My Gorgeous Skirt and My World

Rachel Hansen

Posted on January 13 2015

So far 2015 has involved frantically painting/cleaning/packing. As such, every day I have been wearing work shorts and paint-splattered tshirts. I have been visiting various hardware/paint/building stores and getting advice, doing deals, lifting heavy stuff. 

This morning I am working on business stuff, so decided to put on a lovely pink flouncy skirt to get into brain-mode. I had to do a couple of errands in town first, and I was astounded by the difference in the way I was treated. The paint guy assumed I had *no idea* about painting. I gave him curt words. Then, when hauling the repaired water blaster back to the car the shop assistant offered to carry it for me (never offered before) - I politely declined (it's heavy, but manageable). As I was putting it in the car a male cyclist squealed to a halt and insisted on lifting it in for me. 

So I have spent the past 3 weeks in paint-splattered work clothes, lugging various building materials/machinery round and no one had ever offered to help (because I didn't need help, not that people were mean).   The one trip where I was wearing a pretty skirt, boom, help offered.  When I look in the mirror today, I *look* less strong and physically capable. That's not a bad thing - it's just a different "me" that is being projected to the world today. And I feel the world in general responds to that.

This made me think about how the way the world interacts with me is partly determined by the clothes I wear. As an adult, I can I observe this and find it interesting. But it also reinforces to me that the way the world interacts with my kids will in part be determined by what they wear. That's huge, and can be problematic. I have an article bubbling away in my mind about this very thing, based on a very-non-scientific experiment I have been doing with my 2 year old daughter, observing how she is treated depending on the clothes she wears. It's been both fascinating and disturbing.  I just need to get this little issue of moving house out of the way then I can get stuck into work! :)

Rachel xx



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