Music festival fashion has its own style.
If you were one of the 30,000 people who attended One Night Stand recently you would know what I’m talking about.
As I sat on the grass, using my raincoat as a blanket, gloves on, hat to protect me from sunburn and five layers of clothing, I was intrigued by the choice of clothing by many in attendance.
Award for innovation went to the gentleman with the coat made of teddy bears.
The mums and dads in the audience came prepared – tarps, picnic rugs, bags of snacks. They were the envy of the many who stood in line for two hours for food.
There were some double takes on my end as I was convinced some of the young women weren’t wearing clothes. But, alas, it was nude stockings paired with a t-shirt.
By the end of the evening, as I waited behind the wheel for two hours to make my way out of St Helens to Bicheno, I started to become really angry.
Why were the young women wearing such revealing clothes? Why did they feel the pressure to do so?
It started a conversation in the car where my friend and I agreed that if we were ever to have daughters we would raise them to be fierce women who would be free to be themselves. Magazines or television wouldn’t define their beauty. Instead their strength, intelligence and personality would be the topic of conversation, rather than what they wore.
And then it hit me. While on a rant about female empowerment, I was being anti-feminist.
I had assumed that the women at the concert felt pressured to wear what they donned. That they felt like they were conforming to the norms of a festival and not being true to themselves. Perhaps they didn’t care they would be freezing once the sun went down. Maybe I was the only one giving these thoughts any oxygen.
For the past week, I’ve been wondering if you can be a strong woman who empowers others, while at the same time criticising choices of other women for perceived common good?
I’ve arrived at an answer of yes. But, and it is strong but, the criticism must be placed on society and not the women.
There shouldn’t be room for any doubt that women are not being true to themselves. That they are dressing or behaving in a certain way because this is what society – through reality television and Hollywood - tells them is the definition of beautiful or normal. We need to just be – without fear of someone, like me, judging you.