Women all over the world have been dressing modestly for centuries and continue to do so in 2009. It is absolutely nothing new.
A woman’s appearance and specifically her style of dress is an indicator of how she feels about herself, her thought process, her experiences, exposure and her values. When we get up in the morning and select what we will wear for the day, we are consciously and subconsciously sending a message to all those we encounter saying, “This is who I am!” So what message are you trying to project? What first impression are you trying to make?
When a woman puts on a power suit or business casual clothing, she is projecting the message that she is striving to look and be professional. When you see her you may think she may be going to work or to a conference or an important meeting.
When a woman wears a long silky dress with a shawl and heels, you know that she is probably going to a somewhat classy formal event.
When a woman wears a police uniform, you assume she’s a cop… unless it’s Halloween.
When a woman wears “African” garb, she projects the message that she probably has somewhat of an African centered view on life or she has a different cultural perspective.
When a woman wears a crotch length mini-skirt, a tube top, and some hooker boots, where if you bend over or sit without your legs crossed, your goodies are exposed for the world to see, what message is she conveying? Many of us are never asked, nor do we ask ourselves that question, and if we do, here are a couple typical answers:
1) “I wear what’s in style”
-Okay, so that means that your style is predicated upon the creative whims of fashion designers, many of whom are unalike yourself (many are gay white men) who place gaunt unhealthy looking women onto the runways to model their clothing (many of whom have boyish size 2 figures…hmmm), and the clothes go into specialty boutiques, into department stores, and on to your local mall retailers. And, scantily clad clothing is not the only style that is trendy.
Besides, some designers get ideas from the street or from the styles of original people, but do we ever get credit for it?
2) “I wear it cuz it’s cute (that used to be my favorite one to use)”
-Something being “cute” is relative. That is not a universal term. There is not absolute meaning to the word “cute.” You think something is cute due to the context of your life and what you have been exposed to, by which you develop responses, and as you get older, that combination of responses turns into “your style.” What you think is cute, someone else may think is unattractive and vice versa.
3) “What I wear has nothing to do with who I am (my 2nd favorite one I used to use)”
-Um, yes it does. We usually say this when we are getting defensive or have not gone through the recesses of our thoughts to get to the point of origin of why we dress this way. Your clothes are ABSOLUTELY, EMPHATICALLY an indicator of who you are, it’s just not the only indicator. Doesn’t how you eat, how you speak, and the music you listen to give others a glimpse of who you are and your way of life? Well, the same logic applies regarding your wardrobe choices. We oftentimes say this when we are challenged about our way of dress and are resistant to self-analysis and change. If you wear it because you wanna “use what ya got to get what you want”, though it’s usually a saying prostitutes use and is a dysfunctional phrase passed on from woman to woman (often times from uncivilized mother to daughter), at least you’re being honest. We have to stop deluding ourselves.
When we intentionally wear cleavage exposing shirts, it’s because we want someone to look at the ta-tas. When we wear those little crotch length denim skirts ( I mean doesn’t the name itself sound foul?), it’s because we want someone to look at our legs and the hill back there. These thoughts may all be subconscious and we may not think it when we put the clothes on, but after really thinking about it and being honest with ourselves, you tell me what you come up with. When you intentionally put that sexy ish or that freakum dress on(and don’t get me wrong, I like that song for the beat and melody, but I threw my freakum dress out a while ago(smile)), when a man sees you, he is giving you the attention you are asking for. When he looks at you, he doesn’t think of how intelligent you may be…he thinks of (surprise) SEX! So if a brotha is salivating over you while tryin to hold a conversation while staring down ya shirt, don’t get mad at him cuz he’s not looking into your eyes… check yourself first cuz he’s gonna look if you put it out there !
4) “Some women in other countries walk around topless, so what’s wrong with what I wear?”
-We are not in those countries. Different countries produce different cultures, different standards of beauty, and different perspectives on how a woman’s body is viewed. In the United States, a woman’s body is a commodity that is objectified through the process of long-standing sexism. Women are socialized to be sex objects and men are socialized to chase it, so when ya put it out there like that, you’re like a walking advertisement for some of the sexual pleasures he may get once he pulls you. In this country, it’s just too much to ask for a man who hasn’t yet deconstructed his own thoughts and life experiences yet, socialized as he has been, to not think that way when he sees a woman walking around half naked. Remember, he’s constantly exposed to the same images as you, and he is socialized to desire a woman who looks like that.
As a woman who has only been consciously dressing modestly for about four years now, thinking back to when I first decided to embark on the journey of getting the knowledge of self and striving to be a productive citizen in the Nation of Gods and Earths, I had to conduct an analysis of every part of myself, and a large aspect of that was getting to the root of my dress code. Women of my society who are called Earths, usually wear what is called “3/4ths,” because 3/4ths of the planet Earth’s surface is covered by water and as self-respecting women and Queens, we dress modestly and cover our hair to show the world a different paradigm of womanhood and a positive standard of beauty… that you can be beautiful, intelligent, smell good, and have ambitions without all your goodies hangin’ out.
Coming to this conclusion and accepting modesty as a part of my way of life was very difficult, but very rewarding in the end. It was difficult because I had to study myself, and through a logical process of being asked and asking myself questions, I came to the conclusion that I used to wear revealing clothes to boost my self-esteem and attract attention, because I was not as confident as I should have been with my other attracting powers. I knew I was fairly intelligent but I also knew that I had it goin’ on physically and coupled with media images and popular standards of beauty in the wilderness of North America, music videos, movies, Miss America Pageants, magazines, you name it, I thought that this was how I had to dress to get the attention I wanted. Showin’ skin was in baby! It was deep, and I realized that my thoughts and feelings about this went back as far as the third grade (be careful of what your little girls are exposed to! They are picking up messages that are integrated into their subconscious that will shape how they consciously express themselves.).
I fought this concept and thought that my mental did not have to match my physical…that I could still be smart, nice, community minded and active, love and build with the babies, and wear what I wanted. Back then, I didn’t really understand the importance of consistency and discipline. Due to the barrage of distractions that we are exposed to and integrate on a daily basis, consistency is a challenge in the United States in 2009. I suppose you could say I was tryin’ to be revolutionary but sexy. Looking back, I now realize how much of a contradiction that was. Real revolutionaries had other things on their mind beyond striving to appear to be sexy all the time. Not to say that a woman can’t feel sensual or comfortable with her sexuality, however, there is a time and place for everything, and having “sexy” as one of the dominant themes of my existence didn’t really make sense. As my God says, “Civilized people do things inside.” That was not the legacy I wanted to leave behind.
Another dilemma I had was that I thought there was only one way to look modest and rock 3/4ths. Later on, as I grew and developed, saw different examples and looked within myself, I found that that was totally untrue. Me changing my wardrobe forced me to have to be more original. This is not to say that I couldn’t wear some of the styles that I considered fashionable, trendy, attractive or designer clothing, because I can, but I simply wear them in a different way…
There are lots of different options, but you, as the original woman, with her own level of beauty and uniqueness, have to be creative enough to put it together, and if you do it right, you’ll start setting trends! Where do you think the “earthy” look came from? People will start asking you how you put your outfits together, where did you get that head wrap from, lovin’ your accessories and matching purses, and complimenting your shoe game…
Give it a shot and you will see where your creativity takes you and just how refined and fly you can be!
I Medina Peaceful Earth