I heard the news about Aqsa Parvez in the paper on Tuesday Dec 11th. That same morning I had an argument with my son about what was appropriate to wear to go to his field trip outing to the theatre. Now, I hope I can get some of the following ideas down without sounding ridiculous in my comparison of a trivial argument about fashion with my son to the tragic murder of the Muslim girl who wanted to be normal and not wear her hijab. There are few reasons I can think of why we wear what we do.
- We want to look cool | sexy | elegant | wealthy | stylish to attract the opposite sex (and differentiating yourself from the other neanderthals drinking Labbat's Blue beside you).
- We want to wear something that makes us look different.
- We want to wear something that makes us fit in and look "normal".
What's perhaps missing here is another angle, one where you gain respect and credibility for being different or not going with the trend or the norm. There are some famous people that became famous for this very reason, whether that be Andy Warhol, Boy George or Johnny Cash. But many of us, gain respect from simply having credibility in our jobs and pursuits. When first impressions count, appearing and sounding like we belong is the easiest and quickest way to that credibility and respect.
With kids, although our best intentions and ideologies promote independent thinking for our children, we can't help it, but we know they are a reflection of us. They reflect how you have raised them and what your ideals may be. Is that fair, perhaps not, but it's understandable.
In most cases, people simply disagree with the grades of appropriateness, i.e one person cringes at the idea of wearing jeans and running shoes to a business meeting, while another may be ok with jeans for a visiting California exec with a nice pair of shoes. In in most cases, these disagreements are harmless. It's when extreme reactions (religious and fanatical, e.g. football hooligan team colours) exceed common sense that we should perhaps take note of.