The other day I read an article about how the kinds of clothes you wear define you in that moment. At first read of the piece, I was not offended (I’m still not offended). In fact the girl in me sort of saw herself in each situation, but while well-written and somewhat funny, I thought to myself, “gosh, how shallow are we as women if this is really how we think? How shallow am I for nodding in agreement at some of these points?” And as I continued to read, I thought, “Who the hell cares what I wear as long as it is clean and it fits me properly? And who cares where I bought it?”
Does where we buy our clothes define us? Is who we are defined by how much money we spend on fashion? Is this really the way many of us think?
There are people who cannot afford such luxuries, either because they simply cannot or because they choose to put money towards other far more important things in their lives like their children, a home, transportation, a wedding, an education. Are they less than worthy as people because they shop at a discount store or at a less expensive clothing store than an Ann Taylor or Banana Republic shopper? When people see me, when other women see me, are they judging me based on how much my clothes, handbag, and shoes cost? If clothes and where we buy them define who we are for the time in which we are wearing them, than we seriously have some issues to address in our heads.
While I may or may not wear name-brand clothing depending on what day you run into me, I know there are some things that remain constant about myself. For starters, I am always a kind person. I try to treat people with respect. I believe in the Golden Rule — to treat others as you wish to be treated. I try to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good girlfriend, and over all a generally good person. I love animals. I am an artist, a writer, a lover of nature, a bookworm. Sometimes I am lazy and stubborn. Other times I am quite the opposite. I love to cook, but I hate to do laundry. I prefer to clean my bathroom over washing dirty dishes any day. If you do my dishes, I may even clean your bathroom. (It all depends really on how dirty we are talking).
These traits, more so than what is on my body, are what define me. If I were covered in tattoos, would it make me a bad person? No. If my hair were colorful, would I be a punk? No. If I shop at Gucci, does that make me better than someone who doesn’t? No. If I shop Forever 21, does that make me cheap or sleazy? No. And while we should not judge a book by its cover, we often do. We often assume the status of someone’s wealth based on an outward appearance of what we think they have, and in determining wealth we often determine status and develop character assumptions about one another.
What makes one person better than the next? The answer is absolutely nothing. Nothing makes me better than you, and nothing makes you better than me. We are all located somewhere in the middle with talents, traits, flaws, and good qualities that are unique to us. It’s just the right mix to keep everyone in balance.
If you find yourself looking around a room, staring at your fellow sister from across it thinking “how could she wear that cheap dress? Ew!”, please evaluate yourself and your own insecurities. Find a nice thought about that woman. I promise you one exists somewhere. After all, that nasty thought you gave to her, five other girls have already given to you. Choose to think with positivity, and toss your cattiness out the door — because it defines you far more than what you wear ever could.