Dear 100 Hour Board,
How do you not judge women for what they wear?
I was raised in a judgmental household - my parents constantly commented on and disparaged women's clothes/hair/tattoos. I took their rules for me (such as no skinny jeans) and judged other girls for not following the same modesty standards. I've recently realized this and have been working on being less judgmental. But it is a struggle. Recently in a Zoom class I noticed that all the girls were wearing regular t-shirts and minimal, if any, makeup - with the exception of one girl. She was wearing a full face of makeup, fashionable blouse, cute headband - and not only did I immediately judge her mental skills, I sent a text to a friend about how Provo-y this girl was.
My friend knew who I was talking about. And I quickly learned that this girl really enjoys wearing makeup and cute clothes, has been ridiculed for it, people constantly tell her she needs to look less feminine to be taken seriously, but despite all that this friendly, down-to-earth, wickedly smart girl has decided to wear the clothes and makeup that make her happy.
I felt like a jerk. And realized I really haven't gotten better at not judging women. So...any tips?
-Judgy McJudge Face
I used to be super judgmental on women for their apparel and appearance. The root of my problem was that I tied dress to a moral standard (which is what we have pounded into us at church). In order to stop judging so much, I needed to internally separate concepts of morality and dress. I definitely still have room for improvement, but it's not nearly as normal for me to judge based on dress. What helps me to separate these concepts is to consciously note good attributes about people, and logically evaluate judgy thoughts. It helps to pick apart the thoughts and honestly ask myself how much bias is affecting my opinion of someone else.
For me, comedy is the best cure for shedding unwanted societal norms. I think this works so well for me because not only is it memorable, but it allows me to call myself out without judging myself too hard for it.
Here are some great examples of comedy making fun of societal norms in a way that makes me realize their ridiculousness:
Straight White Male helps me put white privilige and male privilige into perspective (warning this one has some swears).
If Black People Said the Things White People Say, If Latinos Said the Things White People Say (has swears), and If Asians Said the Things White People Say, help me fight unintentional racism I may have.
This Studio C sketch helps me question the hypocrisy of how women are viewed in the workplace.
So my recommendation is to find ways too laugh at your judgement of of women's clothing. I tried looking for some good sketches but couldn't find any because the searches just pulled up videos about how to dress to impress other people (oh the irony...), but I'm sure you could find ways to poke fun at those views you want to get rid of! Be the comedy you want to see in the world!
Hope this helps!
Can relate. I feel like I'm a lot better about it now, but I still catch myself judging every once in a while. Here's the good news: You made the effort to understand why your thought process was wrong, and you want to be better. I think that is all it takes, as long as you're making a sustained effort. I think the best way to describe the process I've made is a change in my "default" reaction to people. Here's what helped me:
1. I found friends who weren't judgmental. Having friends who habitually make kind comments about the people around them was a huge deal for me. Wanting to be more like them was a huge motivator.
2. I realized that people's dress and grooming decisions are usually very personal and very reasonable. I wear makeup most days, because it's a ritual that I can use to make sure that I spend some time focusing on myself every day. There are a few things I never would have worn when I was younger that I wear all the time as an adult because I feel more comfortable (physically and mentally) in them than in the alternatives. I wore a bikini for the first time ever this summer - and was amazed at how confident I felt, because it fit me correctly and I didn't have to be tugging at it all the time. Being able to just live in the moment and be comfortable, physically and emotionally, is a big deal. I now try to define "dressing modestly" for myself as wearing clothes that are appropriate to the situation I'm in and that enable me to focus on the activity I'm doing and the people I'm with. Embracing that definition for myself has helped me build empathy for the people around me, and realize that they're making their dress and grooming decisions for good reasons, too.
3. For the first time, I heard someone talk about the "not like other girls" trope and why it's so problematic. I had never realized it before, but I was actually subconsciously trying to differentiate myself from other girls. Realizing how silly that is was big for me. Turns out that I want to be more like other girls, actually. Women are magic! In fact, I think (and have always thought) that most people are pretty cool. I have never taken the time to get to know someone and come out worse for it. So, after having that realization, I made an effort to switch my default reaction to people: Whenever I notice a new person, I start looking for a reason to think they're cool. Maybe it's the confidence it takes to wear what they're wearing. Maybe they mention a hobby that I've never even considered before. Maybe they have some cool talent. Maybe they're just really nice! But I've discovered that it's way more fun to think everyone is cool than to think people are weird, or basic, or whatever. (Not that I don't let my opinion change over time, I just try to assume the best at first.)
But honestly, it's a work in progress. As hard as I try, I do catch myself judging people all the time. I'm unconvinced that it's possible for me to entirely get rid of that instinct. So, I cut myself some slack, and make sure to correct myself when I do catch myself judging. I think that as long as you're doing that, you're doing just fine.