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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  • Yvette Cuellar-Rosas

    Totally agree with everything in this post, we need to stop attacking each other as women and appreciate each other for our own individual beauty.

    Another thing not mentioned is that sometimes we do eat that extra french fry or eat chocolate instead of salad but we are still skinny, please do not think that because we are skinny but still eat these foods we are going to throw it up the minute you are not looking. This is not the case, all of our bodies are different and react differently! :)

  • Miranda Partridge

    Well said!

  • Stephanie Grant

    Great article! I think the message may be getting a little muddled in the comments. I don’t think it’s meant to encourage people to not be healthy, to not take care of themselves, etc.. I read this article and left with the main point of “be happy being you, and be happy that others can be themselves too!”. As women we often get bogged down by what’s “right” without ever looking at “what’s right for me” and realizing that it might not be “right” for someone else.

  • Liz Andreakos

    I love this. And need to bookmark this and read it often.

  • Apocalypstick

    You make me feel like I’m living a teenage dream.

  • Erin Reidy

    to post a comment

  • Vicki Hyland Newton

    Hear, hear!!!!!! This is wonderful, just abso-freakin-lutely wonderful! This is just the sort of thing we need to be reminded of – and often at that. I made this decision for myself earlier this year- I would do my darndest to STOP all the judgements. Of myself, my family, my friends, and perfect strangers. It is LIBERATING. It is like forgiveness- the true beneficiary is yourself. Thank you for this fabulous article. Just thank you.

  • Erin Joan Snyder

    Beautifully said!

  • Christina Boucher

    Jennifer Still 2012!!

  • Maren Guckelsberger

    Great article! Love it >3

  • Melissa Jaquez

    I don’t get why people are nitpicking this article and bringing up an article about impractical gym outfits, which actually could be unsafe if you’re wearing the wrong footwear for the exercise you’re doing. I can accept everything except for not caring about whether or not my skin is clear. It’s frustrating when you spend months with constant breakouts, even if it’s not severe acne. I don’t let magazines tell me how to feel about anything. I don’t actually like super photoshopped pictures of people and only care about losing some weight because I do have extra I could stand to lose and I want to avoid possible health issues in the future. And in my case I don’t dress for men but I don’t dress for other women either. I just please myself outfit wise which I think is what everyone should do. Cattiness is something that I wish would just go away forever. Some women seek out the most petty reasons to say they hate other women.

  • Camelia Rodriguez


  • Marissa A. Ross

    Love this, love you. Thank you for this Jenn.

  • Kaliane Moloch

    This! All this judging people purely by what they look like has gone too far. I get that humans are visual creatures, but for the love of DNA let’s keep that in context. There are things far more important than how you look!

  • Heather Sullivan

    Great way to start the day! Feeling good about myself and the people around me

  • Katherine Gregor

    The media lie when they say “beautiful,” for the most part, what they consider beautiful is BORING. A toast to freckles, dimples, puppy fat, pale skin, beauty marks, and crows’ feet–they make you not only beautiful, but memorable.

  • Gloria S. Santos

    Great article, someone had to say it! I remember something that happened to me once, with a new coworker. I’m 132lbs-65in, so I don’t see myself as a fat person (neither a model!) and I was eating a small donut. This girl looked at me and said: oh, good they sell these small donuts here, so at least you won’t feel guilty when eating them! I was atonished, and answered: Why should I feel guilty? For having a donut with my coffee? Are we all crazy or what? I felt sorry for this girl, which the first thing she can think of when seeing someone eating a donut is guilt… so yes! we have to convince ourselves that we are much more than a body and a cute face, not just say it, but believe it!

  • Sydney Baird Childers

    YES! However, we are still a nation of extreme obesity and need to take better care of ourselves- not to impress others, but to increase our quality of life and prolong our lives. Love the body God gave you, but love yourself enough to care for that body, too.

    • Virginia Everett Davidson

      Right, Sydney. It’s not a one-dimensional issue: it’s not only just about judgmentalism, it’s about health and quality of life. Yes, I do have 5 pounds I’d like to shed!–not so much because I’d look better as that I’d feel so much better. And as for dressing like a slut, my question is, Why advertise if you’re not for sale?!!

  • Sayla Mandy Friske

    You lost me at “Dumb ass 21 years olds”. That’s not very respectful. I’m 25 and some of my dearest, wisest, most empathetic and compassionate friends are 21.

    • Chadáe Frank

      it’s cute that you think that your 21 year old friends are the wisest etc etc etc. I am the same age as you and I good lord I thought I was invincible when I was 21…then I turned 22…and 23…and 24…and man I am dumb. I have come to recognize the teachings of my elders and to respect them. Yeah 21 year olds are great I suppose but they’re kids…been there done that they have alot to learn and so do you. NOT saying your friends aren’t amazingly smart and insightful because I am sure they are. I work with girls that age and they shock me sometimes, but then other times I am glad I have grown past that and am myself getting wiser. This article is great and I am glad you didn’t stop with the whole ‘young dumbass’ comment cuz I mean come on 21 year olds (sorry guys) are dumb BUT so are 25 year olds and 30 and 40 etc we all learn from our elders whether we like it or not. I know I have! Just, think about it <3

    • Putri Julia Daskian

      For a moment I was lost too, but I think she meant it light-heartedly, like yes some of us might be wiser than the oldest people we’ve met (I’m also in my early twenties) but there are obviously decades and a whole world to learn in front of us.

  • Giuline Vitória Bastos

    Thanks Jenn for the text! Unfortunately, the worst enemy of women are other women. :)

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