Should anyone in your life have input into how you style your appearance?
In a class on a cultural differences, I once heard an Asian woman (a grown woman!) say that if she were to change her hairstyle, she would have to get her mother's permission first. As an American, I found this rather shocking. However, it's obvious that we Americans have swung to the OPPOSITE end of the pendulum. We tend to think NO one - not even our spouse - should have a say in how we dress.
So ... how much should we consider others' wishes or opinions when choosing a look, clothing, hairstyle/facial hair, tattoos, or makeup? Whose? Might we owe even strangers a thought?
I think this is most definitely a cultural difference - majority of the western world consists of Individualist societies - we're socialized from birth to be individuals, to be our unique selves, to think for ourselves. (I guess this can be argued, but in comparison to Collectivist cultures, we have a lot of social freedoms). So we're encouraged at times to own our bodies and our looks - as long as those looks conform to prescribed beauty standards of course.
In Collectivist cultures, like much of Asia, the focus of a society is on homogeneity and harmony. Being part of the group is prioritized over being an individual. "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down" is a well known proverb for these kinds of societies. So often, people who make changes without notifying or getting approval from others can result in confusion and chaos within that society. This extends from major arenas like politics down to personal levels like something as simple as a hair style.
Neither are wrong, just different ways of organizing a society.
I am an Asian. Speaking as one, I attest to the accuracy of the fact that we are culturally expected to obey at least our parents with respect to their thoughts about everything under the sun, even our own appearance. Yet I have deviated from my culture, and that I do anything with my appearance as and when I like is the consequence of my liberal western education. I think what you want to look like is purely personal to you, just like religion or who you are sleeping with. Thank you for posting this thought-provoking question.
I'm not sure if my view is common any more, but I believe a spouse should have input. Input doesn't have to mean it is the final say though.
Personally when it comes to clothing, my hair length, tattoos or my hair color I always ask my husband's opinion. After all he is the one who has to look at me every day.
I also feel I should have a say if my husband decides to grow a 10 inch beard or suddenly decides he is going to shave his head bald.
My appearance is about keeping myself happy, but when I got married, things stopped being just about me and became about us.
So yes, I believe if we have a partner their opinion should be considered. Parents should lose that once their child is old enough to consider the possible consequences for an appearance change.
Life is a (personal) journey.
Each of us is responsible for our own happiness.
There are plenty of things to be concerned about without having to (worry about what clothes or hairstyle) to wear to please others.
Seeking/needing the approval of others reduces your self-esteem.
I wouldn't invite people to manipulate or weigh in on my personal choices. Adulthood is having the freedom to live on your terms.
I never offer my wife an "unsolicited opinion" on personal items.
Ultimately it's impossible to be happy if you're not being yourself!
I voted up on your comment because it's well-expressed.
Considering the impact of your choices on someone else is not necessarily approval-seeking. It might just be simple consideration.
You are wise not to offer your wife unsolicited input.
Good answers, everyone. I love that so far we have 4 answers with 4 different perspectives.
I do agree a spouse should have some input (though I would probably feel indignant if my husband ever volunteered such). But ... if the person was attracted to you before you were married, presumably they like the way that your taste leads you to dress. Unless you RADICALLY change your look.
Speaking of radical looks, what about personal appearance choices that DON'T conform to societal standards of beauty? People that ...
-wear clothing with obscene or violent pictures on it?
-intentionally style their appearance to look like a Viking or a vampire?
-Have so many piercings in sensitive parts of their face that your eyes water in sympathy when you look at them?
-Or what about that guy who got spikes surgically implanted in his head and tattoos of scales so that he could be a human lizard?
I personally kind of enjoy looking at people with creative makeup and cool hairstyles. (I like costumes.) Still, is it possible that some forms of self-expression are also a way of saying "screw you" to every stranger who claps eyes on them?
Looking at the main question from the other side of the coin, wouldn't we want our perspective to be well-received if we felt the need to give it to a relative or friend? Of course, kindness, respectfulness, and all the things that make relationships civilized would be required of a person approaching another about their appearance.
I do think we owe each other, strangers included, a thought. American independence has led to an in your face attitude about appearance even toward those we love. That attitude divides people rather than unites, leaving people feeling lonely, sad, and worse.
Everyone dressing alike, as we've seen in some religious communities or communist regimes, is not the answer, nor is it necessary to keep up with the fashion world's ideas of what our appearance should be. We should feel free to wear styles we like no matter what people who want to sell us something say, but too often people judge others because they are not in step with a movement's philosophy or popular trends.
We can be original as well as respectful toward others in our appearance. I always think that those who want to be frightening, vulgar, seductive, abrasive, grim, bleak, heartless, and severe in appearance are indicating a desperate cry for help that is buried beneath their own pain, anger and/or bitterness about something that has happened to them.
Well, I am not married and so it may be different for the married folks. I do think that perhaps what one spouse chooses to wear does reflect upon the other spouse to some degree, whether for the good or bad. I think one shouldn't make a spectacle of oneself or attract negative attention. People will stare if so and that is a sort of social disapproval thing that happens automatically.
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