Inspired by this photo on Tumblr I want to talk about how judgement based strictly on appearance and nothing else don't help anyone anywhere and are not cool.
I will further talk about how that type of judging has been an alienating force for me personally.
Let's get started.
Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the outfit I was really thinking of for this post. This is a good version of the outfit.
So probably a few months ago I wore an outfit very similar to this one to work:
Instead of black tights I had on socks and bare legs. A slightly shorter skirt and a shirt that showed a tad more cleavage.
Nothing extreme. My usual all black.
Now picture me wearing said outfit, sitting at a bus stop with a book in my hand.
A woman stopped to talk to me, I thought she might want to know when the bus was coming or something. She commented that she'd seen my partner and I around all the time and then first said that my shirt was "inappropriate" and then followed with stating that I look like I am in a cult and she informed me that there's a church around the corner from the bus stop and that my partner (She said husband) needed to go right away because we're clearly sinful evil people. She also made mention that my boots, socks, bare legs and skirt made me look like a slut.
A total stranger said I was an evil person based on the fact that I typically wear all black.
For the entirety of my life, even before I was Little Miss Black Goth every year people have said things like that to me.
People I've never spoken to have walked up to me demanding to know why I "dress like a White girl", women I've never met with or met their spouses have accused me of being a "man stealing tramp" because I had on (at the time my favorite dress) a full skirted sundress that I had altered to fit me very well.
I have worn high heels (back when that was not a thing done in Seattle with casual clothes) and had people walk up to me and accuse me of being a hooker, telling me how slutty I was for daring to wear a pair of heels and jeans.
When I wore an important to me array of religious symbols (very large Ankh, hand made rune pendants etc) visibly almost every day someone was either trying to convince me that an ankh is a co-opted Christian symbol, that I needed to stop being a "dangerous devil worshiper", Jezebel, evil.
Now honestly in none of these instances have I been all up in anyone's face. I can honestly tell you that is not really my jam.
I walk around, I don't get into random peoples faces. I don't do that.
I will admit that yes, my sense of style can be seen as inappropriate. By nature I am not the most modest girl around.
I accept that not everything things or wants to see my cleavage. That is awesome that is fine.
I accept and encourage everyone in the whole world to not dress like me.
I fully accept the fact that my penchant for wearing all black might freak some people out.
I fully accept that to some people my love of shorter skirts, tank tops and tall boots is weird and makes them uncomfortable.
I fully accept that in some workplaces the way I dress would be grounds for firing.
Some of these things suck.
What I do not accept is that anyone has the right to get into my space and make those kinds of judgement not about my clothes but about the person I am.
I have an issue with that because it indicates that regardless of how I'm dressed if you're saying these things to me off the cuff you have no respect for me as a human being who is not you.
Am I saying in any way that someone is wrong for having this opinion of me? Not really. There is fuck all i can do about what anyone thinks about me.
What is wrong is the presumption and entitlement.
Why should you (the big generic you) be entitled to get in my face like that? More so if you are a complete stranger to me?
Why should you for whatever reasons (religious, moral whatever) get to tell me how I can and can't walk around in the world?
I would never ever walk up to someone, see they have on a cross and demand they remove it because I am not a Christian.
I see people use the well I wouldn't do or wear X thing so it must be wrong and the person wearing it must be awful mentality to justify harassing women in hijabs or other religious modesty wear.
How is that okay?
It's the same attitude but, from the people delivering it my perceived awfulness, sinfulness and whoredom is the bigger evil.
No that's not okay.
I've also gotten this attitude from feminists who wanted to school me in apparently feminist fashion and explain to me how much of a tool of the patriarchy I am with my tall boots and cleavage and tight clothes.
If you are a Feminist Captian Save a Ho have so little respect for me as a fellow woman, who is supposed to be able to make her own decisions and decide how I am to behave and look, if you tell me how to do those things just like any sexist ass dudebro, who in this case is the bigger tool?
Is the bigger sin owning my own body or is it behaving in the exact ways that the patriarchy does?
If your reasons to approach someone like me this way religious, why is it no one who has ever used their faith as their reason for engaging with me this way has ever been able to tell me where in the bible it says it is okay to judge this way? I am not familiar with religions that say HEY go ahead and be hateful to people.
I do say hateful because some of the interactions I've had have been hateful.
Not based on anything I've said to someone. I didn't walk up and say hey fuck you and your beliefs.
Not based on anything I was doing except maybe walking, waiting for a bus or reading a book.
Even worse when that attitude comes from people I do know. People who I know to be decent caring people. Until someone does something that isn't in their frame of reference or sphere of experience or in their belief system.
That is not okay.
In a small sense, on a human to human level it's a cruel and disgusting way to treat someone.
It is damaging and plain old mean.
In a bigger sense, the idea that you personally have the right or responsibility to dictate how anyone dresses or wears their hair or even behaves (to an extent, I am not talking about criminal activities or abuse etc) in a way that is not your way for whatever reason, you are participating in and supporting a lot of the evil isms.
In trying to police other people, fat people, Black people, White people, women, men, men who identify as men who like to wear dresses, women who identify as women who would rather wear boxers than panties etc- you are actively participating in their marginalization.
I am not saying it's not okay to not like something from a manner of dress to a self identification.
I would have no issue with someone saying to me (even though if it's unprovoked and random I will be annoyed) "I hate what you're wearing it's butt fucking ugly".
You don't have to like it. You didn't buy it, you don't live with me, I'm not trying to get with you, you are not my parents etc.
Here's the thing that is at the root of why there's a difference between having an opinion and being a jerk.
Being a jerk, yes even if you say something in a "nice" way is when you are trying to impose your will on another human being.
Whether it's in the form of saying that my skirt makes me look like a slut or telling me that my fat body needs to be corrected the way you think it needs to be.
Being a jerk is when you want to take another persons agency.
That is not okay.
When someone tries to take my agency in whatever way, they are saying I even if it's not what they mean that I am not worth respecting. And that my friends is bullshit.
So yes, hate what someone wears. Don't approve of all the ass n titties you see on a daily basis. Disapprove of any visible lack of faith. Don't wear low cut shirts, short skirts, mens underwear high heels whatever the problem is.
But do not think for a second that coming at someone like this indicates caring or even decency on your part. It doesn't.