Before I explain why the name of the blog holds significance for me, I must thank some brilliant woman, Carolyn, Katie, Carrie, Tiffany, Beth, and Liz, for taking the time to brainstorm on a name for this blog. Their intellectual prowess meant a lively conversation. Some of conversation did go off the rails, but soon one suggestion, The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story written by Charlotte Gilman in 1892 that tells the horrors of a woman’s descent into a delusional mental state, sparked a considerable debate. So much so, during at which one point Carolyn (probably out of frustration) listed a few names, ending with “screw the wallpaper!”
That was it, which I think shocked some in the group, but it hit a nerve and I just knew.
I. Just. Knew.
When I was in 8th grade my classmates named me “most likely to complain.” Now as an indignant 13-year-old, I complained about it, but as I have grown older, I’ve realized how much it fit. Yet, I like to think that my complaining was/is more about questioning the status quo. While I have always respected authority, I never really was comfortable giving my full, unquestionable submission. There was always a part of me that resisted just following the rules. “Why?” was my favorite question. The norms always bothered me and I believe my complaints were the way to call out bullshit when I saw fit.
That’s why “screw the wallpaper!” fits.
Now, let me be clear, I love wallpaper, especially how the technology has turned it into easier design element to incorporate in rooms and the array of colors and prints are stunning.
I. Love. Wallpaper.
Thus, the blog’s name has nothing to do with wallpaper and everything to do with raising an eyebrow to many of the norms within and authorities of interior design. While it was my intention to write about the link between design and history in new ways, screw the wallpaper! also gives me an ability to broaden the scope of the blog and explore interior design through the lens of gender, race, age, class, society and culture. It allows me to make personal and scholarly observations that will not always jive with hegemonic design ideals. It allows me to “complain”.
screw the wallpaper! will make you uncomfortable, but it also will inspire and empower.
Enjoy the ride!
Cheryl Lemus, Ph.D.
empowered interiors, 2018