Must be tasteful

I happened upon another call for “tasteful” SL fashion-blog submissions, and my bullsh*t meter cracked. The dos and don’ts of SL blogging are so very clear, and so freighted with faux-moral patriarchal prohibitions, that it would be more honest to simply hunt down the slags and hos that are dirtying up the digi-pages and break their computers into tiny pieces than it is to hide behind the word tasteful. (And to misconstrue what it means. Aesthetic differences—i.e. questions of taste, as opposed to definitions of what’s tasteful—are not the issue.) Today I offer my take on what’s really at stake when someone calls for “tasteful” blogging. I’d love to hear dissenting views.

In a capitalist culture, the middle class does not have taste. Taste is something that only the rich possess. Taste is the aristocrat’s birthright. Paradoxically, although taste is manifested in ownership, it cannot be acquired through consumption. The middle class cannot have taste, but they can display tastefulness in acts of consumption. The rule of tastefulness dictates much more than consumption, however. Tastefulness is a discipline. Rigorous tastefulness demonstrates not worthiness but submission to the status quo.

The middle class subscribes to certain myths. It believes that tastefulness, as a discipline, is something that the working class cannot manage, because they are ruled by instinct. The middle class also subscribes to the belief that people of colour, homosexuals, and women are dangerously prone to tastelessness. This does not simply mean that they do not buy and display the right things. It means that they bring down the tone. If the middle class is going to preserve their (relative and limited) privilege, they must distance themselves from those who threaten to pollute the milieu. In addition to disciplining themselves, the middle class must police the behaviour of their fellows and their inferiors. This is what it means to be a “manager” under capitalism. Restraint in consumption is closely linked to restraint in sexuality, especially for women. Women who are not tasteful in their manner of dress, behaviour and speech are suspected of sexual impropriety. Despite what beer commercials suggest, middle class men do not choose tasteless women for mates.

Although the middle class dreams of upward mobility, their acquiescence in the regime of self-discipline and shaming of undisciplined others shows their willingness to assume and defend a relatively low station in life. The perfect bourgeois woman is so preoccupied with being tasteful, and with ostracizing anyone who is not, that she doesn’t have the energy to fight capitalist exploitation of workers. Indeed, she is dressed so tastefully that she forgets that she is a worker. That leaves all of us in the lurch.

Credits to creators
blouse: Glam Affair, Orchid Ice
skirt: dg, Peeping Skirt
skin: AMD, Vixen Gothly Prada 2 and 5 (ty Ms. May)
lashes: free*style, Even longer slutty lashes [I knew these would come in handy; not available any more]
reddened flesh: LeeZu, BDSM Spanked tat (old hunt gift)
shoes: G Field, Strap Shoes Alex Black (NEW and only 200L)
necklace: Miamai, BlackLabel Chod Warcry Necklace (current VIP gg; fee to join)
ring and bracelet: Finesmith, from the Noir set (ty Ms. Finesmith)
hair: Shag, Thai Me Up Roots Butterscotch
glasses: Vive9, Risky Readers (old gift)
poses: Olive Juice
photos were GIMPed


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