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Let's Talk About What Women Wear

01/01/2017 19:20
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Normally, I'd never dare broach this subject. Women can wear what they want to wear, and that's literally none of my business.

But recently I came across a Little Mix interview on The One Show where they were questioned about their choice of attire when they performed 'Shout Out to My Ex' on The X Factor. Specifically, what their Mums thought of their outfits, and if they had chosen the outfits themselves. The answer was of course that it was them who had chosen to wear them, and their Mums are perfectly happy with that.

This should be a good enough answer for everyone, but it's not. People will continue to say pretty much anything about the clothes a woman puts on her body - under the opinion that it is there to be commented on - and it's not just young women like Little Mix dressing in leotards. It's Miley Cyrus with tassles on her nipples and it's Nicki Minaj wearing something see through and Amber Rose with her (fantastic) boobs out, or apparently any Muslim women wearing a hijab. It seems to become public property to discuss how women dress, enough to bring it up on something like The One Show.

Yes, it's a change from how people saw them on The X Factor five years ago, but that's because it was five years ago and they've changed. Regardless of age though, people always feel like they have the right to comment on female bodies and what is put on them, from a young age until - well, it never really stops.

I'm going to briefly take you into the mind process of a woman who's in her early twenties (hola) and who has moved from being pretty damn insecure with her body to being pretty damn confident. If you're struggling to picture it, think of literally any woman you know, because I promise you, we've all been through it. When you're a young girl people comment on your size and your body, from friends to family friends to parents or complete strangers, and it's very rarely positive. There's always something, whether it's being too skinny or too large, or your boobs not being right. Just put yourself in that mind-set for a moment: people always commenting about how 'hopefully she'll grow into it' or 'it's just puppy fat.' Everyone has something to say, and it's not exactly a confidence boost.

Then, you grow up. Your sense of self starts to develop, who you are begins to come through, and that is represented in the way you dress, the way you style your hair. Think of Miley Cyrus - who's closest to me in age and ethnicity and general outlook on life so the person I feel most qualified to speak about - she's loud and colourful, and wants the world to be a better place, so she dresses accordingly, with glitter and smiley faces and bold outfits. You may not like it, but that's how she wants to portray herself, so you should be cool with that.

Despite this, a woman clearly very confident in the decisions that she's making, Cyrus is still criticised for what she's wearing. As we get older we all hear it - we may even say it about women we pass in the street, asking 'why is she wearing that?' The answer to that question is really bloody obvious: because she wants to. Again, that should be the end of the discussion. But it's still not, so here's the important thing to remember: if someone feels uncomfortable with what a woman is wearing, it is they who need to change their perceptions, not the woman wearing the clothes she is comfortable in.

It's not ok to say 'she'd look so much nicer if she'd just...' That is an individual's perception. Just because someone would personally never wear something that revealing or never wear something that shade of yellow, doesn't mean they shouldn't.

So if your comfort zone is ever at odds with a woman's body - at all - be it watching Nicki Minaj in a music video or Little Mix at a concert, remember it's actually not your place to comment, and if you want to do something about it, educate yourself in them and their decisions behind wearing that. Learn why women wear hijabs, learn why Lady Gaga feels it's important to rock up to an awards show in a dress made of meat. And applaud them for it - build them up, because they feel damn good wearing it, and that's something we should always, always celebrate.

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