Musings

The Beauty in Birdcages

Birdcages suspended between buildings in Sydney's Angel Place

I’ve recently been very inspired by all things ornate and flowery. Maybe it’s my late blooming entry into traditional feminity, or maybe these are just so gosh darned pretty. Either way, it’s resulted in an increasing obesession in birdcages.

It’s such a strange thing, because by definition, birdcages were meant to restrain, to trap, and yet they hold so much beauty – both in their designs, and the birds that they hold.

I’ve always pressured, trapped even, into this specific idea of feminity. Growing up in Singapore, I was too tall, too chubby, to loud, too opinionated, and even when I discovered tweezers and the magic illusion of eyebrow shaping, I was meant to look girly and feminine without looking like I’ve tried. It was a good thing to be soft spoken and look like you had no opinions, but at the same time have a career and be able to take care of yourself. I was supposed to like pretty things, like pink, but not red, and even my hair was meant to be limp and without personality, like how I was meant to be.

So even as I stare endlessly at the delicate bars of the birdcage and the swooping swirling filigrees, I wonder whether this recent fascination with ‘pretty’ is something I enjoy for myself, or whether I’ve finally succumbed to the idea of femininity that I’ve been resisting all this time.

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