Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Dress Like You Mean It
Recently, we were struck by a photo of a well known local artist who had just been featured in a full page spread in our city’s alternative weekly. Pretty woman, lovely smile, obviously talented and smart. If we had read the article, I'm sure it would have said something great about her and her art. Alas, we could not read further, because what we noticed were her clothes: they were decidedly frumpy, greys and blacks, shapeless. No style, no inspiration.
So why, we asked ourselves, did she choose to dress so dowdily for a photo to be published? Did she not care? Did she not have the skills? Did they catch her on a bad day? Or was she afraid, terrified even, of actually looking good?
We’re not being bitchy here (although we could be, because the woman was wearing fUggs with a skirt), but as we get older, it becomes increasingly apparent to us that many women still for some reason refuse to own their awesomeness. Why is that?
Does it go back to our girlhoods? Remember back in high school? What was it we called those girls who were the prettiest, smartest, and most successful? Awesome? Cool? Seems like fun? How about conceited and stuck up? Yup, that was it. Because somehow we’d been taught that self-confidence was something to deride, not admire.
As a result, we think many women now suffer from a kind of schadenfreude and also a bit of fear when it comes to our relationships with other women. For the most part, men are outwardly competitive with each other and that competitiveness can be a positive thing; it can spur them on to bigger and better things. But women are different. We tend to hide our feelings and are more likely to put another woman down by calling her desires self involved or conceited.
But that was high school.
Why, we wonder, are we doing it all these years later? Not only to other girls, but also to ourselves?
We are not the only bitches to notice and be tempted to pre-judge a person based on what they are wearing (book/cover/blah blah blah). What happened to our artist centerfold happens to everyone on a daily basis. Our theory: nobody bothers to give feedback because style choices are so personal. Could you tell the girl standing in line at the post office that pajamas are for the bedroom, without sounding totally sanctimonious? (well, we wouldn't have the balls for it, but we know Pirate's Mother would).
We put it to you that if you're not dressed to be taken seriously, you will not be taken seriously. To that end, we think the sisterhood needs to take care of itself: be a positive influence. Use your powers for good!
We here at Bitches believe that no bad can come from supporting your fellow sisters. We are advocates of unconditional positive regard.
Tell the woman next to you, when you are shopping for shoes, that those heels make her legs look a mile long! Tell the woman in the gym that the dress she is wearing today looks great with her skintone! Tell your office co-worker she looks really great today!
We’re a big fan of letting people know when they look good. Why? Because we can spend 30 minutes putting our outfits together before leaving the house and still feel self-conscious. So we bet all those gals out on the street and in the stores and tucked away in their offices do too.
We really are all in this together, and it really all is connected. Telling someone she is beautiful is making her feel good about herself. This can only be positive. What goes around, comes around. Remember that lady with the shoes? She could be the loan officer who processes your home loan. The lady in the gym? Might return the favor by wiping down the gym equipment. Your co-worker? She might save you half of the last cup of coffee in the pot.
The Bitches are not precious when it comes to random acts of kindness. We say, Tell The Truth, Pay it Forward, Love Your Fellow Woman!
Now, let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Only not in Birkenstocks.