Man, People Have Really Strong Feelings About Maxi Dresses, Huh?
My Twitter timeline is really hyped up about two articles right now: that New York Times expose on nail salons and a humor essay over at Jezebel called “Death to the Maxi Dress.” Well, the latter is supposed to be funny, but a lot of folks on Twitter, not to mention the commenters on the piece, seem to overwhelmingly disagree, declaring their allegiance to the maxi and even straight up crying because writer Sarah Miller triggered their varicose vein shame. Or something.
Obviously, humor is subjective, especially when it comes to satire, which this piece aimed to be, and especially especially when it comes to maxi dress satire. What I found relatively hilarious about Miller’s piece, others clearly felt missed the mark. Such is life, moving on, right? Nope. Lord, I had no fucking clue ladies could get so fired up about a few extra feet of fabric! I mean, I knew men hated maxi dresses, but men are idiots when it comes to women’s clothes, also, most of them own cargo shorts so who gives a fuck what they think. But I was kind of surprised to see just how closely the maxi dress is linked to body image issues for a lot of the women responding to Miller’s piece in hurt and anger.
Miller is of the opinion that maxi dresses are pretty much hideous on everyone, and she goes into some detail about different body types that she thinks look particularly awful in them — busty, short, tall, flat-chested — which ruffled the feathers, of course, of busty, short, tall and flat-chested commenters who A) found her commentary to be “body-shaming” and B) possess that unique ability to make everything about them. I’ll just say that, as a woman with a small bust and relatively average height, who’s lazy about shaving except if I know for sure I’m going to get laid and don’t want to scratch my man up with my leg stubble, and who’s usually got a lot of random unsightly bruises from falling and bumping into shit, I love a maxi dress. It’s a nightgown that’s acceptable to wear in public and also makes it much harder for men to take upskirt photos. I wear a variety of maxi dresses both decisively flattering and not — because I’m not actually concerned with wearing flattering clothing ALL the time — and I was not offended by Miller’s piece. Here was my inner monologue upon finishing:
HA that was pretty funny, too bad this chick is crazy and is totally missing out. Fit and flare dresses are stupid. Oh well, more maxi dresses for me I guess. Ooh! Sale at Madewell, brb.
A lot of the commenters seem to think her “Death to the Maxi” decree is, like, serious, and that Sarah Miller actually wants to burn all the world’s maxi dresses. I don’t know her, but I doubt she actually cares that much about what other people wear and also probably would consider a giant maxi dress bonfire and worldwide ban to be both wasteful and fascist. Of course everyone should do whatever they want with their clothes and their hair and their makeup and stuff, but it is ALSO okay to have and express negative opinions about certain clothes, makeup, hairdos etc. Come on, seriously, how many of those same butthurt maxi dress worshipers also get a kick out of making fun of Shia LaBeouf’s mullet rat tail hairdo? (WHICH I HAPPEN TO THINK INCREASES HIS SEX APPEAL BY 100 PERCENT.)
I hate to be harsh, but if a humorously-intended (if not well-executed, because again, SUBJECTIVE) article on the internet about a style of dress makes you so upset that you’re crying or so angry that you’re flouncing, you might never want to leave the house again. I don’t care that Sarah Miller has hateful things to say about my closet full of maxis, I just care that she expresses her hate in a way that entertains me. And if she didn’t? Well, luckily there’s a lot of other things to read on the internet. We can’t expect writers, or really any stranger we don’t know, to treat us the way we expect our best friend to, i.e. to tell us we look good in everything and support all of our choices, and we certainly can’t actually expect them to never have opinions about something that, for whatever valid reason, is linked to something much deeper for you. If maxi dresses make you feel good, if they cover up a part of your body you’re insecure about, if they hide the fact that you have a reallllly ill-advised calf tattoo of a pig smoking a hookah, whatever, wear them and wear them with pride and also know that anyone who thinks you look stupid in a maxi dress probably has something in their closet that you think looks stupid on them, because that’s how the world works.
My point, if I have one, is that people should wear whatever they want regardless of whether someone else thinks it’s ugly or stupid or unflattering, because all of those things are totally subjective. For example, my personal favorite style of dress is basically a voluminous, shapeless sack with a hole for my head and two holes for my arms. I am pretty sure the vast majority of you would take one look at me in one of my oversized shmatas and helpfully suggest adding a belt. To which I would reply, “No thanks, I’m too busy eating another pretzel croissant and enjoying my bloated stomach’s freedom to luxuriate.” I’m also comfortable enough in and with my sack dresses to not be mad about your contrary opinions on them, hell, I might even enjoy your contrary opinions on my sack dresses if you expressed them in a sassy, funny, jokingly emphatic way. BECAUSE IT’S JUST A DRESS and there are more important things to be upset about, like the fact that we’ve all been supporting an insanely unethical industry every time we’ve sat down for a manicure. Also, more belts for you! Hooray!