You know, I don't care how people dress. All I care about is that they're honest and hardworking and not shallow.
The heated discussion of Michelle Obama's election-night dress reminds me of when I was in junior high and high school.
I was raised in Texas by extremely conservative Southern Baptist parents, hellfire-and-brimstone Sunday School teachers both. Girls' fashions then favored miniskirts and often knee-high or higher boots. I wasn't allowed to dress that way—or anywhere near it. My skirts and dresses had to be below my kneecaps, and for years I wasn't allowed to wear pants to school, because "young ladies don't wear pants." It was the 1970s, and I was forced, for "modesty's sake," to look like a refugee from the 1950s—and not even a stylish one.
Girls my age made fun of my clothes everywhere I went in school, every single day. Many didn't want to be my friend simply because I dressed so differently. Didn't matter that I was a nice person—shy but friendly, kind, and smart. When, in high school, I finally talked* my parents into letting me wear slightly—very slightly—shorter dresses and the dorkiest shoes of the era rather than 1950s-style shoes, one snotty popular girl sent in a dedication to the school newspaper, dedicating the story "Cinderella" to me. She succeeded in embarrassing me in front of the entire school. One particularly hateful boy would lurk in the hallways between classes, trying to find ways to trip me as I walked along but denying doing any such thing when I told the school principal about it.
So am I enjoying the discussion of Michelle Obama's election-night dress? Not so much. Michelle's a smart, talented woman. I don't care what she wears.
*By that point, I was as tall as my parents were, no longer small enough for them to be able to grab me and beat the hell out of me until I agreed to dress how they ordered me to. I also had a part-time job and could save up to buy some of my own clothing.
presidential election Michelle Obama dress clothes pettiness EditorMom