Ross Hickman ‘22 and Lyra Seaborn ‘22
Raven Hudson, a junior English and Gender & Sexuality Studies double major from Augusta, Georgia, sat down with us to talk about all things queer and fashionable in her life.
Raven broadly describes her style as “lazy butch.” Lots of black and deep red t-shirts make up her wardrobe, and for the most part she likes to dress “laid-back.” For Raven, “realizing that I don’t have to necessarily conform to traditional ideas of femininity if I don’t want to, and I don’t have to cater to men, freed me in a way to dress however I want.”
Raven has come into a fashion identity born largely out of the intersection between her queerness and her identity as an Asian woman. Realizing her sexuality and being around more people of color have helped Raven push back against certain ideals of fashion. “I grew up surrounded by a lot of Whiteness, and I definitely thought that I had to dress and be like a lot of the White women that were around me.” But after “learning about myself, I don’t have to aspire to that ideal.”
Certain visual codes have particular importance for Raven’s sense of style. Having a shorter haircut has had an influence on Raven’s fashion choices, especially when opting for more masculine clothing. Tattoos are also part of her personal aesthetic, and Raven finds it “fun to have clothing that shows off” her tattoos.
Many people with queer sexualities are often assumed to have non-normative gender expressions as well. But as Raven makes clear, not every queer person has that experience. Even so, Raven thinks “learning about queerness lets you think about how constructed gender is, and along with gender, often the clothes that are associated with gender.”
Queer people can sometimes have a complicated relationship with comments on what they’re wearing. For Raven, comments on her attire “can be really affirming.” Raven tends to receive more comments when wearing “more butch clothing,” so she enjoys when someone might, say, point out how cool her utility pants are.
Raven notes that a person’s clothing choice is always political.
“Men and masculine people aren’t supposed to dress feminine, and femininity in general is looked down upon in society.” But, as Raven also attests, women wearing traditionally masculine clothing also receive criticism.
At clothing stores, Raven often shops in the “men’s section” because certain cuts of clothing there “are made nicer,” and, as opposed to some women’s clothing, the “pockets are a plus.”
A new series for the Et Cetera section, the Queer Fashion Spotlight will feature queer and questioning students’ views and expressions of fashion. ‘Queer’ here is trans-inclusive. If you are a queer or questioning student and would like to be featured, please contact Ross Hickman at email@example.com or Lyra Seaborn at firstname.lastname@example.org.