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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Inappropriate clothing?

Big Hair, Big Dog (it's my friend's dog)
How I dress means a lot to me. It’s usually an expression of my mood or my sense of self. I wear a lot of wacky, colourful clothes; animal prints, big earrings, boots, sunglasses, you know. I’ve been told I dress like a 'hipster'.

People’s sense of style can tell you about them (although of course not always). For example, someone who identifies heavily with Goth culture will wear a lot of black, bold lipstick, heavy jewellery; accordingly so. I value my appearance, that’s why I dye my hair and wear lipstick and got my nose pierced and REALLY want to get tattoos. I value my appearance because it makes me feel good about myself. As someone who’s always struggled with self-esteem, making myself look good is a way of cheering myself up. Doesn’t mean looks are ‘everything’, but for me they’re tied to how I view myself.

So it does make me sad when people are shamed for how they dress. For example, why do youths in London give so much of a shit about ‘swag’? Why shame someone because they’re not wearing designer clothing? Why do you ‘have’ to wear high heels if they hurt your feet? Oh, look, you’re wearing socks with sandals. Jesus, call the fashion police! ARGH!

Something that really bugs me though, is this ‘policing’ of what girls wear, particularly in schools. The SKIRT obsession. God, that takes me back. Somehow the length of the skirt is never right. EVER. Too short makes you a slut, a bit longer makes you a tease, longer makes you prudish or proper and super long...well you’re clearly a nun.

I get it. Girls can’t wear skirts that are too short because ‘oh god help me, the boys will go mad!’ Will they really? Do boys even give a shit? Are they really going to be THAT distracted by the length of a girl’s skirt? And if a girl is wearing her skirt in a risqué way, chances are she may be wearing it deliberately for male attention.

There’s nothing wrong with dressing for attention. If I’m out at a club and wearing short tight clothes and smiling and flirting with lads, clearly I want attention. DUH. If I’m walking down the street in my jeans with my hoodie up and scowling on my face I clearly DON’T want attention. Because I have a big red afro, I do tend to get a lot of attention, but that’s what happens. When you have a distinguishing feature about you, people are going to notice it. 
I think people should dress how they want, but whatever you wear is probably going to attract judgement from someone, be it good or bad. Even if it’s as simple as ‘I love your top!’ Humans are naturally judgemental. Yes, it would be nice if we could be less judgemental in some areas, but sometimes we just can’t help ourselves.

When I was 14 I went to Tanzania with my family, and it was great (besides my teen depression), but I realised a big difference in gender between Britain and Tanzania. In Britain, girls can dress how they like. In Tanzania, a boiling hot country, wearing shorts can get you SERIOUSLY stared at. I don’t mean brief glances, I mean freakish ogling. People stare at each other a lot, and tourists get stared at the most. I’m from a country where it’s considered rude to stare, so I find that SOOOO unnerving.

Anyway, I was 14, and my parents did warn me that I had to ‘be careful’ of how I dressed, and I tried, but the stares were still there. My mum even said once that ‘if we were white it wouldn’t matter cos that’s what they would expect.’

That made me kind of depressed; I was wearing T-shirts and long shorts, not even tank tops and ‘short’ shorts, and boiling hot. When it’s hot I wear less clothing. Most people wear less clothing BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING HOT. When it’s cold, you wear more clothing. Nothing to do with ‘being inappropriate’; how many clothes you wear correlates with the weather. Plus some people get more/less cold than others, etc.

My parents (apologies to them, this is no means an attack) have always made me feel weird when it comes to clothes. ‘That’s too sexy, that’s too tight, that’s too short, why you wearing that, showing your bra strap’, on and on. It’s horrible. They never did that with my brother ‘because he’s a guy and he’s not gonna get raped.’ If guys holler at me on the street that’s my business – and what do I care anyway? Unlike feminists I don’t get ‘offended’ by cat-calling. It can be annoying if I’m in a bad mood and wearing jeans and a hoodie, but pleasant if the sun is shining and my shorts and sunglasses are on. A guy going ‘you look nice!’ is not rude. Actually it’s the opposite. It’s a fucking compliment. RUDE would be a guy going ‘you look ugly!’ How is someone telling you you look hot 'rude'? Jesus, you’re only going to see them for five seconds. It’s a confidence boost. And if you’re in a relationship, why WOULD you give a shit if some guy called you hot? You have someone, who cares about this random douche you’ll never see again?
(Note: this article is written in a sarcastic, dry tone; of course cat-calling in general is rude and disrespectful, especially when it's done by older men on young girls). 

9 comments:

  1. i usually wear t shirts and either shorts or gym pants (just what i prefer) and i can understand some schools having dress codes (though some are stupid as hell) but i agree with this let people wear what makes them comfortable

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    1. Yeah, school dress codes are tricky. In Britain (sorry, not sure if you're british or american) most schools have a uniform (which I never liked though I understand why it's a thing), and that can help. At uni it's different, people wear whatever because we're adults and now responsible etc. Some go to lectures in their pyjamas if they're at 9 in the morning. I guess they want students to stay 'respectable' but then it's like where do you draw the line and what about when it's hot etc. Also not all schools reinforce it; in my secondary school we weren't technically supposed to shorten our skirts or wear big earrings or customise our ties but people still did.

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  2. I won't speak for England but in America, there is no sexist ‘policing’ of what girls wear in school. We have something called uniforms because psychologically it helps both kids focus more on the schoolwork. Boys aren't allowed to wear super short-shorts either and some girls are just going to have to get used to the fact that school is not the place for them to dress that way.

    Just like when people go into a court, they also usually dress very formal because that is what is appropriate. Same for nice restaurants and weddings etc. There is a time and place for everything and these girls complaining about school uniform are really just spoiled and want to do whatever *they* want to do. Well that's what their *own* time is for, not time "on the clock" at school (or work, later in life).

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    1. I mean I sort of disagree with uniforms because I think they remove individuality. I thought most American schools didn't have school uniforms? Or maybe it depends on the state. I get that for some people it can be a pain deciding what to wear everyday and because kids are judgemental arseholes they might make fun of some kids for wearing certain clothes, but then kids tend to make fun of each other anyway. Back in secondary school we used to make 'amendments' to our uniforms like shortening our skirts and loosening our ties and I always wore make-up and big earrings even though we weren't strictly supposed to. I just liked the way they look; I've always worn an eclectic mix of earrings.

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    2. Yes, that's the point though. You're not as school to explore your individuality, you're at school to learn and get a valuable education. That's the point behind the uniform. From what I've seen, most elementary and middle schools have the classic uniform and high schools just have some guidelines. I didn't see anything wrong with that until spoiled and entitled girls started complaining they shouldn't have to follow *any* guidelines and then I thought, well maybe they should just wear the uniform so there's no silly debate like this.

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    3. I do think as a teenager growing up exploring your individuality is important though as opposed to just becoming a mindless drone like everyone else. You also go to school to learn about what you want to do and be in the future career wise and how you see yourself as.

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    4. I agree with your concept which is why I thought the non-uniform with guidelines was a happy medium for high school girls but as I said, many of them don't believe they have to follow *any* authority and we've seen how that has caused many western women to turn out - and it's not exactly for the better. It goes too far; Too many western women don't respect boundaries.

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