericals is a NFL player and an opera singer? Ryan Gosling used to train ballet and once stopped a fight between two hipsters?
|Um, yeah, I don't get it.|
|Now this I get.|
It is funny how we are easily charmed by the Renaissance man, yet seemingly skeptical of the 'Renaissance Woman.' A model who likes to read Russian literature? Fake. A female rugby player who loves fashion? Yeah right. Why is society so hesitant to recognize that women may also have varied interests?
When we have two discordant entities, the boundary that separates them is meaning. Feminine and masculine, light and dark, these binaries create meaning through their distinctions. Thus, the point where that boundary between antithesis is crossed is a site of transgression. Roland Barthes explains that "anything that draws these two antipathetic sides together is rightly scandalous," but perhaps scandal can be something positive (S/Z 65).
If the boundary that separates antithesis is meaning, then transgression is the erasure of that meaning. This can be positive when that meaning is an ideological construction used to marginalize and stigmatize those who operate outside their gender or social convention. New meaning and conventions can not be created in an instant. It is only through the play and manipulation of ideology through transgression that we can start to accept women who are intelligent and beautiful, aggressive and, if they choose to be, maternal.
I am a fighter, an academic and an aspiring pin-up...perhaps we can describe that as a triple transgression. Yet I think that most people out there are amalgams of cultural types. Pacquiao famously loves boxing, the church and karaoke. The gorgeous amazonian Serena Williams plays tennis 'like a man' and designs clothing as well as housewares. We should delight, as we do with me, in the varied interests and desires of women without being skeptical or dismissive.
Oh yeah, this also happened:
|I changed from the Sprawl shorts to the Jaco tights for this picture|
Barthes, Roland. S/Z. Trans. Richard Miller. Hill and Wang: New York, 1974.
Shoes from Modcloth (purchased on black Friday because I couldn't control myself)
First Pair: Cocktails in the Countryside Heels
Second Pair: Mirror Wood Heels