Friday, July 27, 2012

Response to The Tyranny of Stylishness Part 1

I just read an interesting post on Clutch called The Tyranny of Stylishness. It was a critique of the way that the stylists on What Not To Wear pressure women into conformity as explained in this quote:
"I admit to having a love/hate relationship with “WNTW.” I appreciate tips on finding clothes that fit well or mixing and matching patterns and colors. But there is an ethos running through the show that sticks in my craw — a push toward conformity and a certain sort of upper-middle-class, WASP, feminine style and away from individuality."
I have seen the show but I am not a fan...surprised? Well I always did like a lot of what Stacey wore and probably even more now because she does dress in a feminine, upper-middle class, feminine way but no I don't associate that with being a WASP (really annoying). I have never liked Clinton's wardrobe! It's like everything makes him seem like a total snooty, snob but I think that's because of his voice and the way he says things. He does not come off as sweet, friendly, and open (pocket squares make him look so snobby but not on other men for some reason). I do think that they come off as a couple of snooty people laughing at the poor saps who can't dress because Stacy and Clinton think they are clueless, poor, don't read high fashion magazines, or low class.  This of course may not be true and I think a lot of it is because their voices are so annoying, sometimes they make jokes and laugh at the person, and I do think that they try to give the participants a similar look.

I also DESPISE the encouragement of excessive consumerism by giving people $5000 to spend only on clothes and pushing expensive items. When the prices are revealed at the end of the shows it just makes me sick because I know I could have bought so much more (especially at thrift stores). It also breaks my heart when women end up crying when all of their clothes are thrown away, when they are forced to cut their hair, or when natural hair is relaxed or made straight. I mean can't they keep some of their favorite items? Once they change their look maybe they will throw them away on their own. Why is it necessary to permanently change someone's hair so drastically? What is wrong with allowing a woman to have long hair if she likes it? I totally don't understand this "I'm making a change in my life so I'm going to hack off all of my hair too" idea...why not just change your behaviour?

Anyways, I made this post because YES I realize that some people think of my blog in the same way, pressuring women to change their style! If you watch the two videos the stylists wanted the participants to dress in a more feminine manner and I felt the same way about their clothes. But this is a blog and I don't go up to people in real life telling them they look bad or throwing away their clothes. But fashion dos and don'ts and best and worst dressed articles/shows are not new and people are always evaluating fashion. You are taking this too personally (I can understand because I have felt hurt in the same way when reading articles criticizing ultra feminine styles). Many Black women like what I like and already dress in this way even though it seems so different to you. Plus I don't have the power to make anyone do anything. People have to see the value of it and choose it for themselves. 

I actually love make-over shows but prefer it when the individual WANTS to change because they don't like the way they look, it's bringing them negative consequences, or it's not getting them what they want. These are the reasons why I have changed my style numerous times and don't miss my old looks. Some people admit they dress in a certain way to hide because they have low-self esteem or don't like their bodies, so they did not choose clothing just because they liked it. Others were tired of being criticized and since they were not that attached to their style, they did not mind changing. Then there are also others who change because they want to give off a different look that either fits with their changed status or make a more desirable impression. So maybe ask yourself "do you really like your style or are you just wearing things because you feel you have to, have limited options because of your size or finances, or just don't know what to wear to make the impression you want? Is your style giving off the impression you want at this point in your life and is it benefiting you? Why are you so attached to your style, aren't you more than your clothes? 

Read Part 2

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