Anyone who knows me knows that I am probably the least materialistic person you’ll ever meet. I suppose after going through so many life-altering changes in a fairly short period, I just do not usually see the need for frivolous things. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my creature comforts as much as the next person but all in moderation, as they say.
That being said, one of the biggest struggles that I have had to face on a constant basis is that of finding clothing that fits my bizarre, crooked, short body while still looking fairly “normal” in whatever role I am performing at the time. Clothing is about so much more than the garment itself, it’s about the image we portray and how we feel when we wear them. At no time is that struggle more painfully obvious than when I shop for business attire, where EVERYTHING must be SO altered that it is almost a new garment by the time I am finished. Now I know many people will say, “everyone struggles to find good clothes” or “don’t we all have that problem?” and I know it is, indeed, sadly a world geared toward the “ideal, perfect body,” an image of tall, slender women with nice curves and few flaws (of which most women will find many in themselves), but that is not what I mean here. I am talking about a much larger scale difficulty and image problem that comes from having to buy all your clothing in the children’s department or, if you’re really lucky, the juniors’ department. A lifetime of this makes you start to feel small, unimportant, often unnecessary.
Did you know that they don’t make business suits for 10-year-olds? Doesn’t any clothing manufacturer realize that I’d like to just ONCE purchase things off the rack that do not have to be COMPLETELY remade, (though I do not mind taking things to be hemmed, etc.) or that I’d love to find a way not to get tears and marks from my wheelchair on my new skirt or that I’d really like to go to my next meeting not clad in patent-leather butterflies buckled to my feet? Most of what we all suffer from is not so much a self-image problem but one of how others see us. Now, I am not one to put blame on others first without asking how I can be a part of the solution. Perhaps it begins with each of us showing the world (advertising, marketing, clothing makers, and even each other) what we find beautiful is NOT only what they have showed us for all these years. Let’s work together to change the definition of beauty. That’s why I was so very excited to read this article and see this video clip of a company in Europe, and why, among many other reasons, it made me tear up to watch these beautiful, successful men and women:
As for the “perfect woman” image, don’t even get me started with that…