• One Minnesota Writer

Where Do You Look for Validation?

Often, one of the best things about writing a blog is the occasional email from someone I’ve never met. Yesterday’s email was from someone named Chelsea at a beta site called Lookville. She was, “super impressed,” by my blog’s design and content, which I’m pretty sure she tells everyone to whom she sends invitations to check out Lookville. I didn’t have all that much to do with my blog’s design, given the nature of setting up blogs on Blogger, and I know my content is a little hit-and-miss as I work to figure out something worth talking about every week. But, in spite of the fact that her comment was something I’d expect to see in my daughter’s high school year book, it gave me a laugh and I visited Lookville to see what they were all about. Chelsea would be super delighted to know I followed her link.

Lookville is a site about fashion. Those of you out there who spend your days at home writing have a good chance of having a wardrobe a lot like mine: jeans, t-shirts, boots for cold weather, flip flops for warm. An occasional dog hair. Black t-shirts for the days I have to go somewhere. I alternately grimaced and laughed as I poked around the site and wondered what they’d recommend for someone like me. It looks like most of the users are women under the age of 25, so I’m clearly outside their main audience. Not that it doesn’t occasionally occur to me that I could probably clean up once in a while. 

The home page shows thumbnail photos of women (I didn’t see any men, but there doesn’t seem to be any requirement) alongside questions such as: Do you like this dress? Do people still wear all black? Would this look better with a crinoline? Does my dog go with these boots? Okay, maybe not that last question. At least not today. But I did see, “What kind of top  should I ware?” Yes, ware, not wear. And that pretty much did it for me. Everything I clicked on brought up a page full of fashion questions from young women who either had no one to ask (in which case, this site might be a nice thing) or nothing better to do (like learn how to spell). But my overwhelming feeling was one of sadness that such a need for validation – yes, you’re pretty – still exists in spite of the best efforts of feminists everywhere.  

Then again, don’t we all want validation for whatever it is we do? It’s not just the clothes we wear or the haircut we got last week. It’s also the poetry we write, the art we produce, the books we read, the clubs we join…..all of it ripe for the chance for someone else to tell us that we’re doing something right. A chance to make us feel good about ourselves so we can carry on with the idea that we’re worth something. Sure, the people who use and will use Lookville are mostly a different group than the one I’m in. So what? I’d love to think that my own daughter will find her self-worth through something other than the outfits she wears, but who am I to deny that she might feel wonderful when someone tells her she looks great? As long as that’s not all she hears. As long as she knows she can look great and still be either productive or useless.

So, Chelsea, I guess you did me a favor. Your site’s not for me, but you made me super aware that I need to compliment my daughter on what she does more often than on what she wears. 

DO A KIND THING LINK Since we’re talking about fashion versus validation, here’s one way to combine the two. All those old clothes you no longer wear can do some good. You probably know that. So why not donate them today? Here’s something to get you started. Charity Guide has a page in their “How to Make a Difference in 15 Minutes” section about donating clothing for women. Find it here. Schools are for girls too: Creating an environment of validation (SD publication series)

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