I would argue that we live in a society that seemingly attempts to dictate what individuals should, or should not wear. We are constantly inundated with advertisements and images that convey different body types and the types of clothes that we come to believe are intended for said body types, and in this process we are persuaded to lose sight of the fact that we as humans are free to wear whatever we please.
Think about it. No two body types are the same, right? So why do we allow ourselves to become victims of advertisement schemes that state certain clothes are meant for certain bodies?
For the longest time, I convinced myself that I could not wear shorts casually because I had muscular legs. I was under the impression that the gym or sports practices were the only appropriate situations to show my legs, because I was exercising, and by doing so I conditioned myself to perceive shorts as the enemy. I was constantly exposed to images of women wearing shorts with long, thin legs, and the frequency of these images in my life eventually swayed my perception of shorts on my own body to be unflattering. Now that I am older and have a far better understanding of advertising techniques and how they work, I realize that my fear of shorts was completely irrational, however, your teenage years as a female can be an incredibly uncomfortable and awkward time.
The manipulation that exists in media is likely relevant in the lives of all individuals, regardless of gender, age, or body type. People are constantly pressured to believe that they are too thin or too thick and that because of their physical appearances they’re expected to comply with societal assumptions. Women are told to dress in a manner that is sexy but not too revealing, whereas men are told to dress as professional but not preppy. At the end of the day, who has the right to tell someone how to dress?
There is also the presence of gender binaries that occur within clothing. We are raised to believe that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, that girls wear skirts and dresses while boys wear pants. Why do items of clothing have to dictate who we are as individuals? Further, who decided that certain clothing items are a means of expressing sexual identification? When you think about this issue in a broad spectrum, it really does seem quite stupid.
I strongly believe that a collective effort to challenge clothing stereotypes would be the most effective way to abolish societal norms and expectations. Progress has been made in recent years, but there is always room for improvement. Don’t be like me and shy away from wearing something you want because someone else has convinced you not to. Clothing is a means of expression, and everyone deserves to express themselves in the manner they believe to be the truest to themselves.
In summation, wear whatever the hell you want. After all, it is your body, isn’t it?