Stressed, Impressed, and Dressed to Depress

“Women apparently dress to impress other women,” a rather archaic DailyMail article states (Levy). This is a given and aptly known maxim to women internationally, yet seeing as it was made available to the rest of the human race June tenth, 2011, it ‘apparently’ comes as a surprise to the masculine gender. In extending this idea further, it should be stated that it is not a woman’s goal to style herself in such a way to attract a romantic partner – but rather to please herself in order to reach her own standards of comfort, confidence, and beauty.

This is an era of “ugly-pretty, man-repeller, dress-to-depress” style where the woman in question is not, first and foremost, styling herself in order to cause accidents on freeways, as these accidents seem to happen regardless of the effort she places upon her appearance (Borecka; Being). It is making men question the motives of women – that quite possibly, women’s lives do not revolve being pleasing to the eye (namely their eye) – and with good reason: they’ve been horribly mistaken in this previous notion. Welcome to the twenty-first century.  

Extremes of this confusion, while admittedly few and far between, are polarized to the point of possessing the incredible ability to be inarguably ridiculed: “When if you wan’t to attract a high quality male all you need to do is just wear a skirt and heels. Every guy on the planet thinks women look better in skirt and high heels or they’re gay” (Rusvik). (Please note the spelling on ‘want.’ This is not a genius separation of two letters supposed to be connected in the appropriate English context in order for the author to stylistically drive home a subtle point, but an artistic decision imparted by the individual who originally posted the internet thread, who is incomprehensibly wont to prove the point that men of their own caliber do not care to impress women with their spelling skills, just as women do not dress for their pleasure.) Not only is this statement dehumanizing to, objectifying, and disrespecting women, but it also attacks men who are not as attracted to a woman in heels and a skirt as this individual proposes them to be. To suppose another man’s sexuality in the form of attacking their interest based on style of appearance not only aids in degrading women further, but also dismisses the preferences of men who are attracted to women who do not constantly don a skirt and heels as well as the queer community. Thus, it is detrimental not only to women as a whole, but to the masculine culture as well.

Strict adherence to gender roles and perpetuating heteronormative ideals hinders self-expression of both genders, restricting creativity and confidence in oneself and others. Constantly contemplating the thoughts of others takes an incredible amount of brainpower, and the effects of overthinking and worrying are exhausting. Women, this day in age, have too many more daunting tasks to use their cognitive strength on, such as running cosmetic businesses (Doe Deere), independent magazines (Natalia Borecka), a charity as a side project outside their modeling profession (Karlie Kloss), and fighting for education, getting shot for it, and consequently winning the Nobel Peace Prize (Malala Yousafzai).

“Each decision carried meaning,” in regards to physical appearance, this statement rings true (Shea). Women are aware that their every move, every stylistic decision, every single blink of their eyes can – and will – be taken as a message. This is one of the many reasons women do not portray themselves a certain way to attract a romantic partner; their motives could be misconstrued by others and they could be labelled with distasteful terms. These terms do not have to be vulgar, but they may come as degrading from people (men and women) who do not find their attempt(s) satisfactory. As to the opinion of this individual, “I think both sexes have an obligation to be attractive to each other,” they are completely missing the case that attraction is based on different factors for every being (Rusvik). What one person determines is disgusting may be the ideal to another – just as the old adage goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This is not going to say that value should be placed solely on the attractiveness of an individual, but is rather to say that what one values and places on their being is also bound to be valued by another, therefore creating attraction and interest in not only the physical appearance of the individual, but their personality as well.

As the society we exist in is metamorphosing, it is in the stage of change where it is a coagulate of all past, present, and future. The past is still stuck on itself, the future is beginning to develop wings, while the present is a confused conglomerate that is neither of the two. It is within this state that women are becoming comfortable with themselves and realizing that their happiness does not depend on outside sources, but rather, themselves. They are the future, with the past nagging at them, shoving aesthetics in their way by mode of romantic partners, but unless these aesthetics appeal to them as well, these expectations roll off of their satin pajamas they decided to wear out as a fashion statement that day just as easily as water off a duck. They are the present, taking pieces of the past and future and making them their own, Salvador Dalis of appearance, seeming surreal to those who haven’t yet found themselves following their wavelength. They are the past, held back by cemented societal ideals, yet pushed forward by the women who were the catalyst for the androgynous and adapting earthquake that dislodged the north and south poles of gender rigidity. Women dress for the job they want, not the job they have, and every woman is first and foremost self-employed.

 


WORKS CITED

“Being Attractive Means You Cause Car Crashes.” CoverInAClick RSS. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

Borecka, Natalia. “Who Are Women Really Dressing For? The Answer Matters More Than You

Think – Lone Wolf.” Lone Wolf. Lone Wolf Magazine, 01 Jan. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.

Levy, Andrew. “Sorry Chaps, Women Only Get Dressed up to Impress Each Other.” Mail Online.

Associated Newspapers, 10 June 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

“Natalia Borecka Photography.” – San Francisco. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

Rusvik. “Female Misc.” Bodybuildingcom Forums RSS. 29 Dec. 2011. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

Shea, Renée Hausmann., Lawrence Scanlon, Robin Dissin. Aufses, and Deborah Tannen. The

Language of Composition: Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. Boston, MA: Bedford / St. Martins, 2008. Print.

 

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