My Aesthetic Roots: Why Just One?

I don’t like the idea of using a single aesthetic to describe a person. People are complex, multifaceted beings that deserve more than a word with a two sentence Webster definition attached to it. So I’ve decided to write about all the different aesthetics that I feel encompass what being Mary Rahjes is all about.

I think the first one that we should start with is “fandom”. I’ve mentioned this before in my previous posts about my final project, with the fact that I want to try and incorporate some part of the fandoms that I hold near and dear to my heart. So much of my life is built upon the books, TV shows, and movies that I love. The walls of my bedroom are completely covered in posters of my favorite characters. I have replicas of items from their universes. I’ve planned out many tattoos that I will get in the future that are purely fandom based. The media that I consume is very important to me, and it is evident in a lot of the things I do and items that I invest money and energy into.

Another one that is very high up on my descriptor list is “punk”. This also falls into the realm of what media I choose to consume, but also in the way that I present myself to the world. Anyone who knows me well knows that about half my closet is concert tees from my favorite bands, or other band related items. My largest Spotify playlist (which I am listening to as I write this post) is titled “That Middle School Emo Phase”. Obviously wearing MCR shirts to work isn’t exactly encouraged, so my punk aesthetic has taken a bit of a step back as I move into my professional life, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone for good.

Speaking of work, another aesthetic that I feel is integral to my roots is “nerd”. I love being an engineer. I love working at an aerospace company. I love everything that has to do with space, both in terms of exploring it and just staring at the stars on a clear night. I love completely nerding out about scientific inaccuracies in movies and TV shows (you can’t just throw the word “quantum” into a sentence and act like it explains everything), or staying up until four in the morning on a work night to watch the latest SpaceX launch. Being an engineer, and being unashamed about how cool it is, is really important to how I live my life. I literally bought a circuit board patterned dress because I was THAT EXCITED about having an excuse to wear something science-themed out and about that was also practical.

The last part of my aesthetic roots is “feminine”. I enjoy the fandom memorabilia, the concert tees, the total nerd-dom of my entire life. But at the end of the day sometimes I really do just enjoy the classically feminine things. It hasn’t always been an important part of my life, although it’s starting to be, what with work dress codes frowning on graphic tees and combat boots, and I’m embracing it.

When I asked my twin sister to describe my aesthetic, she offered two things: “emo meets chic” and “punk space girly thang”. Both of which feel fitting, and also make me laugh a little. Even my sister, who knows me better than anyone else, couldn’t use one word to describe my aesthetic. She couldn’t even use one PHRASE. She used two! It’s like I said, doesn’t seem to work well to try summing up an entire person with so few descriptors.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi, Mary,

    I definitely agree with you, on the idea that human is so complex and shouldn’t be limited by the description of JUST one aesthetic. It’s very interesting that you brought up “feminism” as one of your aesthetics. It kind of reminded me of pink, which now often represents female but used to be a masculine color. To some extends, it almost feels like there is nothing that’s truly feminine, especially at today’s age, when lot of Youtubers wear makeup, dress up like women, etc. The line which defines a gender specific style has became blurrier and blurrier. Which makes me wonder which are the things that you would define as feminine and how long they would continue to be recognized as “classically feminine”.

    Best,

    Xiang

    Reply
    • I had a very difficult time trying to pick a defining word for my last aesthetic choice. I really wanted to stay way from enforcing gender norms, or assuming gender roles, when talking about this aspect. But I just couldn’t think of any other words to really describe it well. I agree that the lines between gender specific styles has grown blurrier, or been dispersed all together in some areas of aesthetics, which I think is a really good and positive thing. But even as those lines tend to disappear, we haven’t found new ways to describe those styles. Hopefully in the future there will be more inclusive language used to describe those aesthetics.

      Reply

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