Blog entry and other links:
Awesome video (from above)! (NFSW for censorship-minded types. I always find that comical, personally. I know my friends and I were never that innocent as to need protection from colourful language as kids, and that was back in the 70s.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqHYzYn3WZw&index=5&list=UU2Uhn0GOuErIBhOA3T79Mkg
So, I keep hearing that I should be more concerned with my looks because I’m a female, and spend time (and money I don’t have) on a makeup and fashion makeover, essentially. I told tone of these detractors, recently, that I was more concerned with making over my mind, and my life, and building a career for myself than worrying about whether I looked good enough in the mirror. That was/is the least of my frickin’ problems. I have encountered this kind of fashion- and beauty-related discrimination time and again, no matter how nicely I dress, how conservative I have tried to look,–out of desperation for work–or what colour my hair is, or isn’t. (Screw them, at this point. I still don’t know how to fight it, successfully, sadly and embarrassingly.)
Of course, blog readers, I am still working on not buying into their “we have to keep women (and men) in their sexist-defined places, within a intolerant gender-stereotyped society”. It’s so hard to believe it’s 2014 and this stuff is still present as a societal-failing issue. I, myself, absolutely adore men who break outdated gender-assigned roles by expressing sensitivity, creativity, and who display nurturing and caring attitudes, and those who are comfortable in a dress/skirt and makeup–can you say *swoonworthy*? *laugh* I actually thought I found my ideal soul mate–someone who was sensitive, caring, creative, loved pink, wore glam-style makeup (think David Bowie, or, occasionally, a touch of Robert Smith), liked expressing themselves through fashion, and was a great cook. But, as a lot of relationships do, sadly, it didn’t work out. But I still look for/appreciate those qualities in a person. Not all people look for stereotypical machismo qualities in their life partner.
If I feel more comfortable putting on jeans and t-shirts and a hoodie and a guy feels more comfortable in a dress/skirt, or other elegant dressy clothing, then we should have the freedom to express our nature how we want it, and the freedom to present ourselves to the world as who we really are. I think clothes are a reflection of our identity, and when they do, that equals confidence.
Here’s some real-life examples of how people have focused more on what I look like, rather than my skills and talents (these are all true stories):
- Back in my goth days, I got fired from an after-school program job for having my hair dyed fuchsia, and styled, for a trip to NYC, with my new income. I didn’t even have a clue on how to fight this discrimination, at the time, and I didn’t even know my rights (if any). Other than suing them. I was just so ignorant about what to do in this situation. Even people I knew felt the company was justified in firing me for dyeing my hair, as Florida was a “Right-To-Work” state, and a few even supported their decision. (With friends like these, who needs enemies, right?)The person in charge over there actually brought out his administrative assistant and made her walk the “catwalk” in front of me, as an example of how a woman should be dressed. According to the administrative assistant, she said that her boss had told her what to wear and had even taken her shopping and bought her clothing. She described her former clothing as “jeans and t-shirts”–tomboyish, gender-fluid clothing, it sounded like. The most I tried to do was write a (naive, right?) letter to the company’s CEO contesting my dismissal, but that didn’t go anywhere.
- When I utilized the career services at the university, I took some skill & placement tests (not sure what they were called, officially) that said I was not cut out for my latest career attempt (MA in history). Other than that, the career services department was not very helpful. She did, however, give me the name of her salon and told me to go get a haircut. One of my professors, when I told her that I was investing the time and money (via student loans) to try and get a job/career, told me that people didn’t go into history for a career. (I was halfway through the MA program at this point). I even took advantage of their free counseling services, which I went to only once or twice, having gotten irked at the person telling me that I just needed to walk around and smile at everyone and all my problems would be solved.
- I went to a job interview (one of three during the four years I’ve been looking for work after I got my MA) with a newly purchased (with borrowed funds) conservative apparel. I navigated the interview pretty well, I thought, until the end, when the woman told me that I had all the requisite skills but that I didn’t dress good enough to work in her office.
- I was hired as a sub for the local school system. The school in question was under construction, so they, for some reason, needed substitute teachers for hall monitors. Not sure why, but it was a job. We had a staff meeting where the principal filled us in on the requirements of the job. Since it was nearing summer (this was Florida) and the outside temperatures were pushing 90, he gave us permission to wear clothing (thus relaxing the public school dress code) suitable for the heat. One day, I had on a top with spaghetti straps. My fellow sub (a male) had on a t-short and shorts (the shorts aren’t allowed under their dress code, either). The principal saw me and came over and began lecturing me about my top. He said it was a violation of the dress code (this was a school where they yanked kids out of the classroom–all the kids–for one dress code violation–and made them line up in the parking lot while the
prison guardsschool officials went down the line and marked off any violations–depriving kids of up to one to two hours from their education in order to do so) and I couldn’t wear that here. Then he noticed my book, with a skull-and-crossbones on it, and began lecturing me on why it was a banned book (the book was Captain Charles Johnson’s A General History of the Pyrates–a classic piece of literature). Some of you might agree, but here’s the frightening twist. While the principal was lecturing me, a kid had passed out and fallen face-first on the pavement behind him. There was a lot of commotion–teachers and students running and screaming to help the kid. The principal continues to lecture me about my t-shirt and book. I pointed out that he had an emergency to deal with and he scrambled for his radio and left the area. I run over to the kid. Another sub, in CPR training for certification, had already flipped the kid over on his back and was about to give him CPR when I arrived. I said, “Did you check to make sure he was still breathing?” He sat back on his heels, and says “Oh.” so I use something–i think it was a cell phone, to see if the kid was still breathing. He was. At this point, we are alone, and the halls are clear and quiet. I had the fellow sub go get help for the kid. He comes back with some other guys and they carry the kid into the gym. I follow. When I get into the gym, I see the principal, standing over a big cart, where two school staffers are going through a bunch of gym shirts. When he sees me, he beckons me over and says “these two women will find you a shirt to wear.” and leaves. Finally, at least 45 minutes after we carry the kid into the gym, the paramedics arrive to help the kid. All told, I would guesstimate it took over an hour to get the kid professional medical help. (He had a reaction to some prescription drug he was on–for ADD or something.). All because I was wearing a spaghetti strap t-shirt, apparently? Oh, and because my choice of reading material for my lunch break, as well… (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_General_History_of_the_Pyrates)