I love playing with how I look, by and large I’m pretty fortunate to live in a country where I am free to do just so. I may get odd looks, people whispering behind their hands and others who simply express their delight/ confusion to my face; as an introvert it’s not really my favourite part about being “wacky”, but I guess it’s par for the course. We have been trained all our lives to tuck ourselves in, to blend in with everyone else and to avoid marginalising ourselves (if you’re privileged you’re fortunate enough to get to choose this!) and those who do not are accused of crying for attention. It’s really not as simple as that.
As a fat person I have been instructed by society through implicit and explicit signals that I should not be visible. Obviously, if you know anything about me, you’d know I think that’s a load of rubbish. As a woman, I have been instructed in other ways to be ever polite, kind, beautiful and ladylike. I also think this is rubbish. We are taught to keep our knees toghether, but why? To hide our bodies (our genitals, mostly) from the view of people (who in all likelihood have genitals also); to maintain a feminine mystique; to reinforce this systematic conditioning that sets us up as enemies with our bodies? Why are bodies supposed to be such secret hidden things? And sidenote: what is so offensive about people wearing tights as pants? I really don’t understand the outrage!
I look how I look because I very consciously question societal gender and body conditioning. I know it challenges a lot of people, my parents especially, but I just couldn’t be me if I did everything everyone wanted me to. My self esteem directly benefits from this, because I’m not as concerned with hiding bits of myself as other people are (even though I still battle this!)
So I have crazy hair styles, wear the outfits I wanna and let my laughter ring like a bell (reportedly a very LOUD bell.) If people take issue, it’s not my issue! I do not dress for other people. I may dress to an occasion but I am VERY adamant about not seeking the approval of other people when I style myself. I feel that it plays a huge part in compromising your confidence and esteem. I put make up on, tease my hair, and put together outfits as a way of expressing how I’m feeling; or if I’m feeling glum, to express how I want to feel.
I find identity and styling fascinating, and would love to know: am I alone on this? Do you think about how you style your body, or is it just about putting on clothes every day?