Recently, a person from my past who’s harassed me and has done things to make me uncomfortable, and who I’ve attempted to block on every site imaginable, has somehow found my blogs. Not only that, but they’ve made a fake alias, which included a fake name, fake email, and fake WordPress account which they’ve used to contact me and try to make me feel uncomfortable about my sites.
Obviously it worked. I felt extremely nervous- who wouldn’t? Here’s this person to whom I’ve stressed multiple times not to talk to me using a fake persona to find me and try to bring me down on a platform that I’ve developed with a lot of hard work. I loved my blog, but suddenly felt uncomfortable about owning it.
My first instinct was to delete my blogs, all of them. But, after some thought, I understood that that would do nothing for me.
So, assuming that this person is reading this too, I’d like to make a few points regarding this site, and why I think it’s so important.
I don’t think that confidence comes easy to everyone. Confidence, in a similar way, is like knowledge. In order to obtain knowledge, we have to go out and learn. We have to read, we have to explore- we need experience that enables us to grow. Similarly, with confidence, we need to do things that expand our understanding of ourselves. More specifically, we need to do things that expand our understanding of what is great about ourselves. To say that someone who doesn’t feel confident enough about themselves to wear platform heels to a club doesn’t make them weak minded, it makes them human. And to be human means that you’re constantly improving.
Second, fashion is an entity, a medium for “self-expression”, if you will, that is utilized to exclude others. To say that it isn’t is extremely naive. Take for example my friend who had an internship in Boston two summers ago. She’d often go out with coworkers to bars and restaurants where wealthier people would generally go. She told me that the amount of judgement she felt from others at these places, because of her clothes, shoes, and bag not being from an expensive brand, was beyond rampant. Not until she saved up her internship money to buy a new Fendi bag did people begin to treat her, well, human.
Luckily, where I go to school is pretty informal, and, if I had to guess, half of Pittsburgh wouldn’t even know what the hell a Fendi bag was. This makes it easy for me, a broke college student, to get around in some Urban Outfitters shirt and Levis. Unfortunately, there are scenarios where people will discriminate against you for what you wear, how you wear it, and when you wear it.
I’ll acknowledge my privilege, too. I’m white, I’m thin, I have some money, I’m cis, and I’m hetero. Already, I’m put at an advantage. My ability to walk out into the streets and not be discriminated against or harassed for my appearance allows me to create a site like this. I’m privileged enough to critique the non-inclusiveness of fashion. I’m able to walk into a bar wearing jelly shoes and a t-shirt with a cat on it and yeah, people judge me, but I feel safe. There are other groups of people who might feel like they don’t have the ability to wear what they want past them not wearing designer. Emphasis on masculinity and femininity forces ‘genders’ to adhere to what their birth certificate says. The rise of Islamophobia leaves Muslim women too afraid to wear their Hijab in public. Fashion in it’s purest form might be a creative outlet, but social structures prevent millions of people from accessing it.
And that’s why I’m not partial to fashion.