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  • Writer's pictureAlanna Grayce

Episode 11: Empowerment Through Clothing

This is a really important subject for me, and I'm not sure if I made that clear enough in the original episode. I have been judged for my clothing many, many times- and I'm sure I will again in the future. I make the choices that make me happy, and I want you to be equipped to make the choices that make YOU happy as well.

Clothing is part of what makes us human- it connects us to our culture, but also to our identity.

Clothing itself fulfills critical human needs- emotional, communication/self expression, comfort/protection, variety/entertainment, beauty, belonging/connection, and it serves as a marker of significance. So, think about how clothing is necessary to cover and protect us from the sun, to keep us warm. It also provides a way for us to bond with each other- people in communities are able to dress in similar ways as a form of connecting. Wedding dresses, funeral attire, other ceremonial garb- there are markers of significance and ways to communicate emotions.

Clothing is an act, though. Wearing is a verb- you’re doing it. You are making specific choices. It’s a way to express yourself, to show off your creativity, and to manifest who you’re going to be today. I read through a compilation of nine different women talking about how clothing empowers them- and the most common idea throughout was that loving what you wear and feeling good about it contributes to confidence. I also did a little poll on the Instagram, which found that most every woman who responded just love to have fun with their clothes and use it as a way to express who they want to be that day.

In case you need more proof, in an article reference a new project on exhibit at the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, Denise Green, a faculty member in the college, said: "Clothing is actually a really critical site of cultural production. It’s where we convey who we are, where we come from, and what we want the world to be. And so we are always being and becoming in our clothes and presenting ourselves to the world.”

This is an argument I’ve had so many times. Ultimately, it comes down to this. Girls like to wear what we like to wear. If we were dressing for men, we’d just be naked ya know? We dress for ourselves, to express ourselves and feel good, and we dress for each other- for other girls to gain an understanding of us, to connect with others, yadda yadda. So, if we want to wear a crop top and booty shorts- who frickin cares? If that’s what makes us feel good, then GOOD FOR US. If we want to be completely covered- THAT’S FINE TOO. It’s what makes you comfortable!!! ALL that matters in the end is that WE are comfortable and confident, and dressing to please ourselves- not others.

So this leads me to.. Why do men think that clothing is a traffic light? Why is it that a guy (or a girl) may look at a girl in a crop top and think "oh, she wants attention", when in fact she just likes wearing fricking crop tops? Why do shorts or tank tops have some inherent contribution to a woman’s worth?

I would guess part of it at least definitely goes back to school dress codes and girls being told to cover up so as not to distract the boys. This is clearly teaching children from an early age that a woman must be modest in order to be respected, and that boys are not in control of their own minds and actions, so we have to handle that for them.

AAAAAAND I just wanna go ahead and say, don’t even start on some bullcrap talking about modesty is in the Bible. I love Jesus, and you know what he told his disciples when they were like "omg Jesus what do we do when we see women and they’re sooooo attractive and we can’t control ourselves and what to touch them!?!?" Jesus told them to chop off their hands so they couldn’t do that. So don’t tell me that Jesus would judge me based on my clothing, because he does not ever say that modesty is requisite for intrinsic worth.

Further, I found this study where researchers tested males perceptions of women’s humanity depending on the amount of clothing they were wearing. Literally, I kid you not, when presented with women wearing less clothing the males in the study PERCEIVED THEM AS BASICALLY DIFFERENT KINDS OF HUMANS. The less clothing they wore, the more likely males were to see these women as only FEELING beings, rather than thinking beings. Just entities, but not ones with their own salience.



Clothing is a way for women to express. To empower themselves to feel their best, to be confident, to be joyful. Y’all know how i feel about being happy- it’s pretty much the most important thing in life. So why do people- this is young, old, male, female, neither- want to use clothing as an excuse to judge, as an excuse to discriminate, as an excuse to treat someone as less than. I understand the fact that some clothes are more appropriate for certain situations than others- do not get me wrong there. Like I don’t necessarily want a crop top or my butt hanging out at a corporate meeting. But the idea that anything a person wears is grounds for deciding their value as a human is inconceivable. If I’m going to the park, or class or the gym, or the grocery or to a restaurant and I wear a crop top- WHO CARES. That should not be perceived as me saying LOOK AT ME GIVE ME ATTENTION!!! That should be just as normal as socks with sandals. Maybe it’s not for you- but if that person over there wants to do it- more power to them.

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