You’ve seen our hashtag, and I wanted to take a minute to break down what it means– and why we built MizAndMoxie.com in the first place.
Oh, btw, it’s Geo here, foundress of M+M—queer, weird and proud—and it’s a pleasure to e-meet you all.
MiZ+MOXiE is my baby. It’s a slice of my soul. It is deeply personal and will forever remain to be so.
In a very big way, the person that I am today—the weirdness and being different—has shaped what MiZ+MOXiE has become, but I think more importantly: What we stand for.
So, #OwnYourOwn. What does it mean exactly? We all have something to say; we all have stories to tell.
I thought the best way to explain it to you all, is to share a snippet of my life, of how I embraced and owned my own.
I’d like to share a piece I wrote a few years back on how I came to terms with being trans.
I wrote this for the Hamilton College newspaper The Spectator. It was published on April 8, 2010. Eep, I hope y’all like it.
I was born to speak many languages. Growing up in the Phillippines both English and two Filipino dialects were spoken in my home.
But growing up in a developing country—a post-colonial one at that—I was inundated with the pervasive and destructive mentality that the foreign other was always better—foreign movies, foreign goods, foreign tongues and foreign husbands.
Our house was run by a general– I mean an actual military general, a prominent and politically active one. So the need to master the English Language was tantamount. My siblings, cousins and I, as the grandchildren of this man, should convey the dignity of our lineage through everything in our carriage, including our appearance, our manners and our speech. Blah, blah, BLAH.
In the Philippines, its not just what you say or how you say something that matters. Even your accent could be used as an indicator of your prestige. From the way I spoke English, one would assume my gender (feminine), what school I attended (the International School Manila), how much my parents earn (much much less than they think), and how much my family is worth (to me, much more than they could imagine).
The term slang is given to the ‘American’ accent some Filipino English-speakers have (or fake). It’s classy. When one is slang a direct connection is subconsciously and instantaneously made—that person has the means to travel abroad, attend prestigious American/International schools, or better yet– they grew up stateside. Fil-Am. Am-boys and Am-girls. Growing up speaking English, and attending the International School Manila for seven years, here I am: slang embodied.
But you know what’s really funny? At Hamilton, the assumptions continued. You see, accents are relative. My slang accent at Hamilton translated to having no accent. So it was always assumed that I was from any one of these places a) New York City b) LA c) Hawai’i. Wrong.
“Oh, I grew up in Manila.”
“You’re so fired…”
Not only am I linguistically ambiguous, but the language of my gendered performance blurs the edges of my identity as well. Growing up, I was taught a very Masculine vocabulary– one I never mastered. My pidgin performance of gender was often reprimanded when I was a child. My mom would comment on my imperfect slang. It was too sing-song-y. Emphasis and vocal flourishes are not part of the Masculine vocabulary. Feminine gestures hushed like cuss words.Talk like a boy. Forget about mascara and stilettos.
As English was preferred to Filipino—Tagalog specifically—so Masculine was preferred to Feminine. It was expected from an early age—no, demanded—that I speak English and Masculine only. I tried it for a while: BO-RING, and honestly, a little depressing. In time I was ready for high school. It was the time when boys became men, and girls became women. What would I become? What should I speak? English became literature and Tagalog was reserved for gossip.
But like I said—I was born to speak many languages. And you can’t forget your mother tongue. My home was run by military men, but my female cousin and I were raised by women– Mommy, aunties and an ever-changing battalion of nannies. It’s like my Masculine grammar was learned in the classroom, but my Feminine words were learned in the playground. My Valkyrie protectors in effect taught me to speak Woman. In more ways than one—it’s my mother tongue.
Throughout life, I’ve learned many things, but the most important lessons really were not learned in class.
It’s this thing called life—living, and I mean really living—that teaches you so much more. I’ve learned that regardless of how we speak, we all have something to say, we all have stories to tell. Somehow, I managed to muster the courage to speak. Speak to my friends, eventually to my parents, speak to the world. Once I started to speak, I simply became.
And now, the language I speak—words, accent, gestures, mascara and all—let me tell you honey– it’s pretty damn romantic.
When I owned my own, that’s when I simply became. There was no #OwnYourOwn moment, no lightbulb, no eureka. It happened gradually. I embraced my weirdness, my queerness, my roots. It was—and still is—a journey. It’s a constant celebration of the weird and “unacceptable” things that make me ME. It’s a celebration of no matter what language I speak, English AND Tagalog, I am proudly Filipino—the foreign is not always better. This is why we focus on exclusively partnering and collaborating with local brands, designers and entrepreneurs with a point of view and sense of individuality.
And that’s what MiZ+MOXiE is about. We try our damnedest to foster individuality. We collaborate on collections to push and encourage those designers’ voices. We built this for them.
And we built this for you, our ever-growing, ever-evolving #MizAndMoxieGRRRLs.
We built this for the weirdos. The misfits. The outcasts. The trannies. The “strong personalities”. The emotionally unstable. The mentally unstable. The art freaks. The nerds. The geeks. The underestimated and undermined. The underdogs and black horses. The outspoken. The bitches. The sluts.
Thinking different is ok. Being different is ok. Being different is beautiful.
This is for you. This is ours.
So go out there and fucking own your muthafucking own.