Is much/all of what we believe a product of hand me down ideas? I'm going to use a shallow example to explain why I ask this.
What do you think about dress code at work? Do you believe there should be a dress code? Do you believe it should be followed strictly or have some allowances? Is workplace casual okay for everyday or just Friday? Some of the usual less casual dress code items include: no jeans, no 5 pocket colored pants, no tank tops, no flip flops, no tee shirts, no hooded jackets, skirt lengths have limits and no tattoos or body piercings. Some places also restrict facial hair.
Ask yourself, if you work in an office, if you believe this to be proper office dress code or do you believe it should be the guidelines for proper office dress code? Now I want you to flip over to this blog and scan down a few pages of the posts. This blog, The Sartorialist, is made up of photo after photo of people dressing in very individual ways. A great deal of it is very androgynous. The men at times appear to be wearing items that were probably purchased in the women's department and at times it appears that the women or dressed in attire that was probably purchased from the men's department. As you look at all these photos try to suspend your belief about what is appropriate. Actually look at each person and think about if you think what they are wearing is flattering to them. Don't think about rules or about how you'd do it, just think about if the look is attractive. If you are honest I know you will see people who look amazing wearing things you'd never wear or wearing things you'd like to wear but would be afraid of leaving the house in.
Another question for you. Why do you believe that you have to dress a certain way and why do you believe in appropriate and inappropriate? The answer is that someone taught you that.
I have worked with so many people (most all of them) who believe that there is only one appropriate way to dress despite how much our world has changed over the decades of our lives. When someone taught them what was appropriate years ago they never let go of that even though there is evidence all around us that shows allowing people to both dress casually and show their individuality makes them happier and more productive in the workplace. Also, even though it was years ago and not as relevant now, these people hold to these ideas simply because they believe them and never push themselves to expand to include new ideas. They are stuck in time. They are stuck in belief.
Now let's leave the office and just talk about how you feel about clothes in general. When you looked at those photos of people and the androgyny in some, are you able to allow these looks without judgement or does it make you uncomfortable?
What I hope to give you with this post is a curiosity. I hope it will make you examine how you approach the world and not just with regard to dress but to life in general. Are you stuck, are you closed off and are you unable to allow others to have an identity that is different from how you have been taught? Let this one example be your wake up to be more accepting, open and more able to embrace the individuality of others. Don't be closed off to time and advancement. Though you may want to stay the same you can allow others that window to move with the times in a meaningful way. If you stay where you are but allow others to move and embrace change, that will be enough to make the world a better place. People are not robots and should not be treated as such.