Monday, October 12, 2015
At what age?
We were visiting another church yesterday and observed a little girl--probably 6 or 7 years old--coming in, holding hands with her dad. She had red hair and a freckled face with a big smile. She was dressed in a princess dress--light blue chiffon with lace and layers. Her knee socks, though, were the highlight.They were striped, although some of the stripes held patterns, in some of the brightest colors imaginable: hot pink, bright orange, deep purple, and red. She made me smile--and as she walked past, her demeanor and smile toward me made me think she knew the effect her whole being in this outfit had. I told my husband that I wished I had the nerve to wear socks like that in public.
So, both these instances make me think about cultural pressures. Some of them are good because they help us get along. Fitting in is important, and smoothing the flow of society is important. But so is individualism. And society allows some without too much comment. But it's the clothes and actions that sometimes step a little outside of the accepted lines that make me wonder. Little children and old people seem to get a pass. But in the middle, we conform unless we want to pay a price. I'm not sure how I feel about it. A few years ago we had a colleague who was an unusual dresser. He was extremely tall, so he would have been noticeable anyway. But he dressed unusually enough in bright yellow pants and bow ties (as examples) that he drew more attention. He didn't stay long--there were other issues--but I have wondered how much the individual style so outside the norms for the academy might have played into his leaving. Did his style keep others from getting to know him better? Is there a cost, in some places and in some groups, that is too much--and keeps those of us who might want to wear brightly striped knee socks in public only wearing them at home? Maybe when I'm older, it will be okay.
Posted by Debbie at 11:16 AM