While it’s 2016 and the world is all about body positivity, gender equality, legalising gay rights and substances that make you gay (the other kind) — an overall decade for revamping laws and dated institutions that have held back the human race for a long time — it’s time I brought to your notice an age-old stereotype that, agreed, might not be as life changing as being able to marry who you love, but still matters in college hallways, locker rooms and sororities all over the world:
Spotlight please, on the plight of the fashion girl who invariably ends up being the mean, judgy bitch (pardon me, but it’s literally the word on the street) in almost every piece of pop culture ever. (And I’m not even going to bother addressing the “pretty girls are dumb” cliché because yawn, so Paris Hilton circa 2003, getoverit.)
You know exactly what I’m talking about, no exhibits needed. This is for every cheerleader or popular girl in every chick flick/high school movie/book ever — hello Regina George, Blair Waldorf, Sharpay Evans, Kate Sanders, Lana Thomas, even Alaïa-loving Cher Horowitz to some extent — for every fashion girl crew to have ever walked the hallways flipping their hair and shooting side eyes for no apparent reason: The Chanels, The Plastics, The Ashleys, The Pretty Committee, The Heathers… the list goes on.
Now, I agree, there’s no smoke without fire, and there must be an underlying reason for the prolific portrayal of the hot, well dressed girl as always the A-grade bully, the most obvious being that it stems from arrogance, vanity and unhealthy self esteem issues, but thus is my case: why only the fashion girls? Is there some sort of correlation between loving Céline, collecting Louboutins and terrorising the lives of those not-so-‘pretty’?
I consider myself a girl who loves fashion, and this was my point of contention, until what happened the other day: On my way somewhere, I caught a glimpse of a man driving his car past mine and though I hardly registered what he wore — something red, a creepy Tom Selleck-style stache, and the world’s ugliest shades — I had already painted him a man who didn’t give a shit about his wife and two kids. An ***hole husband and an uninspiring dad at best who was on the way to get drunk with his male chauvinist buddies and —
— Whow, slow down!, you’re thinking. You sound like a judgy bitch, you’re thinking. I checked myself immediately too, and then wondered if this was because of the fact that I placed a good deal of importance on appearance and grooming while sizing up a person. Though first impressions matter, I confess judging that guy simply by the way he looked wasn’t very nice of me, but here’s the thing: my mean thoughts had nothing to do with the fact that I love fashion.
We all do it. We all do a lightning fast head-to-toe scan of people we meet and wonder what they and their lives are like. Your boss did it when you’d stepped in for your interview, your boyfriend did it when he saw you for the first time, your best friend did it when you guys first sat next to each other in class, the last person who walked by you on the pavement did it. And I can bet my (future) Gucci loafers you’ve had sudden, unexpected mean thoughts, maybe subconsciously, for no reason whatsoever, not very different from mine. A train of vitriolic Blair Waldorf-type mental whiplashes. At the very least, I bet you’ve randomly decided you didn't like someone, for no apparent reason, just by the way they looked, at least once in your life (remember that guy in French class?) BE HONEST.
My point is, we all do it, and it’s a people thing, not a fashion thing. Fashion girls don’t just go around being mean to girls who ‘don’t match up to them’, mean girls do. And since we’ve somehow managed to land up in 2016, let’s reassess what fashion means today: it’s dressing whichever way the hell you’d like to express who you are, and a true fashion girl respects that.
So sure, I’m the kind of girl who has stories about how she almost had a panic attack while trying to frantically buy Kylie’s Lip Kit (and delegated the job to friends just as plan B), instead of the girl who, say, likes to spend her time reading about the history of menstrual devices, or the girl who’s obsessed with the gym, but does that make me a girl who’ll trip the class nerd on purpose, scheme and manipulate as a hobby or write a Burn Book?
Nope, no time for that, tons of Alaïa to buy.