Alyse Kaminski | Staff Columnist
We are all familiar with the first question that reporters ask women upon stepping on the red carpet: “Before we get to the work you’ve done…who are you wearing tonight?”
“She dresses like a secretary,” some said about Elizabeth Warren.
“He looks so attractive!” girls say, when Adam Levine throws on anything at all.
What’s the difference between the first two comments and the third? The fact that men escape with the bare minimum when it comes to fashion, while women have to achieve high standards. We’ve all heard it before.
Think about all of the times someone like Ed Sheeran got on stage in a graphic tee or plaid shirt with a pair of jeans. No one thinks anything of it. “He’s just a simple guy,” they say. But what if Taylor Swift decided on dressing down for a show? People would combust. There would be so many headlines speculating why Swift did not wear her usual sparkling outfits. Is she sick? Does she not care anymore? Is she making a social statement?
Maybe she just wanted to be comfortable for once?
There has always been a double standard when it comes to fashion between men and women. Whether it’s a woman in politics or a woman in popular culture, the public expects more from females than males.
Simply put, I find this to be puzzling. Fashion is a method of self-expression. I personally love expressing my emotions through clothing. If you see me on campus wearing sweatpants and an old hoodie with my bright yellow Crocs, you can probably guess that I am having a rough day. I probably woke up late and just want to crawl back into bed and cuddle with my cat, and I am communicating that through my outfit.
Why does it matter what gender I am? If I want to dress down 9 times out of 10, it shouldn’t be held against me because I am a girl. Most of the men on campus dress the same way, but no one ever thinks anything of it.
I remember in high school being a little bit judgmental about the girls who never dressed up for school. But when a boy wore the same outfit everyday, I still found them attractive, or I didn’t think they were weird for it, at least.
Women do not deserve to have to worry about their appearance or fashion choices on such a large scale. Don’t you think we have enough to be worried about? We have a patriarchy to dismantle.
Thinking back to the 2016 election, it’s so strange how everyone talked about Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits. No one talked about Donald Trump’s fashion choices, or any other male candidate’s. Flash forward to this election and I repeatedly heard people saying that Senator Warren dresses like a secretary. No one even thinks to comment about the lack of originality in Trump’s or Biden’s outfits.
My senior year of high school I had to come in wearing a pantsuit for an interview. Everyone told me I looked like Hillary Clinton and they snickered. What did you want me to wear? I was interviewing to become the school’s representative on the Ross Township Board of Commissioners. I wanted to look the part! I got the position, by the way. Thanks, pantsuit.
Fashion is a social construct. There’s no laws that dictate who can wear what. I mean, there are dress codes for certain places, but when it comes to whether or not something looks good, or if a boy dresses like a real man… Why do we care so much? What is the point?
Who is happy in a culture where things as mundane as the way we dress is so scrutinized for anyone who identifies as a woman? There is no need to waste energy on this.
If men and the media stop overanalyzing how women dress, we could focus our time and resources on issues that really matter involving gender. Women would be more respected for their intellect rather than their clothes.