First Ladies of Fashion

Michelle’s arms.

Kate’s hat.

Two of the most powerful women in the world–one the leader of the United States (we all know that the wife is really in charge), one the future Queen of England.

And all we can talk about is their clothes?

Help me to understand why we do this.  Never in a million years do we hear about what the President is wearing, how “saucy” the feather on his hat is, or how “bold” his sweater color choice is. (Ok, maybe there was some talk of him wearing shorts, but still…)

Why are women judged so much by appearance? And more importantly, why do we women do the judging?

We are all guilty of it. Admit it, you’ve done it. I know I have.  Even surfing my mommy blogs, I always click to the “about” page to get a good glimpse of who is blogging.  “Oh ok, maybe she is a better writer than I am, but my hair is way better.” (A totally hypothetical example, as my hair always looks terrible. Curse my flat head).

I think stay-at-home moms are the worst.  As “non-productive” members of society, we feel the world is judging us constantly; and we in turn, judge other moms, other women. And what’s easier to judge on that the way we look? It’s a quick way to compare ourselves to others and “size up the competition.”

The question is of course–why do we feel the need to compete with other women?

It’s exhausting, really.  I do it myself. Part of the attraction of mommy blogging is reading about other moms, how they do things, how they get through the day, wondering if they actually get dressed, how they manage to do it all…and comparing that to our own lives.  I compare and contrast. Who’s better, who’s worse? That mom does arts and crafts? And makes homemade cookies? And works out an hour a day? Hmmpph…well good for her. But I don’t like her shirt.

I’m working on it.  Obviously, our need to judge and compare stems from feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.  Finding the source of those feelings is an individual journey, with many facets.  But the fact that  society, what the global news focuses on, is women’s appearance, shows us we are not alone.  There is a widespread, cultural, societal, deep, ingrained emphasis on how women look. And like it or not, that affects us. It’s hard to shake our own desire to judge and compare other women when every media outlet tells us that the most important part of being a woman is what you look like. And don’t even get me started on the more pressing issue of the fact that these women are powerful because of the men that they are associated with…

We are more than what we wear.  And I don’t care how great Michelle’s arms look. My arm has a little jiggle to it, but it is strong enough to hold my babies, to work to support my family, to hug my sisters, to type this message to you, to wipe the tears from my eyes when I cry with mothers who are grieving.  The arms of women are the arms of strength, of love, and compassion.

And that matters a heck of a lot more than killer triceps.

Saucy... or sad?

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