Homechronic illnessJudgement Touches All Parts of Life

Today, I came across this awesome piece on BlogHer. Like the author, I don’t wear makeup very often and my wardrobe generally consists of jeans or shorts and a fun top.

Who’s the “real woman”?
The left is a candid pic of me without makeup, and the right is posed with makeup on.

Dressing for success?
As far as fashion’s concerned, women are told that if we dress one way, we’re asking for assault or harassment, but if we dress another, we’re too uptight.

In too many schools, dress codes for girls are about how their appearance distracts boys from their studies rather than reinforcing the importance of education for all. That bra strap accidentally sticking out from a girl’s sleeveless top on a hot day is enough to get them taken out of class, or gives authority figures reason to force her into putting another layer on.

Both of these impact the girl’s education. The first one removes her completely from the class, and the other diverts her attention from her studies to her comfort. At the same time, the few boys who are distracted by the fact girls wear bras are told they’re not responsible for controlling their thoughts.

There are workplaces with similar double standards. Like Elizabeth, part of why I don’t wear makeup often is sensory, but another is my over sensitive immune system. Forcing me to wear makeup for a job that doesn’t involve face to face interaction with the public or pay enough for hypoallergenic makeup is neither fair nor justified when men are not required to do the same thing.

Thinking Differently
The way I’ve learned how to do things with my dyslexia has opened me up to a lot of similar criticism. Every failure was attributed to the idea that I was lazy or not smart enough to do whatever it was. I was constantly judged for something I had little control over.

This post shows some great examples of the notes I got on spelling tests. I didn’t get the hang of basic English spelling until I studied Latin in high school. Rote lessons and memorization did nothing for me.

As an adult, my issues with ‘easy’ work was put down to my being stupid or lazy by people who didn’t bother to understand what was going on. When I deviate from the norm, which is pretty much every day, there’s someone who feels the need to judge me for it.

Like many dyslexics, I think and learn differently than my peers. Starting ‘easy’ is hard without context. Once I see the full, complicated picture, I understand what’s going on.

There’s room in the world for different kinds of intelligence.

Staying Healthy
I have a rescue inhaler for my asthma, but I manage my disease primarily with lifestyle choices, rather than long acting medications. I’ve tried the medical cocktail method, but it didn’t work for me, so I found methods that help. When I speak up about it, though, I’m often attacked for relying on alternatives to mainstream medicine.

By the same token, why should anyone judge asthmatics who need nebulizers at home or take long acting drugs? If it works for them, that’s all that counts. Yet, there are those in the lifestyle crowd that refuse to respect some peoples’ need for medication.

The same thing seems to happen in other chronic illness circles, too. There’s a lot of fighting amongst people who choose to treat mental illness or chronic pain differently. Behavioral therapy helps many people, while medications helps others. Lifestyle and diet can help some people with chronic pain, while others need medication.

No two people are exactly the same, which means no one solution works for everyone.

Why must women who wear makeup and high heels be demonized? Why must those who choose not to be treated as lesser beings? For that matter, why must men be forbidden from embracing makeup and softer looks?

Why should those of us with unique wiring be forced to conform to how everyone else does things? Why must autistic folks be forced to hide their stims? Why must dyslexics hide our unique way of thinking for fear of losing jobs, educational opportunities or respect?

Why should people who need medication to function be constantly pressured to get off their drugs? Why should those of us who prefer to address our health concerns without medication be degraded for seeking out alternatives?

The better question is, what about your life makes you uncomfortable enough to force your ideals on everyone else?


Judgement Touches All Parts of Life — 2 Comments

  1. Great post, Emilie! I'm not much of a make-up, high-fashion wearing person either. I love how you ask us (your readers) to be more accepting of others.

  2. Thank you, Betty!

    One of my deepest desires is for a more understanding, accepting world. I don't know if that'll ever happen, but that doesn't mean I'll stop striving for it.

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