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Fashion Used as Rejection & Acceptance

Maya Iris

Do you ever wear something a little risque and feel undeniably empowered standing in your bedroom mirror? You think “maybe I can bring a jacket if I’m feeling too anxious when I go out” and then you end up wearing the jacket the whole time! I, admittedly, have never heard anyone talk about this aloud before so I may be imagining this to be something as outstandingly relatable as I think it is. Although, what I do know is that I’ve had beautiful opportunities to grow alongside other people that have shared tear-jerking experiences littered with insecurities and wonderful nothings whom I think can feel this frustration. So maybe you can’t immediately relate, but I wish for everyone reading this to have these types of moments in your life. But first, let's talk about childhood. More specifically, mine(and probably most other young girls’ and boys’)

When I walked that fine line between training bra and padded bra, weird things started happening. Like me actually caring about what people think and who they wanted me to be. But nevermind that. More importantly, this is when Disney channel stopped putting on quality yet corny shows. In all honesty, that should’ve been the end of anyone’s childhood, but it wasn’t the terrible shows that stole my youth; my bestfriend’s middle-aged dad did that all on his own.

I discovered crop tops from the queen herself, Bethany Mota, one of Youtube’s original beauty gurus. I was so immersed in her content that I blew the tags off of her clothing collection she did with Aeropostale- that to me was a masterpiece. Pre-teen me was probably 20 pounds skinnier, but had the fire and curiosity to see what crop-tops were like even if I was knee-deep in insecurities. I rocked those tops like it was nobody’s business but mine. Mine and my best friend's. We loved it and we loved Bethany so hard. So you can imagine how heartbreaking it was to hear my best friend's father say that we had no respect for ourselves or our bodies when we wore crop tops. So being a kid and as influenced as I was, I believed him. The sad part is that girls all over the world have believed that same thing and have struggled with it for years. I know I still do.

Yeah I struggle to stay empowered wearing that risque top as I walk into a crowd, but I also re-invite that memory every time and then I reject his words Every. Single. Time. If you have to wear a jacket over that risque blouse, do it! The mere act of even putting that piece on is a revolutionary fight of rejecting this century-old status quo of being “respectful.” I can’t deny the jitters I get when I step out of my comfort zone and I can guarantee you’ll feel the same if not worse! But there is beauty in that and there’s beauty in how clothing can challenge you to reject everything you once knew. Whoever made you believe that you were less man or woman is afraid of what your existence means to this world. Now reject them, so you can finally accept you.

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