Monday, June 29, 2009

clothes are useful when it's cold

“Now that I've got long lovely red hair and wear skirts and push-up bras and shit, life is better.... Part of attracting boys is wearing the "I'm attracted to boys" uniform, and, well, I know it's weak but I'd rather have the boys than be a Gender Revolutionary.”

I don’t think I could begin to separate the way I present myself from the way I want other people to see me. I make choices based on comfort, time, and personal aesthetics, but what I choose to wear is fundamentally determined by the message I want to send out into the world. I have no idea how I’d dress if it didn’t affect other people. At home I go naked a lot and wear more dresses. (The dresses I own are very comfortable for many tasks but not for bicycling or anything that requires pockets, so are fairly impractical for leaving my neighborhood.) Would aesthetics matter if no one else noticed, or would comfort be the only consideration? I have met a few people who appear in most circumstances to think very little about what they project to the outside world (though I know this can be misleading; I had a good friend in college who spent hours to look as if she’d just rolled out of bed and thrown on a flannel shirt). I’m a bit jealous. Some of them (men) are judged less on their appearance, but all of them have decided that they don’t need to get the benefits I do from looking a certain way, and I’m a bit in awe of that. I’ve chosen to give up some of the things I’d get if I wore makeup and dressed more “nicely” by Delmar standards; in return I feel more true to myself. How much more self-actualized are the folks who’ve given up more?

4 comments:

miriamjoyce said...

possibly those folks are more self-actualized; possibly what they are seeking is different from you—what looks like lack of attention to appearance is often an explicit attempt to avoid/protect against certain kinds of attention that others of us find pleasant. Or just depression. Lots of possibilities.

poz said...

How we decide to appear to others is communication. We smile when we're happy, frown when we're angry or sad. When we choose to look like something wildly out-of-band for our community we're saying we don't care what it thinks. And if we tell them that, why would they care what we think? Self-fulfilling. Welcome to being ostracized.

Of course, it's a matter of degree. There's a difference between "free spirited" and "f*ck you".

So, I'd say that people beyond "free spirited" aren't more self-actualized. I think perhaps they are socially tone-deaf. Or jerks that really don't give a rat's ass about other people. :-)

Chile said...

Well, I haven't dressed for other people in ages. Most of the time, I just don't care what others think about my clothing. I dress for comfort and utility, which means my normal "uniform" is jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts.

'Course you should take into consideration that I am not traditionally employed (by choice) so I have no "boss" to please nor co-workers to appease. I'm also overweight which affects my decision of whether it's worth trying to dress nicer. Frankly, though, I'd rather be comfortable in my thrift store clothes and be able to muck around in the dirt and ride my bike without worrying about stains on expensive outfits.

Chile said...

Oh, and I haven't owned make-up in almost 20 years. :)