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The Politics of looking sloppy

 
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beautiful-stranger View Drop Down
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    Posted: Dec 18 2013 at 8:31am
I am reunited with my laptop after a weekend spent at Touba Diallo. More on that later. For right now, I would like to ponder over a discussion that I had with my mother. In short, she told me that she felt that I did not put put in enough effort into my appearance.The changes she suggested? Brighter colors, more ornamentation, and styled hair.

I replied, in a rare moment of saying exactly what's on my mind,with this rare gem: "If I was thin and white, would you feel I needed to make these changes?"

If you think of a stylish white woman , especially when she is thin, minimal ornamentation and neutral colors and "effortless" hair can be considered part of her coolness.transpose the lack of ornamentation, neutral beiges and greys, and understyled hair on a fat woman or even a fat woman of color and I bet your bottom dollar that many would find her appearance lacking, "sloppy" even. I find this outrageously unfair because if you have read any fashion magazine since the mid-nineties, there has been a place for minimalism and understyling. Is this place only for thin, white, girls? I surely don't think so!I think that anyone can look good with a pared-down style if they want to dress that way. I feel like the coolest girl in the world when I'm wearing neutral colors, barely any makeup, and slightly messy hair. I feel like Patti Smith.I definitely don't feel sloppy.

Among African Americans, there is this pressure to look good all the time.A black woman walking around with unstyled or badly-styled hair will get a fair amount of side-eye from other black women more than any white person in their life.This goes way back to when African Americans were encouraged to maintain a well-styled appearance in order to show that they were worthy of the respect they were demanding. I feel that the game has changed, where looking unstyled is the new cool "thing" among fashionable people.The closest way that African American women have been playing with the new rules is with Natural Hair Movement...to an extent. It seems that the only acceptable way to wear your natural hair is when it's styled in some way. There are as many tips for defining curls or styling natural hair than there are for doing anything with relaxed hair.

There is a sort of pressure to look fancy when you are fat as well. Big Prints and huge jewelry are the few things that bigger girls can pull off more than thinner girls...or at least we're told that. It is hard to find clothing without embellishment above a size 18.A simple sheath dress or tshirt is a treasure hunt (Hint: Gap's XXL fits much larger sizes, and their "favorite" brand has very simple cuts and colors). Trendy "Harem" pants? You can find ten of them in different stores and sizes. It's, once again, making only one mode of existence acknowledged in a world full of diversity.It's great that fat people are allowed to dress just as fancy as thinner people, but there are some sorely ignored styles.

Being fat and black, I have to deal with the politics of both aspects of my life. If there is no judgement for the color of my skin, there is judgement for the size of my body. Sometimes I am judged for the combination of both characteristics.having both identities and both types of judgement to deal with, it can get overhwhelming. Why can't I just go out with jeans and a T shirt with my hair in a simple messy bun? When a thin, white person is done up the same way, they are considered effortlessly fashionable.Why is it that when I dress the same way, it's because I didn't put in enough effort?When you change around the words, they mean the same thing, but in different sizes and colors.

My mother was surprised by my answer, because it never occurred to her that my appearance was a form of rebellion. Just like the Afro she sported when she was in college, there is a kind of subversive nature to looking less than "unkempt" in the cultural eye. Her mother, my grandmother, had looked upon her daughter's afro with confusion and concern. It wasn't styled, it wasn't ornamented. Her afro was just a magnificent sphere of her own hair. Because of that unadorned hairstyle, there came a way for African American women to express themselves beyond what society felt more comfortable with.My mother can now understand where I'm coming from when I don't dress up.She's struggling with accepting it, but I feel that the dialog has begun.

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jonesable View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote jonesable Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 18 2013 at 8:34am
Omg I hate when blacks girls try to go for that messy white girl hair look.
Nooooooooooooooooo


There are multiple ways to dress for your body type.
I do believe in that.

She could look good with where she is if she wants.

Why she crying about not getting to look like a hot white mess?

Edited by jonesable - Dec 18 2013 at 8:36am
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I understand the style she is trying to pull off and I get the frustration because I've tried and failed. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (12) Thanks(12)   Quote trudawg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 18 2013 at 8:47am
I see raggedy looking skinny YT chicks who look hideous and I've seen larger women of color looking sharp as a tack. Personally, I don't care what size, shape, or color someone is. Taking pride in ones appearance is fundamental. It pains me to see people out in public looking slovenly. I don't dress and maintain a clean-cut look for anyone else by myself. Taking pride in how you present yourself has nothing to do with accessories or color hues.
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Well it's always good to be thin.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote nekamarie83 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 18 2013 at 9:02am
This is an interesting perspective.

It really is/was drilled into me to not look "a mess" or "sloppy". I get where it comes from though. My mom and grandma didn't want to give one more reason for us as black kids to be judged or live down to people's expectations.

I'm not a fan of the look, but if she wants to look slovenly like white women, more power to her.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Printer_Ink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 18 2013 at 9:21am
Originally posted by beautiful-stranger beautiful-stranger wrote:

<span style=": rgb245, 245, 245; color: rgb34, 34, 34; font-family: Georgia, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.6;">I am reunited with my laptop after a weekend spent at Touba Diallo. More on that later. For right now, I would like to ponder over a discussion that I had with my mother. In short, she told me that she felt that I did not put put in enough effort into my appearance.The changes she suggested? Brighter colors, more ornamentation, and styled hair.</span><p -textannotation-id="51be91456c085e9214fab658adc314f6" style="-sizing: border-; margin: 0px 0px 19px; padding: 0px 18px; font-size: 15px; direction: ltr; font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: 1.6; max-width: 100%; word-break: break-word; color: rgb34, 34, 34; : rgb245, 245, 245;">I replied, in a rare moment of saying exactly what's on my mind,with this rare gem: "If I was thin and white, would you feel I needed to make these changes?"

<p -textannotation-id="6dfc7091a27def6b9695fb14afdb8ba9" style="-sizing: border-; margin: 0px 0px 19px; padding: 0px 18px; font-size: 15px; direction: ltr; font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: 1.6; max-width: 100%; word-break: break-word; color: rgb34, 34, 34; : rgb245, 245, 245;">If you think of a stylish white woman , especially when she is thin, minimal ornamentation and neutral colors and "effortless" hair can be considered part of her coolness.transpose the lack of ornamentation, neutral beiges and greys, and understyled hair on a fat woman or even a fat woman of color and I bet your bottom dollar that many would find her appearance lacking, "sloppy" even. I find this outrageously unfair because if you have read any fashion magazine since the mid-nineties, there has been a place for minimalism and understyling. Is this place only for thin, white, girls? I surely don't think so!I think that anyone can look good with a pared-down style if they want to dress that way. I feel like the coolest girl in the world when I'm wearing neutral colors, barely any makeup, and slightly messy hair. I feel like Patti Smith.I definitely don't feel sloppy.

<p -textannotation-id="59288e8d94a3ff70daec520e0edf58d4" style="-sizing: border-; margin: 0px 0px 19px; padding: 0px 18px; font-size: 15px; direction: ltr; font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: 1.6; max-width: 100%; word-break: break-word; color: rgb34, 34, 34; : rgb245, 245, 245;">Among African Americans, there is this pressure to look good all the time.A black woman walking around with unstyled or badly-styled hair will get a fair amount of side-eye from other black women more than any white person in their life.This goes way back to when African Americans were encouraged to maintain a well-styled appearance in order to show that they were worthy of the respect they were demanding. I feel that the game has changed, where looking unstyled is the new cool "thing" among fashionable people.The closest way that African American women have been playing with the new rules is with Natural Hair Movement...to an extent. It seems that the only acceptable way to wear your natural hair is when it's styled in some way. There are as many tips for defining curls or styling natural hair than there are for doing anything with relaxed hair.

<p -textannotation-id="6510f1ca6eb6862d5e92834c47ddeb95" style="-sizing: border-; margin: 0px 0px 19px; padding: 0px 18px; font-size: 15px; direction: ltr; font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: 1.6; max-width: 100%; word-break: break-word; color: rgb34, 34, 34; : rgb245, 245, 245;">There is a sort of pressure to look fancy when you are fat as well. Big Prints and huge jewelry are the few things that bigger girls can pull off more than thinner girls...or at least we're told that. It is hard to find clothing without embellishment above a size 18.A simple sheath dress or tshirt is a treasure hunt (Hint: Gap's XXL fits much larger sizes, and their "favorite" brand has very simple cuts and colors). Trendy "Harem" pants? You can find ten of them in different stores and sizes. It's, once again, making only one mode of existence acknowledged in a world full of diversity.It's great that fat people are allowed to dress just as fancy as thinner people, but there are some sorely ignored styles.

<p -textannotation-id="3a96391eca95a656fa46da6f4f9690b0" style="-sizing: border-; margin: 0px 0px 19px; padding: 0px 18px; font-size: 15px; direction: ltr; font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: 1.6; max-width: 100%; word-break: break-word; color: rgb34, 34, 34; : rgb245, 245, 245;">Being fat and black, I have to deal with the politics of both aspects of my life. If there is no judgement for the color of my skin, there is judgement for the size of my body. Sometimes I am judged for the combination of both characteristics.having both identities and both types of judgement to deal with, it can get overhwhelming. Why can't I just go out with jeans and a T shirt with my hair in a simple messy bun? When a thin, white person is done up the same way, they are considered effortlessly fashionable.Why is it that when I dress the same way, it's because I didn't put in enough effort?When you change around the words, they mean the same thing, but in different sizes and colors.

<p -textannotation-id="3145c5dcf788d8ab31f01e4bb23e7181" style="-sizing: border-; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 18px; font-size: 15px; direction: ltr; font-family: Georgia, serif; line-height: 1.6; max-width: 100%; word-break: break-word; color: rgb34, 34, 34; : rgb245, 245, 245;">My mother was surprised by my answer, because it never occurred to her that my appearance was a form of rebellion. Just like the Afro she sported when she was in college, there is a kind of subversive nature to looking less than "unkempt" in the cultural eye. Her mother, my grandmother, had looked upon her daughter's afro with confusion and concern. It wasn't styled, it wasn't ornamented. Her afro was just a magnificent sphere of her own hair. Because of that unadorned hairstyle, there came a way for African American women to express themselves beyond what society felt more comfortable with.My mother can now understand where I'm coming from when I don't dress up.She's struggling with accepting it, but I feel that the dialog has begun.




This has nothing to do with being thin or being White. This is about how you feel about yourself – your self-esteem is in need of any overhaul.

I find it extremely hard to believe that your mother telling you to take care of your appearance would spark such a comment about White women? What? Your mother would expect that she would be addressing a White daughter? It sounds like you have thin, White women on the brain. Stop comparing yourself to White women.

(Btw -I am probably your mother’s age and I wore an afro for 30+ years (I wear a modern version now!) But this was not political. It’s just a nice hairstyle that looks good. Why does an afro have to be political?)

No matter what color or size .. As woman you should have enough self-esteem to keep yourself looking presentable in public. If you don’t care about your appearance .. that has nothing to do with being White and thin. All women should walk with some kind of pride and dignity about themselves.

This what your mother is talking about but in your effort to avoid your weight problem … you are trying to turn it around to a White, thin girl issue. They need to pull it together too. Thay unkempt look is just a trend .. none of those girls are gonna end up in a 6 figure salary working for a fortune 500 company. This should not be a trend you would want to emulate.

The pressure you are feeling is only between your own 2 ears. If you don’t like your weight – lose it, but don’t try to use it as a weapon – to somehow rebel against society. No one is gonna ‘get’ that. They are just gonna see you as a fat slob. But thin slobs also exist – it’s just that people think they are druggies etc - not cool either.

Your commment - 'This goes way back to when African Americans were encouraged to maintain a well-styled appearance in order to show that they were worthy of the respect they were demanding.' Where did this come from? This is never a standard particular for Black women .. but it was a standard for ALL women.


Edited by Printer_Ink - Dec 18 2013 at 9:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Printer_Ink Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 18 2013 at 9:23am
dup.

Edited by Printer_Ink - Dec 18 2013 at 9:25am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (6) Thanks(6)   Quote EPITOME Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 18 2013 at 9:27am
don't look to white women as role models
black women have effortless hair too--it's called wrapping your hair and unwrapping it in the morning--that takes 3 minutes between morning and night
IA that things look better on thin people in general than bigger people
but you're thin sooo i don't get it
are you doing a hipster look?



wait--you're fat? aren't you SoFamous? isn't that your avi pic? you're quite thinConfused


Edited by EPITOME - Dec 18 2013 at 9:30am
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