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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Licentiate Column 21/04/11: The Man Repeller

Are you a Man Repeller?

I don’t mean in the literal sense, as if you had an internal chromosonal magnet tuned to the same polarity as all men.

Nor am I asking if you smell bad, or are ugly, or have a terrible personality - because I know you don’t (and even if you did, there’s still someone out there for you - more than likely a belching farting, incredibly hostile someone, but a special someone all the same).

The Man Repeller is a blog written by New Yorker Leandra Medine. In it, she talks about all the clothes that your friends go bananas over, but make men scratch their heads in puzzlement,which sometimes happens when women do things not exclusively for their masculine amusement.

Capes, detachable collars, fringing, feathers, sequins, print clashes, harem pants, clogs, shoulder pads and boyfriend jeans are all incorporated into outfits that are both cheerfully tongue-in-cheek and dead-serious stylish. Not since the suffragette movement has something that comes so naturally to women been so totally incomprehensible for men.

The Man Repeller is a person too. She’s me in glaring neon pink jeans. She’s my best friend with tattoos and leopard print. She’s that girl in the shop with a Dellal esque demi-shaved head.

She’s you in your absolute favourite pair of shoes. She’s all of us - the Carrie Bradshaw part that wears what she wants, not what is expected of her. She’s the kind of person who keeps up with the trends, but dresses only for herself. No kitten heels may pass the threshold of her wardrobe doors, for there are too many of clunky Acne/Topshop/Penneys wedges taking up space inside.

Why wrap up in a sensible coat on a cold winter’s day when you can dress like a yeti a la Chanel? Greasy locks? Leave the dry shampoo to one side and pop on a turban. The Man Repeller might look a bit bonkers to the general public, but her fellow Repellows knows that she’s channeling Old Hollywood meets Roaring Twenties meets Opium Den. She doesn’t really care what the general public thinks anyway. She loves the turban. Her taste is just so good it goes beyond the realms of normal human perception. That’s good enough for me.

For anyone who thinks that fashion can’t be feminist, think again. For those who maintain that shopping is a shallow pursuit, well, you might be right; but you have to admit that the Man Repeller adds credence. Freedom of expression and non-conformity will always be a good thing - even if it’s only in outfit form.

The Man Repeller doesn’t hate men, she likes them - most of the time. She also likes being her own person. That is where the disparity lies. It’s a toss on a doubled-sided coin. Heads to please yourself. Tails to attract the opposite sex. For the Man Repeller, heads wins every time.