Some women embrace fashion; some others deplore it; still others mostly ignore it. This one feels more empowered the less she wears, up to a point:
I learned that I had been using clothes wrong. Clothes weren’t for self-expression and fabulous visuals, I finally learned. Clothes were for tricking people.
It became clear as I consumed story after story on how to dress myself that some clothes were only ok for some bodies, and other clothes were ok for other bodies. It became clear that as a woman with curves, my job was to constantly downplay and disguise those curves and keep people from noticing them. It was unacceptable to just “wear” my clothes, I had to arrange them in a way that created complicated optical illusions, so as to not offend anyone or give the wrong impression.
When I got dressed, it was my responsibility to manipulate the thoughts of everyone who saw me that day. Everything I wore was designed to draw the eyes of onlookers to one place on my body, and to keep their eyes from going somewhere else.
Anything that jiggled had to be held down so that people didn’t think I was fat. Anything provocative had to be offset by something conservative so that people didn’t think I was slutty. Anything too short had to be “lengthened” and anything too long had to be “broken up.” Every morning for over a decade, I performed a complicated ritual of deciding how I wanted to trick people that day. What did I want them to see? What did I want them to gloss over?
Eventually, she’d had enough of this, and started paring back her wardrobe, although not to zero like some people you may know:
I choose to not let other people’s responses be my business. I trust that people are good. I trust that by behaving in alignment with my higher self, and diligently holding others in unconditional positive regard, that I will be treated with respect, autonomy, and compassion.
Feel free to call me naïve, but I see it proven over and over. I trust in my intuition, and in the capacity for all humans to be bigger and better and more loving than anyone gives them credit for.
From this corner, I applaud.