Woah, there. To say that there is a line drawn deep in the sand where girls who care about looking different are on one side, and everyone else is on the other, is obviously a generalization. And the problem with generalizations is they're not always true. Take one of my closest guy friends, whose go-to outfit is wearing skinny maroon cords and Bill Cosby sweaters to school, and whose backpack is covered in pins that say things like "I love NPR." From my experiences, however, he is one of few.
I go to a liberal private school in New York City, which is really community-based. My grade only has 60-something kids in it, which means that although I know virtually everyone in the school, at times it can feel really congested. This isn't exclusive to my school, or even teenagers, but the phrase "She's cute, but she'd be more guy-attractive if she didn't wear such weird clothes" gets thrown around a lot.
I think high school parties are the pinnacle of contrast in teenage dressing. I am kind of a party monster. No, really, a monster, because I have somehow failed to abide by what "normal people" wear to parties, or whatever that means. While the norm at the parties I go to is often girls wearing super-tight bandage dresses (which really just looked like a sea of colorful condoms), my go-to party outfit ends up including telephone barrette clips, a velvet turtleneck leotard tucked into some kind of skirt with chunky boots, or sometimes a mod dress with Mary Janes and a denim jacket. I think we often attribute sexuality to the former outfit I described, because, well, appearance-wise, that's a look that's all about overtly showing parts of the body. But just because I love dressing like I'm Lizzie McGuire with an injection of 1960's mod doesn't mean that society has the right to assume I am not interested in guy's opinions. Furthermore, just because I care about guy's opinions, doesn't make me any less of a feminist.
I think I'm just more idealistic. I imagine myself meeting a guy that thinks "that girl with the sushi earrings looks so intriguing, I bet she also has a dazzling personality to match!" But then I remember that most teenage boys I have encountered have little to no interest in watching Portlandia or my knowledge of pop art, or how I know exactly where and when all the good food carts in New York will be.
This causes me to wonder -- why is it that guys get so turned off by girls with their own sense of style? Is it a misogynist thing, that they can't handle being with girls who aren't subscribing to the conformist dress code set by the "popular" kids? Or is it something else? And then, if I want to go really into it like, WHAT EVEN ARE "NORMAL" CLOTHES? These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.
While I don't actually know the answers to these questions, I do know there is some kind of double standard at play here. I can get as frustrated as I want about being judged by guys, but just as much as they judge me, I judge them. Only maybe not as overtly.
For example, my friends and I always use the shoe test as infallible way to judge. If I meet someone cute but then he is wearing Nike sneakers, I make assumptions that he is extremely into sports and therefore we won't have much in common. So, there you go! I am just as guilty as the next guy. Oh my god, I am so punny, guys!
Anyway, I hope this opens up some kind of forum to discuss some of the questions I posed. Because, like I said, I obviously don't have all of the answers.