Saturday, September 26, 2015

In Which A Man Approves of Me...Without My Consent

In my last post, I was very angry.  I didn't read it again until just now, and I had thought that I was super mean and horrible and broke all of my blogging rules.  I felt guilty and bad and scared and stressed and anxious about it for a few weeks or just one week? I don't remember now.  After rereading it, I realized, I did a pretty good job.  It was not that horrible at all.  I still stand by what I said.  I was not that angry at the idea of too much information on the internet, but angry at a lot of other opinions I saw that day that blamed the victim, instead doing anything to help the problem.  I was angry at the world for not agreeing with me on everything.  I mean, if everyone just thought like me and agreed with me, then this world would be a better place.  Riiiiighttt....  but don't you think the same thing about your thoughts sometimes?

But I also thought about it and came to the conclusion that there is not too much information on the internet, but that there is too many opinions.  One can never have too much information...but too many opinions on what is right or wrong, to many opinions on what the information really means, can be very overwhelming and bad.  It can also lead to groupthink, pseudoscience, and just plain lies disguised as facts.  I miss the days of Caterday and Can I Has Cheeseburger and Regretsy.  I missed the days when facebook wasn't just political opinions everywhere you turn, or a new reason to hate a company or not eat a food.  I have heard the Facebook is a good way to get across your message, but...I think one has to be very lucky and/or very careful about it for it to actually work.

Okay, that's done.  Onto what I really want to talk about.  The other week I attend the Peace Concert and Fundraiser for Newaygo County People for Peace and our grassroots non-violent movement.  Sidenote:  If you read the article in TIME magazine about Bernie Sanders, this movement would fit perfectly into his movement.  And if you read The Dandelion Insurrection by Rivera Sun, you would see the movement in that book reflected in Bernie.

Anyways, I helped with the concert and felt that I should attend.  Concerts are not my "thing", I do not enjoy just sitting and listening to music, unless I can dance, then I'm there!  I was pleasantly surprised by this, as the musicians were great and entertaining!  One band was mostly rhythmic drumming from around the world and I enjoyed that a lot, no words to concentrate on and I could just relax into the beat.  Then a woman played pictures of the homeless on a big screen and sang acoustic versions of well known songs...but older ones.  Well, she started with Green Day and ended with Neil Simon with a lot of Beetles thrown in there.  Then her brother who was visiting, played and he sang this amazing song about being young and drafted or getting out of the draft for Nam.  And I have always had a thing for stories, jokes, songs, and such about Vietnam.  I don't know why.  I just really enjoyed his song, it was full of heart and all the feels.

There was also a silent auction, and I couldn't wait to bid on something and win.  I wanted a beautiful painting, as I collect wall art (paintings are my least collected of the wall art pieces) but I was outbid, so I bid and won a certificate for a woman (and friend) to clean my house!!  It might not be art, but it sure will be helpful.  I'm thinking of working with her to clean my basement and prepare it for winter.  My house is so tiny, I can and enjoy cleaning the top part of it myself.  But I can't vacuum spiders in rafters of the basement.

So that is the scene.  Before I went, I was excited to attend a concert and fundraiser within my price range.  The same building was hosting another fundraiser concert later in the week, which I got an invite too! (Everyone on the Artsplace Mailing List did...I'm not THAT special).  That one has a $35 dollar donation to get in, and so Josh and I can't afford that at the moment.  I really like the thought of attending a fancy fundraiser event where you bid on items and wear a black tie clothes and sip champagne while making small talk with the city's elite.  Picture any opening scene of a fancy fundraiser as the start of a murder mystery show.  So, I did the best I could and attended the Peace Concert.

As I described above, I was thinking fancy black tie.  Also, while at USET (work), it was impressed on me that when I go to events like this, I better as hell be dressed up as fancy as I can get.  I'm representing USET, and as such, my appearance is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than my work, my personality, or anything else about myself, even if I'm in the office and no one else is around, what if someone of importance walks through and sees me looking like a slob? Shit.  If a person didn't fit their appearance requirements, they got reprimanded.  Even if the clothes did fit the dress code.  When I wore lipstick to the office, my male supervisor would compliment me on wearing I was finally able to look like a "proper" woman.  Everyone in the office new I struggled with putting on makeup everyday and doing my hair with a straightner...or even blow drying it.  I would set goals, where I would try to wear makeup everyday in the week, so that eventually it would become a habit.

To deviate from the point, my male supervisor did not take his appearance as seriously as he took mine.  His shirt was always coming untucked and his butt crack would show sometimes.  His shirts and pants weren't  high end , nor perfectly pressed, and sometimes they had odd fish patterns.  He did not wear sports jackets.  But he expected the women to dress to the nine's all the time.  And he wasn't the only one.  My other male supervisor expected me to look even better and at least he DID dress himself up to the standards he expected of me.

Yes I'm still angry about that.  And yes, this all leads to a point.  But it's going to take a while.

So, I wanted to represent the Peace People properly and I wanted to attend a black tie event, so I got out my old work outfit.  I put on my Calvin Kline dress (okay, I picked one of 3), I put on my dress shaper that latches in the crotch (no bathroom for me), I wore my favorite heels, washed my hair, and put on all the makeup.  Oh, and I even picked out a really nice clutch to carry.  I felt great, and I loved it.  I love dressing up...for myself.  I wanted to show myself that I still can get fancy if I want to.

And guess what?  I was horribly overdressed!  HA!  I forgot the "audience" or the demographic of the other people attending.  They were all hippies from the original hippie era.  Because, um, Peace Concert!  They wore their nice loose, comfy modern hippy wear and looked great.  I was the only one in business attire.  I was also one of maybe 3 people of my age.  The rest were a generation or two above me.  I love looking at what women wear and wonder why they chose the outfit they did.  I'm currently spending a lot of time thinking about feminism and gender roles in our culture and what it means to be a woman.  I spend a lot of time angry at men for trying to control women too...example: abortion rights.  Why are all these old white men making this decision for me?  Am I not smart enough to decide for myself what is best for my body and my baby?  Is any woman?  These white men are saying, no, women are not smart enough.

I don't like to be forced to wear makeup.  It's not my natural bend.  I don't like people disrespecting me because I do not fit into their idea of what a woman should look like and act like.  My favorite hair look is bed head messy.  I don't even own a straightener or a curler any more.  It really confuses a lot of people.

So, i'm at the concert, looking like a "proper woman" of the "right age" (I look younger than 30..that helps), and a man of the older generation comes up to me and says conspiratorially, and like I would be happy to hear of his approval, that "He thinks I'm the best dressed woman there".  I said "Thank you." and got away.  When I tell people this, they think, aww Lindy, that was so nice! You got a great compliment!  But, I was and am sooooo angry at that man!  Who made the concert a contest and better yet, who made him the judge?  Why should I feel all warm and fuzzy because a strange man approves of my outfit.  And who is he to judge all the other women there?  They are all truly amazing women!! If he would just look past their wonderful, non form-fitting-object-making, dresses, he would see some of the kindest, hard working, passionate people he would ever meet.  These women fought and fight for all things good for all their lives.  I was looking at them at the concert and wondering which characteristics of them fit me and which ones I should focus on in myself as I grow older.  Who do I want to be 30 years from now?  Well, what they got right was that they wore comfy outfits that looked nice and did NOT have crotch clasps.  I'm so glad that man approved of me being so uncomfortable.  The only person who should approve of that is me.  And I did approve of it, for the night, because I chose to wear it.

The frustrating part is, the next day I was doing laundry, and I saw hanging up the perfect hippy dress I should have worn.  It fits me perfectly and is loose and comfy and would have been just right for that night.  I just really wanted to see if I could dress up business style, and I really wanted to pretend I was at a black tie event. 

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