Portrait of the Artist as Pierrot

Anthony Valiulin

2021, 07:03 minutes, soundtrack, no language

TAPECODE 2127.00

“Girls can wear jeans, and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, because it's ok to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, because you think being a girl is degrading. But secretly, you'd love to know what it's like wouldn't you?”
-Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden

A Letter From Who I Left Behind

what does it mean when you say to me, “whatever makes you happy?”

I've worked hard to become who I am. I've worked hard on my identity. I am proud of who I am, I am proud of the way I dress.

My clothes are my confidence, my pride, my identity and my identity is not a performance. I don't have anything to prove, because how I look when I go outside is who I want to be. Right now this is how I want to look, and this is the way I want to dress.

Your son is not normal, he never will be. But my clothes are my normal, this is who I am. I already have to hide myself from other members of the family, I don't want to do that with my parents.

You don't have to like the way I dress, but the way you judge makes me feel inferior, and unwanted. I just want to feel respected.

I am proud of who I am. I'm proud to dress the way I do. I don't care about the way other people look at me, because I'm surrounded by friends and a community of support.

My clothes might be ugly, or cheap, or second hand, but they're my clothes. They're my pride, they make me feel confident. This identity I’ve created is who I am, and who I want to be.

When I go out, I feel secure with who I am. At school I feel secure with who I am. At home is when i feel least secure, and the most unwanted for how i look.

so when you say “whatever makes you happy”

my clothes make me happy, my hats make me happy, the way I dressed made me happy.

A Story of Power

Grandma wants me to be strong, if I’m not strong no one will take me seriously. If she wasn't strong, she wouldn't have made it to Canada alive as a refugee. She defines strength as muscular, assertive, powerful- your typical Abrocombie cover model. If I’m feminine, I'm weak, if I’m skinny, I’m weak, If I’m passive, I'm weak. Weakness is undesirable, femininity is undesirable, so I must be strong, successful, muscular, powerful, otherwise I'm undesirable. Grandma is powerful, assertive, strong, and she is respected. You must not disrespect grandma, because what she says goes. She is the definition of strength, a symbol of power, she is always right.

What's Left

The way I dress is weak, undesirable, unsuccessful. I want to make my parents proud, I want to be that image of strength for my grandma. Who I was couldn't fit that image. I must be strong, successful, my clothes did not radiate that. I dress to make my parents proud, to make my grandma proud, family is what is important. One day I will be free to dress how I want… today is not that day.

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