The other point that stuck out for me was the one about conformity:
"In covering our bodies — a very personal thing — women shouldn’t have to conform, cover our eccentricities and ethnicities, and act like ladies — unless we want to. The style advanced by “WNTW” is about rules and homogeneity."For me, my clothes are not a very personal thing. My identity and my clothing are not so tightly linked the way they are with others. Basically I choose things that I like, look good, and will make the impression I want and if none of those conditions are met I don't buy. OMG it's so clear now...unlike other people who want to appear rebellious, make a statement against the norm, and view their wardrobe as a form of protest I want to do the EXACT OPPOSITE! I want my wardrobe to say to the world to the world "I am not angry, I am happy, I am feminine like other women, I am not a trouble maker, I am upper-middle class, I try to look good, I am easy to get along with, I am educated, I am professional, you can bring me home to mom, I am not from the hood, I fit the norm! Well I guess you could say my wardrobe is a protest against looking bad and the sort of "I don't care" impression I get with androgynous, boring styles lol!
I know some people will automatically have a problem with this because they view "conformity" as a bad word and always wrong yet they do it every day in many ways. It seems like it is promoted from AAs that Black people should always be angry and protesting and if you are not then you are part of the problem (the fallacy of false dichotomy). Isn't it so true though, people say being White is acting like the norm so acting Black must be going against the norm. In their minds following any norm (even though it brings rewards and avoids punishment and may actually be beneficial) is acting White and therefore off limits to Black people. Hmm...it's the norm to follow the law so Black people should break it. It's the norm to go to school so Black people should not. It's the norm to get married then have kids so Black people should not. That's being Black and keeping it real right? Sigh...this is so insanely self-destructive it's like some Black people have chosen to screw themselves over while this so-called oppressor can sit back and laugh. Why not try to beat them at their own game instead of purposely accepting the defeated position?
I think that parents and school sent the conflicting message that conforming to peer pressure was bad (e.g., if everyone jumped off a bridge would you, don't smoke/do drugs/have sex/ just because your friends do etc.) but there is pressure to follow the rules, be good, go to school, and get along with others. There is also the encouragement of free thinking, being creative, and not being afraid to be different. But I think what was missing was talking about the benefits of conforming when it is beneficial because people do that all the time! It's common sense most of the time to do what is normal or doing what normally brings rewards and avoids punishment in society.
That's the whole point of role models! You look at their accomplishments, learn what they did to succeed, and try the same things so that you can be successful. Most of the time they did positive and socially approved things like working hard at school and showing good character traits (e.g., determination, optimism, creativity, resourcefulness), and they chose something that tends to bring rewards in society (e.g., high status job, heroic job, star status etc.). There are also negative "role models" who are held up as cautionary tales or examples of what people shouldn't do. For example, those "stupid criminal" stories, stories about people falling from grace, and tales of people we know who ruined their lives and never lived up to their potential. The downfall of many of these people was doing something against the norm that had the risk of severe punishments (e.g., death or imprisonment not just losing money or failing). I want to be looked at as a positive role model who succeeded and did not cheat, steal, or lie to get to the top. Will you be looked at as someone who succeeded, tried their best, and did so in a respectable way or will you be a cautionary tale about wasted potential and making bad choices?