In this article, Ellie Williams says New York police have started warning girls with too-short skirts that they could attract sexual predators. Williams is annoyed, because she feels the police are blaming the (potential) victims.
I agree with her that we shouldn’t assume sexual assault is the fault of the victim, but I do think people don’t always think about what their clothing says about them. Like the underwear models in the picture above. Maybe I’m old, but I don’t get what the girls in the thong panties are trying to say. Any ideas?
We love laughing at the “People of Walmart” pictures, and HR people always have a half-dozen funny stories about people who come to an interview in appalling outfits. Appearance matters.
Believe me, I rebelled against this as a young woman in the 60s and 70s. I thought it was superficial to judge people based on appearances. I’d go into a nice clothing store in faded jeans and feel offended when the clerks treated me like an unserious customer, which I was, in view of the fact that I was poor, but I thought they were snotty and elitist.
In my thirties, I was waiting for a guy to come by the house and pick me up for our first date. I saw his car from the bathroom window. It was an old, faded, Fiat with torn upholstery and bald tires.
I should have stayed in the bathroom. Instead I ended up marrying and supporting that man. We divorced seven years later. The first impression I got from his car said everything, but I had been taught not to judge by appearances. Now that I’m older, I realize that humans really don’t have any other way to draw first impressions.
We humans respond to visual cues. While dressing like a streetwalker – or going naked – doesn’t entitle a criminal to use your body, at the same time it’s wrong to say that people don’t look at what you’re wearing and draw conclusions. Those conclusions might turn out to be wrong, but the chance to demonstrate that fact may never come.
What do you think the young woman in the cowboy hat is saying with her choice of clothing? To me, it says I’m sexy and fun. Let’s play. That’s her decision – she’s a grown woman – but I’m hoping she’s also a martial arts expert.
Ah, well, she’ll probably change as she gets older. When I was a teenager, I applied for a job. The prospective employer called my current boss and asked for a reference. Vick praised me to the hilt. The prospect kept pushing. “Come on, she can’t be perfect. Tell me one single flaw.”
Finally Vic relented. “I had to be honest,” he said later. “I told him your skirts are too short.”
Kindle readers can contact me at Lmspreen@gmail.com.
As we age, we become invisible to retailers. That’s what Darryle Pollack of the Huffington Post is saying, and she’s not the only one. Quoting her article, “Though our numbers are growing faster than we can count, we don’t count in the eyes of image-makers and marketers. When we reach a certain age, we’re toast — burnt toast.” She cites an article in the NY Post, with this aggravating factoid:About a year ago, executives at CNBC were alarmed to discover that they’d suddenly lost one-third of their audience. They couldn’t figure it out; news programming, as a rule, attracts the 25- to 54-year-old demographic. So the network delved into the data with the Nielsen Company and made a startling finding: That missing one-third was, in fact, still there. They were no longer being counted as viewers, because they’d turned 55.
It’s not that I’m insulted. I mean, I am, but the larger point is, what business can afford to ignore so many dollars and such a large and growing segment of the economy? Ad exec Lisa Thompson of Firespring gets it, though. She thinks we’re actually worth pursuing, and blogs here about how incredibly short-sighted it is for businesses to ignore our demographic.
My take? As an older person, I remember going to buy a car and the dealer ignoring me unless the conversation turned to colors. That certainly changed, and this will, too. In the meantime, look for age-responsive advertisers, and talk it up when you find a business that’s smart enough to respect us. Ultimately, businesses will notice.
Boomers aren’t the only age group worrying about their looks. According to Dr. Vivian Diller, Ph.D., in this post, young women are feeling more pressure than ever to look beautiful at all times. She says that Gen X and Y believe “…pampering and primping does not betray their feminine beliefs. They believe it’s their right to do both and in fact, it’s the expectation to do so that is their own struggle…women in their 20s and 30s say that there is no down time when it comes to looking good. They feel compelled to appear fashionable at work, at play, at the gym, even going to bed at night.”
Dr. V goes on to say that young women are feeling a great deal of pressure: “No more sweats and t-shirt to relax in. There’s Victoria’s Secret to wear under the Nike or Adidas workout clothes. Sexy skirts with designer shirts have replaced the practical pants suit for every day work. Even that ‘I don’t care’ fashion while out partying is a carefully put-together look that takes hours to create.”
Have our daughters become entrapped, or is Dr. V mistaken? I started asking. My hairdresser, who is 28, says she personally doesn’t feel that way but all her friends do. A couple of my followup questions:
- Are your friends single? (I was thinking that this compulsion made more sense if they were looking for a husband.) She said they’re all married.
- Do their husbands expect it? She said no, but she thought it was partly about competing with their friends and other women their age, generally, and also what they’re “force-fed” in the media.
This is troubling and frankly fascinating to me. I hope it’s not true. What do you think? In the weeks ahead I’m going to be looking for data one way or another. I’ll let you know what I find out. Let’s hope Dr. V is exaggerating.
My husband and I used to subscribe to our local paper, until our house was broken into on the first night after we ordered a vacation stop. (The paper carrier was later indicted for other thefts in the neighborhood). We bought a second laptop and now we sit together every morning reading our computers.
We can read whatever paper we want, for free. USAToday, our local, LATimes, NYTimes, anything on the planet. Free.
Also, while we’re reading, we can follow other links (if we read a compelling book review, we can click over to Amazon and order the book, then go back to the “paper”. If you read that a hurricane is raging, you can click on the video and watch it happen.)
But there’s a downside. While we’re viewing this for free, somebody is working to create these stories. That reporter must be paid. Any ideas? Because I feel kind of guilty. What do you think?
Recently I was arguing with Patricia Handschiegel about her column at the Huffington Post where she asserts that women have made huge progress in the work world, and the proof of it is that women today aren’t afraid to be feminine in the workplace. I argued that primal issues like power, equal pay for equal work, and visibility in the C-suite (CEO, CFO, CBO, etc) sort of crush femininity as an issue. Also, I kept my mouth shut about her subtext that younger people are so much more advanced now, and that if only those earlier women had done X and Y, they would have been better treated. (Poor stupid old women!)
And yet, vindication! Today I was gratified to see this article by Chrystia Freeland: Why Aren’t There More Women at Capitalism’s Heights? Freeland, who is the global editor at large for Thomson Reuters, agrees with me, although maybe gratified isn’t the word. More like depressed.