Fashion ‘Faux-Pas’ and a Dream Assignment

There’s been some inane chatter over whether or not Michelle Obama knows how to dress herself appropriately for a given state occasion, specifically whether it was correct to wear a sleeveless dress to her husband’s State of the Union address. Are you slapping your forehead yet?

What year is it? Anyone? I do love the response given by the social secretary (via Feministe):

Social Secretary Desiree Rogers defended the decision, telling the Washington Post that Mrs. Obama’s feeling is “If I want to wear no sleeves to hear my husband speak, that’s what I’m going to do.”

The very idea that somehow a woman’s shoulders are not fit for public viewing just flummoxes me. I fucking love Michelle Obama, and her attitude about the whole thing just gives me the warm fuzzies. Sasha and Malia obviously have a wonderful role model.

Speaking of wonderful role models, please check out and take the time to register and vote for Sarah’s Dream Assignment. This is (quoting Sarah) “a competition being sponsored by Microsoft and Lenovo called “Name Your Dream Assignment”. The winner will get $50,000 and a Lenovo laptop in order to pursue the photography assignment of their dreams. The contest opened March 3rd and is open for voting until April 3rd. Getting the most votes is vital to stay in the contest…on April 3rd the voting closes and only those entries ranked in the top 10 will move on to the second round where portfolios are submitted and judged.”

Her description of her project below totally brings a tear to my eye:

For Our Daughters

Travel the country (some day the world) to take portraits of everyday women and show how beautiful they are. I want my daughter to see how many kinds of beauty there are. I want your daughters to see that too.

I began taking a self-portrait every day in August of 2006 as a challenge to see if I could make it one year. I discovered so much about myself and learned to see beauty in myself I had never acknowledged before, that I continued taking then for a second year.

The confidence I gained in myself as a woman and as a photographer carried into my daily life. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to take portraits of some other women and show them their own beauty, too.

Having a daughter who is now 13 and who, while lovely, questions her thighs, her teeth, her knees, is heartbreaking. I see and read words from women and girls making self-deprecating comments all the time and it kills me. I do it myself sometimes. We need to stop.

Because despite it all—despite loving my daughter and not wanting her to ever hate her body like she is learning to do, I am not exactly living a good example. I’m so much better than I’ve ever been as far as accepting myself and loving myself, body and soul, but the doubts and self-hating voices still arise. I still have days when I don’t want to see myself in the mirror.

And none of us should ever feel that way.

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3 thoughts on “Fashion ‘Faux-Pas’ and a Dream Assignment

  1. Bazarov says:

    It may be heartbreaking to see your child question their physical attractiveness, but to say it’s learned is highly dubious. I don’t think it’s something women learned to do so much as it’s innate. Men didn’t learn to be aggressive either, for the most part, but are by their natures. Of course, there is usually a large window of moldable behavior, but to think we’re a blank slate is a myth larger than most. I also wonder how to capture beauty beyond what’s physical and visual with a camera. It seems a medium tailored for physical beauty, like every magazine knows.

  2. I would think a genuine smile on a face that’s not considered attractive in and of itself would capture inner beauty rather well. Mood and tone are standard whatchamacallits…shit, I used to know some technical art terms. You can capture a beautiful feeling on film (or digitally) even if the subject isn’t “pretty.”

  3. suntzusays says:

    What is a painting but a capture of a momentary glance at something in the eye of the painter? An old photograph is dusted over in its frame but still smiles back at us. There isn’t anything needed to capture in that instant that cannot be sensed by the person who captures it. It often loses something in the transition from eye to eye. I am not sure it is nearly as wasted as the few words on a page. A picture can tell a different story to different people. Only the best writer does that.

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