This post is related to the one titled Less Clothes. A follow-up is needed, since clothing has become rather complicated, hasn’t it? Over the last few centuries clothing has always been complicated, you might say. People had suits for all kinds of things, fashion and style were the recreation of the upper class. Look back a little further, before that. People wore clothes to cover themselves, fend off heat and cold and rain and wind, protect against cuts from branches, etc.
I’m also in favor of clothing as a way to set apart different things. Having tiers of clothing for casual to formal events is okay. It sets apart special occasions and does a lot to create the mood and atmosphere that makes them even more powerful. The aristocracy obviously took this to a ridiculous level, with the outrageous amounts of money spent and the unhealthy focus on appearance and status.
But clothing to boost ego, clothing as a stamp of wealth, clothing to hide behind, clothing to fit in – these are all twisted, unhealthy ways to use clothes. The social norm is to idolize clothing and fashion, and everything that goes along with them, and females have received the brunt of this social expectation.
Each of us must choose between two alternatives. One, we can sigh and lament the way we have been trained to think about ourselves and each other, and we can blame it on “SOCIETY” and feel bad and keep living the way we are. Or two, we can take a moment to laugh at ourselves, and then change our ridiculous habits of thought and action, and retake control of our minds and lives.
Hint hint, pick number two. It’s easy. Don’t worry. All you have to do is ask questions. It’s also fun. Here are some examples to get you started:
1) Ladies, do you wear high heels? Why? Are they comfortable? No. Do they have a practical benefit? No. So you probably wear them for appearance, or out of blind habit and social expectation (but we already know that is a bad reason). If you wear them because they look nice, you should also wear paintings and flowers and birds and figurines, right? No, that’s silly. Thus you must agree that it doesn’t logically follow that if it looks nice you should put it on your body. So you must wear them because they make “you” look nicer. But who arbitrarily decided that we should artificially alter our appearance, and that by doing so we would somehow be “better”? There is no objective or innate reason why we as humans should prefer to spend money and time altering our appearance to conform to an arbitrary standard, than to simply prefer our natural appearance. If you truly dislike your appearance, and aren’t comfortable without altering it, you have much larger problems that things like high heels can’t fix. If you don’t dislike your appearance, then why do you feel like you should enhance it? Anyone worth enhancing it for should tell you that you look good without it and that you shouldn’t waste your time and money on something superficial. If you do it because “it’s fun”, then I would suggest picking a different hobby that doesn’t involve deep-seated cultural discontent, discomfort, and false expectation.
2) Oh, and there are dozens of things that you should question for exactly the same reasons as high heels: makeup, most jewelry, any piece of clothing that is uncomfortable or that requires constant adjustment (some dresses, especially strapless; loose pants – wear a belt; shirts/jackets that have sleeves that don’t roll up well – don’t roll them, or replace it), clothes that are too big or too small, and more.
3) Now start questioning what you wear, why, and whether it is truly worth it. You are free to stop following the arbitrary standards of society.