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Why do “Women dress for other women”?

January 15, 2014

I came across an article today titled, “How to Talk to Women Without Saying, ‘Great Boots’: A Guide for Women.” It piqued my interest because as the owner and lover of far too many boots I use this as an opener when I meet new people. Waldman makes an excellent point about how looks-centered and beauty-centric conversations between women are. After taking a moment to reflect on the new social situations I have been in, I think she is spot on. When a woman walks into a room, you often hear, “I love your earrings” or “cute dress”, and if you don’t hear any compliments, then I suppose you look like you just rolled out of bed. 

I think this act of silently judging another person’s appearance happens unconsciously. We see a little girl dressed in a beautiful ensemble and tell her how cute she looks. This is not a problem but if this is the only message she receives, then what does that tell her about her worth and value? It’s hard to meet people as an adult when you move to a new city. After coaching my students all day to be kind to friends or introduce themselves to new people, I find that I need the same advice. While embarrassing to admit, I wonder what kind of “pick-up line” I am going to use to talk to someone cool at work who I want to be friends with? I easily fall into this pattern of talking about attire, etc. but next time maybe I’ll try something else…

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