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  • Writer's picturemaya kotomori

Blog #02 - The Trillness of Gatekeeping

Updated: Aug 27

From a shopping chat with my genius writer friend Nicolaia who insists that I can wear a size XS in Galliano because she thinks that her 3" seniority in height makes me small. Her perspective and humor are unswackable.

The word diaristic has appeared pretty frequently in the downtown writer mafia this past year, and to be honest I didn't know what it meant, but I knew it sounded like diary so, you know, synapses fired, I figured it out and avoided looking dumb. RE: looking dumb, how do you feel about gatekeeping? During a beautiful salon session at my genius designer friend Mati's home, I complemented my new friend Lily's gold lame booty shorts—she looked fabulous. A couple other girls chimed in and said they were looking for similar metallic fare, so I told them my secret spot for shorts of the like. They said thanks, and I made a comment along the lines of "of course, tell your friends." Lily told me I'd better keep my mouth shut, and my secrets to myself! And you know what, she was so right.

So much of the time I feel like I personally don't care if people try and wear the same things as me because people can try to look like you all they want, but they'll never actually be you. And that's the thing, I used to feel like most of the time, people didn't swack because they wanted to be you, it's just an aesthetic thing. However, the way shit has been going recently, I can confidently say I'm wrong—these little psychos (derogatory) are forreal trying to bodysnatch the entire swag, personality included. The funniest thing is like I understand the "I wanna be somebody else" feeling from an "I want to escape myself" standpoint but why would you ever want to be another person already walking around with their own look, ideas, personality? I'm not arguing that swacking a conspiracy, but there definitely is an entire faction of people with the swag of a bobblehead who consistently fill their empty skulls with other people's entire personalities. I've experienced this in real time. We've all swacked, but if you wanna bodysnatch, take note from Buffalo Bill and make a skinsuit. Anything less just makes you look like a pussy.

Gatekeeping is honestly trill, because it leaves an air of mystery behind you even if you're an oversharer or worse, a writer (gasp). How did she do it? You'll never know. This post is my Ripley's Believe It Or Not of things I wished I gatekept and things that I've always liked that have recently become a groupthink. Thank GOD I'm not popular enough to be fully bodysnatched, few have tried it though. In no particular order:

1. Girls (2012-2017)

I have always rode for Girls which is why it's so funny that people are only giving the show its flowers NOW, en masse. I watched Girls as it aired on cable, from 8th grade to my second semester of my first year in undergrad. Since, I have rewatched 3 times in different stages of my young adulthood, and each time I learn something. In undergrad, I used to have to defend Lena Dunham as "a a generation" from a horrifying bunch of white girls who would always have stupid shit to say like "doesn't it make you feel weird that there's no representation?" Even in 2020, my two best friends and I were still explaining that Lena Dunham is a phenomenal, honest screenwriter and writer-writer at a Labor Day BBQ, ribs in hand. The recent shiny pontification on Girls is not only stupid but infuriating, stupid because a lot of said pontification is writ by 40somethings studying younger Millennial/early Gen Z watchers in a patronizing way, and infuriating because every Millennial/early Gen Z woman I've encountered has switched up from thumbing their nose at Lena Dunham to willingly placing it in her taint (metaphorically).

2. Decoden phone cases

During the pandemic I spent basically 3 months in my childhood bedroom so my natural grade school obsession with cute things went a bit AWOL. I purchased the decoden phone case of my dreams, posted a bunch of pics, and told people to go to Luxy Loli on Etsy when they asked where I got my case. I purchased two cases from her for the two phones I had in the past 3 years, and made the one I have on my phone at present (not pictured). Obvs I didn't invent this shit but def don't think it's a coincidence that a hoard of then-undergrad freshmen approached me about my case, swacked, and now they and all their friends have the same shit. Coulda kept to myself but I like boosting up Etsy sellers, they deserve the bread.

3. Lace shorts

I used to do this in middle school so I wouldn't get dress coded. Started doing it again in 2021. Staple of summer 2022. Dead in 2023 tbh cus magazines have started talking about how lace is "back." Just have to shrug at this point, it's just really funny when white women who look simultaneously 5 and 35 unfollow @mayakotomoriforever are able to book styling gigs at major magazines for wearing this look...

4. DIY Dance Sleeves

I had my best ideas in the Gallatin bathroom in 2019. Had this lumpy Lacoste sweater, cut it up the next day with no intention to hem. Used to wear these sleeves to the club so I had an easy layer I didn't have to coat check or leave on the grimy floor. I have a vivid memory of wearing these sleeves to my luxury retail job in 2020 during a PK meeting with a brand that shall not be named...someone took a photo of me and 2 seasons later this exact silhouette a part of that brand's ready to wear for SS21. I wear these now and people say "balletcore"...go away.

5. Honorable Mentions List

  • my second-choice Comme supplier (found a new 1st choice after telling too many people about this one)

  • Fred Perry (2021)

  • my Chelsea cut (2017-2018)

  • wearing bras over your clothes

  • Metallic spandex (birth-death)

Making this comprehensive list was so weird because personally, I don't really think origins exist, or matter. This is a purely theory-based understanding; in the contemporary, the idea that new automatically replaces antecedent can't exist in an Internet age where things happen so fast and so publicly that it feels like no one has any time to catch up. That's the kicker—that game of catch up never existed in the first place, everything has always happened all at once, the Internet just exposes us to simultaneity in a way we can't wrap our heads around because everything must be old→new, or origin→copy.

However, in the non-theoretical world origins must exist, they are what defines greatness: the first woman to make a film, the first Black president of the US, the first one to win the race as an Olympic champion. In the fashion industry, the first one noted for doing something is who gets the flowers. So, if you've been swacked to the point of your swag being praised on someone else before you, shit or get off the pot. This idea is precisely why my best friend Kima told me to make my style Instagram—more than trying to compete with others, it's all about keeping an archive, and letting that archive speak for itself.

So, everyone please gatekeep your swag more. Some things are to share but some things are also to keep the fuck to yourself. As someone whose best friends were her parents until she was 18, sharing isn't always the way to make friends—be guarded asf.

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