Dressing for Accolade

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What struck me the other day was talking to a friend about dressing at the work place while we discussed gender discrimination. This friend of mine happened to be a male who rather liked to voice his opinion about how it should be if we are ever to experience gender acceptance.

The topic itself is sensitive and one does not know what the primary cause is but this friend of mine judged it on appearance almost instantaneously. His idea of a remote progression towards gender equality in the workplace meant allowing for a merger to take place between male and female dress to form what we most famously call the androgynous look.

I then began to wonder how important appearance has become in today’s visual world where objectification has thus become necessary. While I do not condemn this very idea of progress and in fact was able see where my friend was coming from I do think that succeeding with merit has become a thing of the past. A lot more heartache is taken in to appearance in today’s age. Fashion magazines have in them instructions splashed out on how to dress better in order to win the attention of people at the workplace, particularly male. Personally I find that excessively confining. When we are in an era where feminism becomes part of every single woman’s identity there are contradictory  elements that restrict this very notion.

It is not to say that every woman obediently follows fashion trends and falls into a cycle of aestheticising herself, however I do believe that in order to accomplish a thriving career most women succumb to the demand of looking the part.

What my friend pointed out was rather worrying for me personally when he mentioned how in order for women to be taken seriously they will have to dress in a more manly manner. Naturally every work force is dominated by the male figure and the aim is to impress the majority of people folk at the office, yet I do not think that a female should forget her gender in order to do that. It is like saying you have to carry the persona of a man in order to do a man’s job and I find that eerily disturbing.

When I checked the definition of Feminism in the Oxford dictionary it said ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’, and if we were to adopt a manly manner this very definition would seem phony. It should not be the case that women should avoid dressing in this manner and indeed if it is what is most agreeable to them then there should be nothing to stop them doing so, however what I disagree with is being pressured into something which may even change their identity and femininity. My sister once told me about a time when she was training to be a doctor and she was being taught by a female Consultant doctor at a hospital. This very lady would be seen pacing the corridors of the hospitals clad in a simplistic sari, a traditional clothing of the Indian Sub-Continent, and never quite changed her style of dressing for however long my sister interacted with her. Though she had been in England for more than half of her life, had a married an Englishman and proved to become one of the most successful doctors in England, she chose to dress in what she was most comfortable with, without the need to change in order to appeal to others. I think this story is in itself so very telling about the nature of how intelligent a person can be without the guise of dressing for approbation.

In the end it just makes me wonder how both male and female are on an equal footing in terms of intelligence, and it is a matter of putting in the hard work to get where you want rather than relying on appearance which may give momentary triumph but in the longer run it can bring a lot of stress, not only because you have to prove in terms of skill, but also in terms of the physical exhibition.

10 Fondest Memories of 2013

  1. Spending the best part of the year in one of my favourite countries; Italy where I learnt to live aspects of life I would never imagine I could. This memory is marked in my heart and I am looking forward to tell my kids about my experience.
  2. Getting engaged to the love of my life and my best friend. I don’t know how cheesy or cliched it could get, but I never stop to say how improved I am as a person since his presence in my life. Thank you.
  3. Chattering away with my sister on a two hour Eurostar Train to Paris for a mini holiday we were going to spend together. It was after a long time I got to spend quality time with her and it was one of those moments where you are just content to have such amazing family around you to share thoughts, to say what you haven’t said for a while and to come closer.
  4. Having a beautiful kitchen made at my parents home where I live where we spend most of our time relaxing and gossiping. Food is what makes the world go round!
  5.  Meeting a friend who became my closest and most cherished person in my life. She is my confidante and my shoulder to cry on when needed. Here’s to friends who never leave your side in times of happiness and sadness.
  6. Having a day of realisation where I felt I was buying things haphazardly without considering how much of a waste it is. Thus it became my new year mission that I would use up what I had already bought and continue like that. I can safely say it is the most liberating feeling to not be in a rat race of fashion. I am comfortable with what I already have and to have an excess of things is idiocy.
  7. Finding a hobby in art and design where I even designed a part of my room myself through an idea that struck me one day. Little did I know it was already a fad in the design industry, that being patchwork design.
  8. Also finding a love and interest in Photography which I never thought I could. I began to take amateur photos from my mobile and they were appreciated. Taking photos is a soothing pass time for me and I thoroughly enjoy it.
  9. Attending the Easter Chocolate Market with my Mum in Siena. It was a day of extreme chocolate and extreme fun. My mother and I ate chocolate from practically every stall there was in the Piazza del Campo at the heart of the city. The highlight of the day was my mum revealing a banana she had brought with her from her bag that she wanted to dip in the chocolate fondue. We had come to this market the day before she she had come prepared.
  10. Attending the Christmas Market in Manchester where I had the most delicious hot chocolate and waffles. At the same time I felt a little sad at how we would have to wait another year before these Christmas Markets would come back. There is another kind of delight about Christmas Markets, and everything seems nicer than normal.

Can you tell me what your fondest memories were of 2013?