Often during a 20 minute solo time at lunch, I pull up a “news” feed and scroll through the headlines as I slurp my soup.  I say “news” feed because my site of choice is more likely to lead off with Kardashians than ISIS.  I skip the Ks, but I do gravitate toward the lighter fare – the personal interest stories.  I especially find myself drawn to the slideshow features:

“15 Cutest Dog Breeds”

“25 Actors Who Died Too Young”

“20 Amazing Acts of Kindness”

But then there are these:

“Awkward Family Photos”

“Cringeworthy Prom Pictures”

“The World’s Ugliest Wedding Dresses”

I tried clicking on those, but the first “awkward” photo I saw was a professional portrait.  The family sat for that, chose it, paid for it.  What made it “awkward” to the editor of the slideshow was the fact that it was an “ugly” family all dressed alike.

Wait.

First – how did somebody get that picture? Good grief, if my fifth grade portrait is floating around out there somewhere… I can’t even…

Second – who declared that picture ugly, cringeworthy or awkward? Who decides that?

So okay, I wouldn’t have chosen that wedding dress.  My own wedding dress would no doubt cause some noses to lift and eyes to roll, but I adored it.

I find it amazing that we think we have a right to judge. I used to do coffee at a bookstore cafe with a friend, let’s call her Fran. In the middle of a conversation, I would stop when I detected a tell-tale gleam in her eye.

“Did you bring the ticket book?” she would ask. That meant someone was approaching from behind me in some sort of Fran-unapproved outfit. Fran was the “fashion police.”  Get it?  Ticket book… cute, huh.

So the clothes don’t match, don’t fit, are too “out there,” are too worn… Perhaps the first question should be, “Why?”

*It’s all she can afford.

*She’s recently gained/lost weight and hasn’t been able to buy anything new.

*She’s limited to what the Red Cross or the Salvation Army or the battered women’s shelter provides.

*She simply doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.

Now, if Fran had showed up for coffee in that get-up, that would merit a fashion police ticket.  Because she would never.  I mean never. (I saw women stop her on the sidewalk to tell her how pretty her hair was.) (Not intimidating at all.)

And that’s the key, isn’t it.  She wouldn’t dress like that. Therefore, in her world, dressing like that is unacceptable.

One editor found some mother’s child ugly because it wasn’t her child. Another can trash that wedding gown because she would never buy it.

Of course, there are always those who go over the top just to be over the top. Their goal is met if someone whips out the ticket book.

But that “ugly” family in that “awkward” photo? That bride in that “cringeworthy” wedding gown? To you I say:  Lift your head up! When your Daddy looked at you – at the person He created – He smiled, nudged the nearest angel, and said, “Now that’s beautiful!”

Judge THAT, fashion police.

 

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