5/5/11 La La Land & Some Feminist Fedora Love
This was in a local gallery called Factory Fresh which has since shut down and become an art supply store. Incidentally, Sweet Toof has an image of what he did on said building at the time on his site. (Boy that little side street was unusually clean that day.)
Meanwhile, on a topic that is of importance to the internet and absolutely no place else, I’m wearing a fedora in this comic. Or maybe it’s a trilby. I’m not enough of a purist to be certain. Eric (an even bigger hat person than I am) came with both and now we both share them. Lately it seems there’s been a lot of fedora-hate, most centering around a few blogs and articles associating fedoras with angry misogynists. I haven’t seen an item of clothing receive such stigma since mens’ tank tops became permanently associated with wife beating. And personally, I find it just as specious.
On the “fedoras are evil” side there seem to be a lot of photos of nerdy guys in fedoras, often with some pretty horrific quotes attributed to them from various dating sites, Facebook, what have you. Despite the fact that these Angry Nerds wear other items of clothing, their fedoras are singled out for correlation with their misogyny. On the “Huh?” side, where I fall, are images of jazz musicians, mi Abuelo in the wintertime, old timey cartoon detectives, 80′s ska, old timey cartoon gangsters. Memories of my own teenage self with spiky hair peeking out of one with an oversized thrift store blazer over a ragged little dress of cut-off shorts made of military fatigues, black nails chipping, as they still often are. Or Eric, better to me than any partner I’ve had, in a fedora…the two crueler ones, I don’t remember them ever wearing such a thing, not that I like to try.
But that might bring me to my biggest source of confusion with this meme, the idea that any of this is about a hat itself. If you understandably take issue with some douchebag on OK Cupid or wherever saying that he thinks it’s cool to have sex with a girl who’s passed out drunk, you’re taking issue with his attitude, not his hat. A hat doesn’t create rape apologism any more than an undershirt creates domestic violence. To think otherwise is silly and superficial, and overlooks the fact that such problems exist in all walks of life, in various cultures,classes, subcultures. Which original fedora-wearers might have been able to tell you! From Wikipedia:
The word fedora comes from the title of an 1882 play by dramatist Victorien Sardou, Fédora, written for Sarah Bernhardt. The play was first performed in the United States in 1889. Bernhardt played Princess Fédora, the heroine of the play. During the play, Bernhardt, a notorious cross-dresser, wore a center-creased, soft brimmed hat. Womens-rights activists adopted the fashion. Men began to wear them with city clothes after 1924, led by Britain’s Prince Edward, the most influential man of fashion in his day
Bold emphasis mine.
Besides, this fedora endures consumerism, barroom brawls and police brutality to be reunited with his love. How many misogynists would do that?