Stand Up

I own several dresses. One of the dresses I own is shorter than the rest by three or so inches. It grazes three or so inches above the knee. I don’t call it a short dress. It is a dress. Please do not judge me in a negative light for wearing what society may deem as a short dress. Don’t judge me, nor anyone else for their apparel. I have long toned legs, many shorts I wear are short on me but average length for most people. Bermuda shorts would be average length on me (half way down the thigh)! Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the picture.

A few weeks ago, picked me up and we had an afternoon coffee chat at Biggby then we museum hopped downtown in our city. That morning I woke up excited to wear my new black and white striped dress (the shorter of the dresses in my closet). I got dressed, slung a necklace on my neck and headed out the door. I enjoyed the way my striped dress felt on my body, the breeze and sun upon my legs as I walked, everything about this dress was wonderful. Honestly, I felt particularly pretty that day with my friend.

As the day progressed from coffee I began to notice the expressions on strangers faces as they saw my attire. The strangers expressions seemed disapproving as they gave me the quick up-down once over. Or in this case down-to-up once over. Now, I am not a mind reader, but I’m guessing their thoughts were unkind. One of the things that concerned me about the strangers was that many of them were women giving me those disapproving looks. Young women, middle aged women, senior citizens and everyone else in between. If I caught the judgmental countenances of the women, I’d smile. I’m not conceited, I just don’t stand for this entitled better than thou nonsense. So instead of verbalizing my thoughts or giving my unexpected audience the finger, I smiled. Since I have been judged on my appearance more than once in my life, I try not to judge other women and men. The world is harsh, I don’t want to add more negativity.

The objectifying expressions made me angry. I didn’t feel belittled, or shamed for being comfortable (comfortable in my own body) wearing a “short” dress, I felt angry. I wasn’t just angry at the women, I was resentful and mad at society for allowing these silent comments seem perfectly acceptable. How long has this been acceptable?

I’m not apologizing for my “short” dress. Don’t like it? The solution is simple: Don’t look or wear it. Aesthetics is a way for men and women to express themselves. Women and men aren’t looking to be objectified, judged, shamed, or made to feel insecure when they dress or look a certain way. The day I wore my favorite black and white dress could have ended in tears but it didn’t because I feel confident in my own skin.

I am simply not apologizing. I will stand up straighter and be proud.

 

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