I think it’s time to discuss the quote of “We are the fashion police,” by Susan Jane Gilman, who Kiss My Tiara. It’s a philosophy that I am trying desperately to live by with some success but not always. I have it on my cell phone, on my wall in my office, and now on my blog. It is a call to arms, a reminder that behind every judgement is us.
I have read Kiss My Tiara more times than I count, and I have bought about a dozen copies, only to turn around and give them away again. Its a great read, an answer to The Rules book that came out years ago. Gilman thought women needed rules, just not rules on how to catch a man, rules for life, handed down from her gin drinking, cake eating grandma. While I live by the suggestion of using my PMS to badger politicians like the president, I have trouble with realizing that I am apart of the fashion police.
Behind every sneer or rumor is usually a woman, or more likely a group of women. In middle school, who gave us girls a hard time, it was other girls, some who were actually old friends. Who usually started the vicious rumors about people in high school? A group of girls. When we see some women in too-short of a dress or a hideous outfit, we immediately make a snide comment to the nearest woman, who will agree. (Now, I understand that I’m making generalizations. I’m a perfect example. While I had a girl bully and was harassed by girls in middle school, it was the boys who were meaner by handing me a razor, telling me to go shave in the bathroom. In high school, it was a boy who spread the rumor around that I was a lesbian. But I would bet nine times out of ten, it’s a girl. So please bear with me.) But honestly how many times have we gossiped about other women at the party or even other friends? And I’m right there with every one else. I love to talk, which usually leads straight to gossip.
Just remember when Hillary Clinton was running for the nomination on the Democratic ticket and some of the media criticized her when her make-up and hair wasn’t done to perfection. Or those stupid tabloids that catch celebrity women without make-up. I remember one cover had Juliet Roberts without make-up and in sweats, but the woman had just had her twins like a month before. I mean honestly. How many times has the media pounded on a teenage star who gained to much weight? How many of us were discussing Jennifer Aniston’s divorce from Brad Pitt? Really, what do we know?
We have all these examples around us. Since we are quite communicative, I’m suggesting we just try to judge and go by “we’re all doing the best we can” philosophy. I don’t like Dr. Laura Schlessinger because she judges so much. It’s despicable to have an advice call in show where instead of helping, you criticize the very people who call in. We get it. No one should have kids out of wedlock, but something happens and now they’re calling you for help. And if you’re going to be so adamantly anti-abortion, then you can’t be so pissed off at babies born to unwed mothers. Shit happens. People have to take responsibility. Some moms have to, need to, want to work, and that doesn’t make them bad moms. Honestly, we’re all in this together and trying to make do the best we can with what we have.
A few months ago, I actually realized I’m making progress with my philosophy as I quoted it back to my friend. Earlier at a dinner with friends and the boys, I mentioned the high statistic of how many toddlers had had soda in their bottle. Later that night as we bought the boys ice cream (yeah, I know, I’m a good mom.), a family walks in with a little boy about 18 months drinking orange soda from a bottle. I think my best friend’s and my mouths dropped open.
My best friend turned to me and whispered, “What the hell? He’s too old for the bottle. And orange soda! That’s lousy parenting.”
And before I could agree, I thought of my philosophy and shrugged. “We’re all doing the best we can.”
“Really? That’s just neglect.”
“Well, it could be a special treat or a one time thing. We’ll never know. We just have to hope that this isn’t normal and the parents are teaching their kids better.”
Yes, we’ll judge. We’ll gossip. We all have opinions. But I think we need to take a second and cool down over the non-threatening stuff. If a parent is doing something dangerous, step in, but if the kid is two and has a bottle, well, the parent will learn. Just like we’ll make judgements over that woman who wears the short skirts and goes home with guys, but we will never know what she actually does or feels. And yes, I joined my best friend in calling her STD girl, but I hope now I can shrug and say, “She can do what she wants. I hope she’s doing it safe.”
We are all the fashion police. We are all doing the best we can with what we have.