The Anarchy Feminine

Bethany Dean By Bethany Dean, 21st Feb 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Fashion>Style Basics

A vague explanation of an anarchic lifestyle from one who tries to live it, based on the works of G. K. Chesterton.

The Definition of an Anarchist

Anarchy might now conjure up images of 80's punks and skinheads, safety pins and Dr Martens, fighting in the streets. But one hundred years ago anarchy meant a much quieter affair - and it's a philosophy we could all do with following nowadays, especially if you're female.

Anarchy simply means a revolt against order, turning things on its head, not necessarily at blowing-up-the-Houses-of-Parliament level. Anarchy's message was always, and still is, Be Yourself. But this has been Americanised to the point of nausea -the rejection of authority, rule-breaking and a prevalent sense of chaos now more or less describes every teenage girl's experiences in pursuit of self-confidence and satisfaction. The way to self-confidence lies in opening your eyes to what is really called Order nowadays - only then can we really discover Anarchy. You have to know the rules before you can break them.

Order, or the established norm, nowadays, is actually chaos. Never organised, always hectic, the world of the Hannah Montana syndicate and every marketed formula - issues, kookiness, friends' problems, misunderstandings. This is what the world is and if you're not this you're unusual. Teenage girls look towards books and movies to establish what 'normal' should be - but books and movies attempt to emulate their lives, it's just all a big circle, but the media have the power. Hence every girl should be disorganised, hectic, overachieving and nevertheless devastatingly cute, attractive, funny and likeable - although she thinks herself ugly, she is in fact beautiful, and always gets her prince. Because this sells. This is killing us. Real life is never so.

If the established order is chaos, then the ultimate anarchy must be order. If the norm is a reflection of us being the frustrated, self-conscious girls we are, then the ultimate anarchy must be to simply be happy with ourselves - easier said than done.

So to be happier, why not just try and recognise the conventions you've been exposed to - the normal reaction would be to throw them all away. So from the anarchist's point of view, simply pick and choose which to adhere to. Don't break all the rules - just the ones you want to. And really listen to what you want. Not what you think you want, what others might think you want, or what you want to want - what you WANT.

If you have no idea, take yourself to the limits of eccentricity, it's much easier to pull back than push further. If you like tea with lots of milk, why not try a glass of milk with a drop of tea? If you always admired cute girls with glasses but have 20/20 vision (a complete curse sometimes), buy a pair and push the lenses out. If you wear glasses and hate them, try contact lenses with dollar signs, or simply walk around with your vision in a blur - you never know who you might bump into...

Wear knitted spats, dress a different character every day, get people to call you Sir or develop a new smile. Today, fast-paced gadgetry, sexual equality and cutting-edge fashion are normal - so take up embroidery, insist men open doors for you and put their coats over puddles, and look out an old tea dress.

British eccentricity is rooted in this kind of topsy-turvy anarchism, the quiet, beautiful way only we know how. Nowadays Britain is seen to be 'broken' - so fix it.

'Anarchy' has become mainstream and 'cool'. Order is the new anarchy - so be happy in your new tidy, organised life, but realise that tidy and organised doesn't have to be everything in a plain cardboard filing box stacked from A-Z - it can be thousands of beautiful trinkets stored in those tiny jeweled gift boxes, shopping bags and hanging baskets strewn around a room. Just so long as you know where everything is, you are, and your loyalties lie. Be yourself - a true anarchist.

Further Reading...

{ My rather unique worldview is gleaned from the quite fabulous teachings of G. K. Chesterton, an anarchist, a novelist, and advocate of the beauty and poetry of lampposts. In the Edwardian era he enchanted discerning readers with anarchic novels such as the Man who was Thursday, and the Napoleon of Notting Hill, which deals with an apathetic government splitting London into separate kingdoms - and what happened when Notting Hill declared independence. But perhaps the best 'handbook' for today's old-fashioned anarchist is his book, What's Wrong with the World, in which he expostulates about women's issues in Chapter 41, Folly and Female Education. Published in 1910 as a more extensive response to a question posed in a prominent newspaper, his original reply was:

Dear Sirs,
I am.
G. K. Chesterton.

Read What's Wrong with the World in full, online, download a free Man Who Was Thursday audiobook, or visit The Napoleon of Notting Hill at Project Gutenberg.


Anarchy, Be Yourself, British, Confidence, Confident, Eccentric, England, Original

Meet the author

author avatar Bethany Dean
Author of the Rose Prince, available on Kindle and in paperback. | @bethanyrdean

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author avatar Kamaruzzaman
3rd Jun 2010 (#)

My political philosophy is almost anarchic...

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author avatar emmy19
5th Jul 2010 (#)

Good Work.
Follow me too

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