Sunday, February 23, 2014

Microaggressions: A Mylo Analysis

          Hello! I am Mylo and because I did not take the opportunity to introduce myself in my first blog I would like to do so now. UT demographics-wise, I am a third year social work major. I am also a comic book, Japanese fashion, gaming, and happy hardcore enthusiast. So, in short, a super kawaii nerd! ^_^
           As a result of my interests, I have noticed that people tend to react to me in a somewhat awkward manner. I had no way of expressing this reaction until I read the following article that Shane (our instructor and mentor) posted on Facebook about a week ago:

Finally, those awkward reactions had a name: microaggressions. Unfortunately, I find that I experience microaggression on a fairly routine basis, however, I experience them most heavily whenever I am engaged in one of my favorite hobbies, Lolita fashion. Lolita fashion (which has absolutely nothing to do with the book of the same name) is a popular form of Japanese street fashion. You can learn more about Lolita fashion through the following link:

As an active member of my local Lolita community, I go out in public, in Lolita, to participate in meet-ups about twice a month. I personally love the Lolita fashion because it affords me an opportunity to “perform” hyper-feminine in a fun and interesting way. To me it is my own kind of “drag,” in which I get to express my gender in a way, and to a degree which I normally don’t while connecting with people that I might have never met otherwise.

Me with some super kawaii accessories 

However, in my “normal” life, people find it difficult to understand why the Mylo who sees herself as gender non-conforming would ever want to leave her house in frills (a term Lolitas commonly use to describe their outfits); because after all I’m LGBTQ identified, so I “must” want to appear more masculine. In my “Lolita” life everyone seems to automatically assume that I am straight and that I see myself as being female 24/7. So, as you can imagine this places me in a bit of an awkward place, which only further complicates my already fluid identity. Microaggressions seem to be hurled at me from both sides while all the while, I’m just trying to do me. I can attest to the fact that microaggressions do hurt; for instance, I am not out to my Lolita community because many of the members do so strongly endorse heteronormative behaviors. As a result, I believe that we need to be more conscientious of microaggrassions and how we may be unintentionally hurting those around us. I know that after having read this article, I have caught myself engaging in microaggressive thoughts and I made a conscious effort to evaluate and eliminate those thoughts. I believe that everyone should be able to express themselves in whatever way is true to them, be it through frills, haircuts, make-up, piercings, tattoos, anything! Through eliminating microaggressions, I believe that we open up freedom of expression like never before. 

Me being a dork at yesterdays meet-up at Illuminate ATX
Our community raised an incredible $1,400 for SafePlace 

Do you, 
<3 Mylo

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