Pet PeevesUgh, Why Is She Dressed Like That?Jennifer Still

If you’ve ever hated what you see when looking in the mirror; if you’ve ever deprived yourself of food or almost passed out from working too hard at the gym in order to burn that 100 extra calories; if you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “Ugh, she shouldn’t be eating that,” or “That outfit is a little slutty” when looking at another woman; if you’ve ever insisted that you’ll commit suicide once you turn 40: this article is for you.

Ladies, something’s gotta give. The judgments of ourselves and other women about age, weight, looks, clothes, etc has got to stop. We are wasting our time and relinquishing our inherent power to a system dictated the hive mind of a faceless “society” and followed nearly blindly by so many of us. Seriously.

Mind you, I’m guilty of it myself. Open any magazine and you’ll receive a message loud and clear about exactly what constitutes a valuable woman: 110 lbs, perfect skin, teeth and hair, roughly between the ages of 21-26. It doesn’t matter if you speak four languages or could talk for hours about binomial nomenclature. No one’s interested that you have more books than pairs of shoes or that you were the only girl who fought to play on your high school’s football team. No, as far as the world is concerned, you exist to look good in order to be good to look at. Or at least, that’s what they’d have you believe.

This is nothing new, of course. The media has been responsible for narrowing the view of the ideal woman and forcing it down our throats for decades. But ladies – we’re not doing anything to help ourselves. We try to overcome it or ignore it, but we inevitably succomb to it, in one way or another. We judge ourselves and because of it, we slowly begin to judge one another. We’ve all given another woman a side-eye over a skirt that’s too short, or make-up applied too thick, or that extra french fry eaten by a girl who is not a size 0. Even if we catch ourselves, it happens. And that’s really, really sad.

When we subscribe to the societal doctrine that we, as women, exist to fit in a box as these shiny, pretty things to look good (generally on a man’s arm, but that’s a whole other thing), we continue to validate those very ideals that we should be fighting against and reshaping. In addition, we encourage each other as women to continue to validate those ideals. The girls you’re judging for wearing too much make-up or dresses that are too tight is probably doing so in the vain attempt to escape that very judgment. It’s a vicious circle, but one that can ultimately be stopped.

I’m going to say something revolutionary: You are not your age, your weight, your hair, your skin or your clothes. You are not your favourite magazine’s opinion of you, you’re not what your ex-boyfriend thought of you or what your current boyfriend thinks you should be. You aren’t any of that. It’s that simple. Really.

So, what are you, then? That’s for you to decide. Learn to value the things in yourself and others that people would have you believe aren’t worthwhile. Insecure about your weight? Appreciate that you have the curves to wear outfits that some thinner girls might envy you for. Extremely thin? You look great in designer clothes! There’s no one right way to look, no one right body to have or way to style your hair. Frankly, it’d be pretty boring to live in such a homogenous world, so play up the things which make you unique and own them!

Insecure about getting older? Be proud of the fact that you have the life experience to have a better understanding of the world around you and wisdom to offer those who are younger than you. No one looks up to dumb ass 21-year-olds, do they? (I say this as a “dumb-ass” 20-something myself, and mean it in the most light-hearted way possible.) The most inspiring and interesting women I’ve ever met have been over 35, proud of the years behind them but excited about the ones ahead, as well, which they can approach with the grace and contentedness that I find to be beautiful.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jillkushner Jill Kushner

    Love it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6802246 Jasmine Johnson

    i agree! so well said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephaniefrady Stephanie Frady

    I really want to print this out and leave it everywhere!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lorehorrible Lorehorrible Ciora

    WORD.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kcostantini Katherine Costantini

    100% awesome! I totally agree and I have thoughts like these but I try to check myself (before I wreck myself). Is it because I’m feeling insecure? Why exactly do I care what that stranger is eating/doing/wearing? Sometimes I’m insecure, sometimes I’m nosy, sometimes I’m jealous, sometimes I don’t know. Since I started thinking about why I’m suddenly getting so judge-y, I’ve cut down on the cattiness in my life and honestly, feel a lot better about myself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.dobben Anna Dobben

    I love this!! I think women also need to stop “Fat Talking” when one says “Oh, I feel so fat” or “Oh, I need to lose these last five pounds.” Let’s embrace ourselves for who we are!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=591670887 Jules ‘Ilikeanani Kd

    Really glad to finally see something on this site that accepts the way other women want to dress and behave. Lately I’ve seen a lot of shaming in the articles on this site, and it was making me sad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1667107039 Terry Croteau

    I celebrate that I am perfectly imperfect that we are all perfectly imperfect…which by MY standard makes us ALL just plain perfect!
    Celebrate how different we all are! Amen!

  • http://www.facebook.com/juliagazdag Julia Gazdag

    YES. SPOT ON. I don’t understand why so many women spend time and thought on arbitrary things like a few lbs or an aesthetic decision when those are just accents to the people we really are. It doesn’t matter if I wear a skirt that makes my butt look slightly larger — no one is going to love me more or less because I look a bit different one way or another. No one wants to date a woman for their looks alone, and if they do, RUN GIRLFRIEND, RUN!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=18900644 Ramou Sarr

    Oh Miss Jennifer, I love you for this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553690152 Madison Zraick

    Everyone Should Read This!

  • http://www.facebook.com/alivetolive Chelsea Charli Henderson

    Woohoo!!!!!!!! Excellent Article. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1293427074 Jenny Garcia

    Annie Stamell could take note of this article before she wrote “An open letter to girls who dress up for the gym.” Apparently to her you should look like you just crawled out of bed to be at the gym, otherwise you are some sort of hussy who should be hated on for, God forbid, taking pride in how you look! Beware if you wear cute gym clothes and have some makeup on!! Oh the horrors!! It might make the non-makeup wearing dumpster diving clothes wearing girls like Annie feel so insecure she has to write an entire passive aggressive article on it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kcostantini Katherine Costantini

      To be honest, there’s more than one Hello Giggler that could take note (I’m looking at you, Hello Giggler who wrote a post about Christina Hendricks’ breasts!)

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisrmiller Elisabeth Miller

      Honestly, I found this comment to be pretty judgmental, as well. “Dumpster diving clothes wearing?” That’s the type of negative attitude this post is talking about. Also “taking pride in how you look” is not a bad thing, but some people don’t care how they look and that’s ALSO not a bad thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1452052193 Ashley Rossi

    This article should be on every billboard for women and men to see. Men need to get over themselves and the views they hold!!! Well Said, could not have said it any better myself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=609308240 Alexandra Anderson Conrad

    Yes, yes, and yes!!!! Getting older is awesome by the way. Getting older is realizing just how truly perfect you are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612295965 Jen Myers-Carlson

    Can I get an AAAAAMEN!? The I Am That Girl movement is something you should check out, if you haven’t already. You would be an incredible addition.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=885610421 Eliza Hurwitz

    I love this! Absolutely perfect.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liz.haebe Liz Haebe

    This is fantastic! We need to start loving ourselves and each other! Women need to stick together, and not keep tearing each other down!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisrmiller Elisabeth Miller

    I LOVE this. It is hard to live in a society where women are primarily judged by how they look and whether or not they’re dating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathleenrheag Kathleen Rhea Galeos

    I. Love. This. Post. So. MUCH!
    It is sad, to come to the realization that most women dress for other’s instead of ones’ self. We should all be blessed to be who we are no matter what other’s judge us for. I’ve come to love my shortness (after what seems like FOREVER!) and that’s come to be a big part of my personality.

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