The other day, while wearing an oversized T-shirt and Nike shorts, I read the column titled “Don’t short your identity.” As a sorority member, I was upset that I was being judged based on my wardrobe choices. It is bold to assume that all girls who wear this “uniform” conform to a certain personality and lifestyle.
Women all over campus wear this outfit for a variety of reasons. It is low-maintenance and convenient for the active lifestyle that Austin encourages, and it is comfortable, especially on hot days. These are all good reasons to wear shorts and baggy T-shirts, but it is also obvious to any observer that the “uniform” is a trend. In the ‘70s, people wore bell-bottom jeans to mimic stars like Farrah Fawcett. Women imitating Madonna in the ‘80s wore leg warmers and shoulder pads. In the ‘90s, women clothed themselves in accordance with the female cast members of the TV show ‘Saved By The Bell.’
Big shirts and Nike shorts fulfill a social role established long before our time. Trends in every generation reflect the styles of powerful and famous women. Big shirts and Nike shorts reflect the importance of comfort and the dedication women these days show to school and learning. The UT campus is not a runway; we should spend our time studying rather than shopping and preparing our identities for display.
College women of previous eras dressed to impress. Judging by the photos in old Cactus yearbooks, UT women appear to have spent a long time preparing their poufy hairdos and perfect outfits. I think it speaks volumes about the sense of self that college women on this campus have advanced that now we don’t feel the need to be ‘made-up’ at all times. The shorts and T-shirts suggest college women have grown more confident and are leading more independent, goal-driven lives. Beginning in the 21st century, women took on a new role in school and at work. We work hard and expect equality without handouts or special treatment. I wear loose-fitting clothes to demonstrate that I have more to offer than just my looks. I challenge people to see me for my mind, beliefs and ideas rather than the curves of my body or style of my clothes.
It is hypercritical to make assumptions, draw conclusions and criticize a group of people based on their apparel choices. Now, more than ever, women on this campus are proving they are individuals with unique characteristics and personalities. Have a problem with big T-shirts and Nike shorts? Don’t wear them. But don’t draw a conclusion about me and many others based on an outer appearance.
Grimes is a journalism freshman from Midland.