How Do You Choose?
What women wear is one of most resilient issues of our times, circulating in public consciousness through constant debates, discussions and controversies. This post is not about asserting the right of a person to choose. To me, the idea that the topics of choice and freedom are being debated is absurd. No. I want to go one step back and talk a little about ‘choice’ .
When I see a whole bunch of people on the streets displaying boards that voice “my body, my choice” and similar sentiments, I am a little skeptical. Yes, you are free to choose what you want to wear but have you done justice to evolving your choice? This question is not merely for the women but for the men too, as the media influence on appearance of both genders grows menacingly.
How Choices Are Made?
What determines our choice of clothes? Do we choose a certain set of clothes for ourselves or for the sake of appearance. It is a difficult matter to ponder over, and one that has several meandering avenues of misconceptions and wrong notions. A very astounding quote that I once read was like this:
“I am not who I think I am.
I am not who you think I am.
I am what I think YOU think I am.”
This quote tells us a lot about how we perceive ourselves, i.e. through the eyes of others and how we want others to think of us. Each of us wants others to acknowledge our ideas, beliefs and personality and the clothes we wear are a big statement of these points. If I go to a party in my worn-out jeans, I consciously decide to not change my clothes because I am making a statement that while the rest of the group may be dressing up for hours for the event, I do not care about what others think of my appearance. Or I want to portray that I don’t believe in dressing up to catch the attention of people. Whatever may be the reason, I am putting in an effort to appear in a certain way and it is this choice of appearance that I am discussing in this post.
Give me just a little more patience. Nobody can claim to be unaffected by other people. But to lose ourselves in the opinion of others means we lose our choice and start going by what the others want us to be. This fact will hold true on both ends of the pendulum, i.e. it holds true as much for people who choose to dress conservatively because they are afraid of stirring a controversy as it does for people who choose to dress in any way because they want to be part of the popular and media-propagated version of beautiful/handsome/cool.
What Do You Want?
So while we can never clearly establish where our own choice ends and where outside influences begin, the one thing that is very clear is that if we are not consciously aware of our own likes and dislikes and/or do not think too much about why we like or dislike something, then we put ourselves at the risk of being carried by the current of social pressures, whichever way it may be flowing at a given time.
The media will also propagate what it wants to sell. Fashion is the best way to mint a whole lot of money for clothing labels and brands. It is up to each of us to stop and think if we really want to follow that latest style trend or haircut or if we really want to choose what we want to wear.