Wednesday, 1 June 2011

On attention, and wanting it vs. just being yourself

I'm so tired of the constant naging about how lolitas, goths and all kinds of people from other subcultures with unusual styles "only dress the way they do to get attention". How they could possibly ever do such a thing for themselves? Because if you dress that way, you must expect attention and therefore want it. Right.

Hey, here's the deal. You can dress a certain way and it might be for yourself, or it might not. No matter what, this has nothing to do with you wanting or not wanting attention. You can definitely want attention and still dress unusually because you, personally, like it and think it's pretty. One does not exclude the other. You can also dress unusually and not want attention from anyone, ever, because you're a socially fobic hermit. You can just sit in a forest somewhere, all alone, looking peculiar. That's okay. Not only ordinarily dressed people are hermits.

It is also possible that you don't care how you dress, just want attention, and decide to dress unusually to get it. This, I don't personally understand, but each to their own. It is also possibly to want attention from everyone all the time without looking unusual at all. There are other ways to get attention, you know.

I sort of go a mid way with this. I dress the way I do because I persona think it's beautiful. When I get dressed, I think of noone but myself. A small amount of egoism is good for you.

However, I want attention from a few, select people: people like me! People I have something in common with.

Of course most people want some kind of attention. It's an essential part of being a human being, unusually clad or not. It's not the main thing, but when you're in a subculture, you want attention from your peers. Not the train conductour, not some random lady in the street; your peers! What you want is the look of recognition. The little nod or smile that says: "We have something in common". That's the kind of attention you actually want. That is why even so many subcultures that are centered around other things than fashion have a style of their own: so that you'll recognize your peers!

Then you'll have someone to talk to about this interest/subculture of yours, and you can all be happy pumpkins toghether.

Of course, you must expect and be prepared that anyone might give you attention, but expecting is not the same thing as wanting. Anyone who stands out in any way, be it the way they look, their opinions, their behaviour, will get more attention and be questioned and stared at. Without wanting to. People are only human after all. I'm sure you've done the same some time. I have. The choice is between attention and pretending to be someone you're not. I'd rather deal with the attention. However, there is of course never any excuse to be rude. Staring is fine, being rude and grabbing people isn't. No matter who you are, who they are or how any of you look.


  1. well said. personally, I really hate driving too much attention, it really makes me uneasy, but it´s the price I pay for wanting to dress up differently from most people. I´m willing to pay it, but it´s not that I like it, specially when people are so derespectful and limited. it´s pretty intense in brazil on that matter, but I know that in most places there´s no understanding from the general population. I just HATE to countinously limit my freedom or creativity because of other people. or else I can´t be safe or comfortable. it´s very tiring.
    see, I guess this is the kind of stuff you could blog about. 8D and I like your outift posts too, usually it provides more details than just LB.

  2. I really agree with the part about not wanting to limit your freedom or creativity because of other people... Creativity isn't something bad, and I find it strange that so many people want others to limit it to fit in.

    Thankfully, in Sweden you usually don't get anything more than a lot of weird stares and people asking you questions in a rather rude manner. However, there are some really horrible acting people here too, just like everywhere else I guess.

  3. I agree with you wholeheartedly!