On Authenticity in the SCA

This weekend I’ll be at an SCA event, wearing very silly late 1500s clothing, sitting on a panel in a school classroom discussing authenticity in our organization.

I like historical authenticity, accuracy, plausibility.

I like looking the part. I like having items and personal effects that match what a member of the lesser nobility in the Low Countries, c. 1570-1600, would have owned and used.

It improves my enjoyment of the hobby, and I think that – on the whole – the SCA is improved for everyone when more people take the steps they are able to (i.e. budget, time, availability) to choose authentic clothing, shoes, drinkware, seating, etc. to use when they attend and participate in events.

But fundamentally, the SCA is NOT a strict reenactment or living history organization.

And I’m not strict about my own choices. I use a plastic tub to transport my crap (I really need to make that box this winter). My clothing isn’t all hand sewn, because I couldn’t afford the complex sixteenth century stuff otherwise. My shoes have Vibram soles.

In the SCA, we may make authentic choices for our personal effects, but will always be surrounded at events by school desks, theater stages, and automobiles.

I won’t make a value statement on that. I’d rather have a kinda sorta mostly historical experience at a school than no experience at all.

You don’t have to be historically accurate or authentic to participate in the SCA. Make an attempt at something medievaloid, wear a t-tunic with shorts and Birkenstocks, and come have fun.

But for those who desire to make the effort to be authentic and accurate in their clothing? Their personal goods? Their knowledge of their chosen time and place?

That’s pretty cool.

I want to encourage and celebrate those people.

I want to become more authentic in my clothes, items, everything, too.

It means nothing.

It means everything.