“A woman using her own face and body has a right to do what she will with them, but it is a subtle abyss that separates men’s use of women for sexual titillation from women’s use of women to expose that insult.”
-Lucy. R. Lippard
I feel like we worry too much. About what people think, about what people say, about what people do, about how they will look at us, about what they’ll tell their friends. It’s a constant cycle, and honestly even I get stuck in it sometimes. But then I have to shake myself out of it because it’s not worth it.
Over the past few days, you’ll have been extremely supportive of my blog and the post about being fat and I’m so overwhelmed that there are people out there, more than I expected, and they look at fatness the way I do. Honestly, it was like a restoration of faith in humanity in some sense.
There are people who will say ‘fashion is for the dumb’, ‘dude, seriously go write something serious’, ‘you post pictures of yourself in clothes on your blog?’, ‘what’s the point of fashion?’ and so much more that I can’t imagine spewing. Fashion is not dumb. Nor is it a joke. Fashion is a form of expression, just as any other medium is - be it sport or politics. We constantly seek a medium to express ourselves, and if fashion is mine, and politics is yours, what’s the big deal? I don’t care about the gaze, I’m not dressing up for you. You can’t tell me I’m wearing too little or too much, hell, you can’t even tell Lena Dunham that her nudity is purposeless when you are clearly turned on by all the nudity on Game of Thrones.
Dressing up makes me happy, what’s the problem with it? When Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about feeling comfortable and like herself in a short-sleeve top, cotton trousers and high wedge sandals, even to class, she means exactly that. In her interview with Elle earlier this year, she raises one of the most vital questions: Why can’t a smart woman love fashion? Why am I supposed to be clad in sweats, with messy unkempt hair and look like I don’t care about what I wear for me to be intellectual? Let me confess: for a while after I joined college, I stopped dressing up. Not only because I couldn’t find time to pick out clothes and plan my accessories, but also because people used to think I was dumb because I dressed up. Honestly it got quite annoying, and for a while I gave in to it. I must tell you that those months I went without dressing were the worst, and I not only felt bogged down but also pulled in directions to not dress up in order to be intellectual. And then I started doing this thing: I would dress up on normal college days, but wear ‘intellectual’ clothes on important days. After all, if I had my sartorial choices right, I was stupid. After reading Adichie’s interview, I realised that it was not just people around me. A lot of people seem to think fashion can’t be smart, but now, I just don’t care.
Recently, I read an article where a Princeton University English professor Elaine Showalter said, “My passion for fashion can sometimes seem a shameful secret life.” For a long time, I’ve kept this blog a secret. Well, not really a secret, but I avoid telling people about it. Why? 1) They instantly assume I’m dumb, 2) I’m not good with compliments (let’s talk about this another day). But no more. I’m tired and sick of people’s assumptions and I just realize that it’s pointless for me to live like fashion is my dirty secret.
I’m going to start with this:
I love fashion.
I care about what I wear, and that does not make me dumb.
Chiffon top: Vero Moda, Pants: Commercial Street, Shoes: Pondicherry, Crop top: Don’t remember