The post I have been writing in my mind almost every day for the last two years
Is it important for you that a woman wears long hair?
Important that she has skirts on?
Make-up, at least nude and barely visible?
A bambi-like soft glance?
At least something.
At least one thing to label sex.
What if a woman’s appearance doesn’t include anything mentioned above? What if she is tall, athletic, doesn’t use make-up, doesn’t wear jewelry, doуыn’t try to look sweet.
I know what you are going to say: “Well and good, nobody insists. Let her look as she wants.”
And I’m going to answer that it doesn’t work. She can’t look as she wants. Because everybody is watching.
Interestingly, they look not at the person, but somewhere through, as they just don’t see a person themselves. They see a subject that doesn’t fit automatically to any of the familiar and understandable categories “old woman”/”girl”/”chick” etc. And at this exact moment appears THE LOOK.
Oh, that look.
Tense. Alert. Spiteful.
Yes, spiteful. The person’s appearance is so nontrivial, so unordinary that all the patterns start cracking deafeningly. Unknown frightens. That is why spitefulness. Neither curiosity, nor respectful astonishment, nor fascination (“Wow! What an ordinary person!”), but aggression.
I know what you are going to say: “What do you mean aggression! Nobody behaves aggressively.”
And I’m going to answer that it doesn’t work like that. You don’t see yourself through others’ eyes when you look at a person who is somehow or completely does not coincide with the familiar to you image of a “woman” or “man”. But I see. At the rebound. Because I walk next to a woman who looks more like Rain Dove than Reese Witherspoon or Penélope Cruz.
People look at her. Although it’s better to say they rivet their eyes on, they leech into her with their looks. And I look at them. And every time I get shivers up my spine so unfriendly and unkind those looks are.
“What? What the hell? Who are you? What are you? What to expect from you?”
People who made a choice to look “uncomfortable” for all the rest around, carry inside oceans of patience.
Because their patience is put to test on every step. They walk as if they are cocooned in wet cloth so difficult it is to breathe because of that suffocating dull attention.
At some point, I got an idea to make a photo project. To take pictures of people’s faces discreetly — outside, in bars, toilets, cinemas — who look at a woman with an appearance uncomfortable and incomprehensible for them. So far I haven’t come up with another way to show people HOW it looks for others, their “I just looked, so what?” But these looks make even me surrender to despair. Me! So how is that her? How is that for everyone who affords the luxury to look against everything conventional?
None of those photos would have a friendly smile in.
And only children smile to her. And never mistake her for a man, correcting confused adults who lost an ability to look at people without any patterns.