And so on and so forth. But really, it is all a bunch of fantasy, not reality. (I’m not even trying to pretend to tell those people what “reality” is.)
“I’d think, maybe she’s been wearing this dress all her life,” Gass writes, “probably for a variety of reasons, but I’d think we’re pretty far from that.”
She seems to conflate our idea of “reality” with something we’re all familiar with. “And as someone who has been very comfortable with this idea of the dress as a ‘fact’ throughout my life, I can’t help but think we’re pretty far from it.”
I have been so confused by her statement, not just by what she said, but also by what it means for our society. (Though it is not that far off.) Because, by claiming all women who wear long dresses to work are lazy, out of touch, and uneducated, she’s implying to me that the whole notion that there are women who wear skirts to work is a myth — something I can and should buy into. Because she’s saying that “real” women wear skirts to work.
Why? Because in real life, they don’t.
The stereotype we all see throughout high school is that most girls wear dresses, while most boys wear slacks. And yes, there are women who wear skirts, but it’s rare and far between. Even though it is true that a large majority of women in college wear dresses to school, and I myself wear a dress to work — most people don’t.
In fact, it is not true that only young women wear skirts to work. In fact, if a young woman was to put on a skirt and put it on her head and start to walk around with it on her head, she is more likely to get recognized and harassed than a college boy wearing the same outfit.
In fact, when a man gets a similar outfit, he’s almost as likely to be confronted by a woman, or at least a female coworker, as if he were wearing some old sweatshirt. It’s also true that if a man puts on a skirt to work, he’s almost as likely to be confronted by a man who is a friend or a co-worker who knows his wife or daughter, or who might just be wondering why he’s there.
So what is the reality that most women walk around in, and which the women of color I
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