This is a response most reenactors probably have encountered at some point when trying to explain our hobby to outsiders. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against cosplay or cosplayers, but it is a bit frustrating when that is the most common response. Cosplay, or LARP. Again, I have nothing against LARPers either, but that’s just not what I do. And I wish there was an easier way to explain my hobby to people, other than “Yeah, it’s kinda like that.”
I have learned over the years that there are many ways of doing reenactment, depending on who you’re asking. For some, it is recreating their clothes to be as historically accurate as possible, down to the patchwork found on the thousand year old clothing. For others, it’s about reenacting battles and fighting techniques, dressing in the armors people wore back then, and using the weapons found in graves or described in historical texts. For me, it’s mainly about two things. The markets in the summer, where I get to be myself and hang out with like-minded people. That, and the pictures.
As you probably have guessed, I’m addicted to the photoshoots, with or without my bow. It is a way to express myself, a way to let out my creativity, and just have some fun along the way. And if I show off some historical inspired clothing and jewelry on the way, I consider it a bonus.
I recently got a comment on instagram, asking if being a viking woman meant being a woman who raped and pillaged. And I realised that there will always be people who don’t understand, no matter what I do to explain. Because when some people hear about viking markets, they immediately assume it is a drunken gathering of weirdos who are a bit too into Dungeons and Dragons. Not everyone is interested in history, and that is fine, but I sometimes find myself wishing that when people heard the word “viking”, they did not associate it with bearded men in horned helmets, drinking mead and raping women.
I’m not a historian. I’ve only studied so much history, and I don’t have all the facts, simply because I feel like I don’t need to. I’m not the kind of person who feel like they have to know everything about the historical time period I love so much, because a lot of the knowledge we have is either the sagas written down hundreds of years later, or the works written down by those the vikings attacked. I’m sure there is an endless source of information out there, ready to be indulged, but it is just not in my priorities. Instead, I would like to have a way to explain my hobby to people without having to use cosplayer and LARPer as synonyms.
So I’m going to try to describe it here, and maybe it will sound like ranting, maybe nobody really cares about the difference, because to them it is all the same nerdy stuff. But to me it isn’t, so I’m gonna try.
I’m a 20 year old girl who loves a certain time period so much that I love to recreate certain parts of it. I make clothes from wool and linen, based on different archaeological findings from that period. I spend time and money travelling to viking markets, where me and like-minded people do a form of glamping (glam camping), and cook and craft and laugh together outdoors for days, sometimes even for a full week or more! I spend even more money on buying jewelry that are either copies or inspired from historical findings. I love to spend the evenings around the campfire, laughing, eating and drinking with good friends, as we share stories or break into song together. And most of all, I love being surrounded by people who understand me, who share my interests, and who teach me new things I didn’t already know along the way. That’s what I do.
That, and I take an insane amount of pictures of myself on my spare time, and share them on social media to validate myself, but that is a completely different story.
Thank you so much for reading my thoughts, it’s been a while since I put them up online in text form. I’ve stretched myself too thin across too many types of social media, and lately it’s been youtube and instagram eating up all my time, but at least I’ve got something to show for it. So finally, I will leave you guys with a short video where I combine my love for the viking age with my other hobby of archery, and hopefully it won’t be too long until my next blog post ❆