Image – Part 1: Wear it, Work It, and Still Make it!

Posted: May 22, 2015 in Awake
Tags: , , ,
People will stare.  Make it worth their while!

People will stare.
Make it worth their while!

Many people get caught up on image and in the discussion about what’s an appropriate image to put forth. Interestingly, I’ve been battling this for years and now that I’m older, I still get questions, have discussions, albeit short ones because of having less patience, and because I think, or rather hope, views and opinions on the topic are shifting. However, as I say that, I realize that in many ways, the opinion on image, in this case, of a person – skin, hair, clothing, walk, manner of speech, etc. – is not shifting in a positive way. Thanks to trolls and a-holes on social media, for example, some of the opinions about other people’s and even some self-image thoughts are negative and downright horrible. But such is life and mean people are everywhere so I won’t give any more credit to them and move on.

So what do you think? Does image matter? If so, why? If not, why not?

I think that image matters but to specific groups in various ways. What does that mean?

For marginalized or groups discriminated against: Image matters to them (maybe more?) because many in that group may feel as if they should portray the perfect image of success, or mimic the style of those belonging to the majority group or those in a position of power, to avoid being marginalized. I don’t think this eliminates the discrimination. But I think it covers it up on most days. Of course this image matching business isn’t always a conscious act. It may be something as simple as following the instructions that many of us repeatedly heard under the label of, “dress for success”. These seemingly safe things may include shaving daily, not having locs, natural hair, not having certain hairstyles if you’re a man or certain styles if you’re a woman, wearing skirts and high heels to be professional, etc.

See anything wrong with these suggestions? If not, let me elaborate.

Not all men can shave on a daily basis. Some need a beard to avoid having skin issues due to the type of facial hair grown. Also, not all religions encourage you to shave the hair off your body. Also, having and loving the hair that grows out of your head which is attached to that body you spend so much time on and in, is never a bad thing. Some may choose to apply relaxers, and color and all types of chemicals to change its appearance but if that’s not what someone is comfortable with, then it should not be encouraged. Oh, and don’t think I’m only talking about minorities. Some of you, my white friends and foes, know y’all have issues too. Sadly, too often, many assume that when I say “natural” in relation to hair types, I’m only addressing minorities. Hey, don’t look at me, you know white girls and boys get stuff done too. And yes, they too should love whatever it is that grows naturally out of their heads!

Lastly, the skirt and heels thing. Again, if that’s really your choice of clothing, wear it. Rock it like the sexy person that you are! But if it’s not, don’t go around telling those who prefer a different shoe style or trousers, that as a woman, you won’t succeed in life. That’s hogwash. Not to mention that many women have some seriously detrimental foot and leg issues from years of wearing high heels that any podiatrist will tell you is not healthy. You can be presentable and respectable in any type of clothing. Well, except maybe in a g-string on a stripper pole. But that’s a different act for a different fun-day.

Clothing, style, and attitude is what you make it. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that talented individuals who contribute positively to society cannot be unique and still succeed. Be yourself. Do you have to be clean, presentable or professional, and (should) have proper hygiene in your workplace? Of course. Do you have to dress out of your comfort zone or spend all of your disposable income to portray a certain image? No. Brooks Brothers makes money off your back. Literally.

Kalu Rinpoche

  1. lightwalker1 says:

    Your comments ring so true. Image is not the only place where people are compared to others. I do a lot of volunteering and many gripe that others are not doing as much as they feel they should or not giving as much etc. Again many people have different lives and circumstances and cannot do the same as others. Everyone dresses they way their are able and give as much as they are able. In love and light Cheryle

    • Ms “On Point” Cheryle, you are so right! There is often a stigma associated with, and assumptions made about what we cover our bodies with, what we give away, etc., with less attention being paid to what is in our hearts and mind.

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