The clothes worn by the performers evoked the ways in which women often dress to have fun and to dance, to be young and alive at night, in bars and streets and discos, but they are also reminiscent of the kind of clothing a woman might wear when she is raped or killed. These are the kind of outfits that are still moralised within the sort of male gaze that inherits a cultural tendency to assign guilt to the feminine subject and not the masculine agent. These are the sort of clothes that call to mind the throbbing question that arises all too often when a woman is raped: what was she wearing?
‘I have the feeling that if you talk too much about the meaning of something, some of that meaning slips away. I’ve gone through so many interviews with questions about China and Chinese design. It gets tiring. I used to hate being grouped together with other Chinese designers in the ‘China column’ in some Western magazine. But I don’t take it personally anymore. People will always stereotype others. I can’t change that. My feelings can’t be stereotyped though, and as long as I can grow and evolve and avoid feeling trapped by those stereotypes, it’s okay.’
Half-naked and with a silk sash supposedly around his neck, Tamás Király was found dead in his own apartment after what various media outlets called a night of rough, sado-masochistic romp with a male sex worker. In the socially conservative country that is Hungary, both the police and the press focused on the potentially shameful, reputation-ruining aspects of his death instead of the incredible legacy he left behind.
In the middle of my move, I pack boxes of things and throw other things away. So many things are thrown out. The opening up of closets, trunks, and boxes reminds me of the basement closet I hid in as a child, while my parents worked in the adjacent room painting cheap costume jewellery under fluorescent lights. The clothes smelled of mothballs and mildew, damp wool and old fur. Its rafters held my mother’s secret stash of cash and bills. The clothes in this closet — of dresses and jackets — were worn so long ago, pictured only in faded photos, worn on bodies before having children, when my mother was a different person, a young working woman in the city making money for only herself.
The examination of ‘the image of the homosexual as a sad young man,’ is in essence a critique of stereotypes and a contextualisation of the many novels, plays and films produced in the 1950s and 60s which condemned gay men to a nether-world of self-loathing, ennui and melancholy. But it also sketched out a lineage in which the image can be seen to have evolved through historical representations of masochistic religious martyrdom (Saint Sebastian), romantic lyricism (the death of Chatterton), medical pathology (the weak invert), psychoanalytic trauma (Freudian mother-love), and urban alienation (angsty existentialism). These are hardly conducive of the positive role-models that gay liberation validated in the late Sixties and Seventies, yet in a sense they offered a form of fulfillment and redemption.
Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster’s daughter. Then there was well-bred economy, which in those days made show in dress the first item to be deducted from, when any margin was required for expenses more distinctive of rank. Such reasons would have been enough to account for plain dress, quite apart from religious feeling; but in Miss Brooke’s case, religion alone would have determined it; and Celia mildly acquiesced in all her sister’s sentiments, only infusing them with that common-sense which is able to accept momentous doctrines without any eccentric agitation. Dorothea knew many passages of Pascal’s Pensees and of Jeremy Taylor by heart; and to her the destinies of mankind, seen by the light of Christianity, made the solicitudes of feminine fashion appear an occupation for Bedlam.
Celebrities who are famous for being famous often try to distance themselves from the shallowness of their fame by emphatically articulating what they want to be: an entrepreneur, a businesswoman, a DJ. They turn their hobbies into passions, to add depth to their persona and legitimise the attention trained on them. But they do not originate their own fascination: while they benefit from it, we too are implicated. We desire ‘heroes into which we pour our own purposelessness,’ looking to apparently notable people to divert us and amplify the events of our own lives, celebrities thereby functioning as ‘ourselves seen with a magnifying mirror.’