I don’t know if any of my readers (all four of you) ever spend a lot of time on Tumblr. Presumably you do if you’re here, but if not: Welcome to Tumblr! Mostly it’s great.
I say “mostly” because recently on the dashboard for my personal account, there’s been an upsurge in the amount of Carefree White Girls. There are literally thousands of these things — slightly desaturated pictures of unwashed girls with messy hair, looking forlorn in the woods or smoking in bed, or drinking out of a paper bag on the sidewalk. They’re all very pretty pictures, taken by talented photographers, or at least people with very nice cameras. But what I started to notice was this: every single one of these girls is white. I have never seen a Carefree Asian Girl, or a Carefree Brown Girl, or a Carefree Latina or what have you.
It’s strange. I mean, it’s not like white people are the only people who really love wearing see-through shirts and smoking cheap cigarettes. I love those things! Why is no one ever around with their DSLR to take a picture of me?
It’s not just that there aren’t any people of color in these kinds of photos that irks me. Take a look at the one I just posted: there’s a Four Loko (RIP) and some unwashed shot glasses and some bottles of alcohol — in the distance you can see a dark, small living room furnished with wooden chairs and a seemingly empty bookcase. The girl herself is wearing a ratty white t-shirt with her bra showing through, and her carefully disheveled and unwashed hair hangs into her face. Let me use my Oberlin College-honed skills at analyzing mise-en-scène for a second. This is an apartment deliberately fashioned as “cheap,” and a scenario fashioned as “trashy,” with a girl who looks “like shit,” (but still cute, of course) taken on a camera that I will bet cash money cost over a thousand dollars. 99.99% of Carefree White Girls are exhibiting some kind of class tourism. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, here’s a song by Pulp that spells it out for you.
My main frustration with these pictures lies at the intersection of these two things. These pictures are all the OC style “aspirational” fantasies, except they are co-opting the life I will most likely be living post-grad (if I don’t just live in my parent’s house for a while :( ), and on top of that, they are denying me a chance to document my actual lifestyle. Look, I know I’m from Connecticut, but I’m also from the 860 — that’s the same area code as Bridgeport, holmes. All of my high school friends are drug addicts (no hyperbole there). My mom is a professor, yeah, but she is just barely scraping by month to month with sending me here. There are hella people worse off than me, but none of them are Carefree White Girls.
And on top of that, I can’t escape them. Oberlin is crawling with Carefree White Girls. They’re out in Wilder Bowl, they’re drunk and screaming outside my window, they’re renting weird houses out in the woods for spring break and then posting an insane amount of pictures from their trips that clog up my facebook feed for days.
(posting one of those pictures would be mean, so here’s Zooey Deschanel, Queen of the Carefree White Girls, via laviejamie.com)
And they all get to enjoy the trashiness of their lives with the security of their money, while me and all the other Conflicted Women of Color don’t have that luxury.
(i am so going to get in trouble for this: THIS IS NOT MY PERSONAL TUMBLR. IF YOU JUST FOLLOWED ME - QUIT IT. THIS IS AN OBERLIN REVIEW BLOG, AND I POST HERE MAXIMUM WEEKLY. USUALLY LESS THAN THAT AND I THINK ALL THE EDITORS HATE ME FOR IT.
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ALSO I GUESS APPARENTLY BRIDGEPORT IS IN THE 203 BUT WHATEVER I REALLY HATE CT. I AM ALSO ONE TOWN OVER FROM MERIDEN AKA THE MURDER-DEN)