I have to confess something. I don't wish I was living in the past.
I know, I know...the clothes were amazing, the music was fantastic, and the cars were the best, but here's the thing: I like civil rights. I like being able to go out and get a job and have a future that doesn't involve a husband, children, and endless laundry. I like being able to instantly connect with interesting people online and see what my old friends are up to. I like being able to vote. I like being able to wear what I want to wear when I want to wear it. And I like the freedoms that come with living in the 21st century.
Now here's a story.
One time I was wearing a 1950s dress, hat, and high heels, and I had a man tell me "I wish women still dressed like that." Now I like to think that he was simply complementing me on how I wear my clothes, but I heard something more in his voice. What was he saying?
Women in the 1950s had far fewer clothing choices then we are blessed with today. Undergarments were far from comfortable, and the "feminine shape" was created with weight gaining products, girdles, tightly laced waist-cinchers, and bras that aimed to please men.
Advertising told women that they were unattractive, shapeless, dumb, and thoroughly miserable unless they tried the magic vitamin, bra, dish soap, or lipstick. Then, maybe, they would attract a husband or keep the husband they have happy.
This is not what I love about the past. I love the aesthetic, the look, the clothes.
I love wearing vintage clothes because of how they make me feel. I love taking vintage-y photos because of how they make me feel. I like wearing vintage hairstyles because of how they make me feel.
I don't like the sexism and racism of the past.
I like living in this day and age because women have more rights than they did in the past. We still have a VERY long way to go in the fight for respect and equal rights, but what a long way we have come.
When that man said he wished women still dressed like they used to, I wonder if he knew the depth of what he was saying....Somehow I don't think he did.
So please, the next time you see someone wearing vintage, complement them on their rockin' style, don't tell them that you wish women still dressed like that.
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty happy with today's skinny jeans and birth control options.