Do (What Is True To) You

by • December 14, 2012 • BC Life, FeaturedComments (34)1442

Something troublesome caught my attention this morning, and I’ve since been persuaded to write this article, despite the three finals and two papers looming over my head. Like most college students, I enjoy procrastinating a lot, but this doesn’t even fall under that category – I’m simply bothered.

My good friend Joe Boys directed me to the Twitter account @BCFashionPolice, and as a fairly avid Twitter user, I was glad to oblige. I began reading through this dubious entity’s tweets with increasing dismay and disgust at their haste to judge others based on something so superficial as attire, the venom of their rhetoric, their promotion of conformity and blatant contempt of individuality.

Boasting 383 followers at time of writing, BC Fashion Police aren’t entirely mistaken about matters of mere aesthetic: I neither consider “a [Victoria’s Secret] Pink sweatshirt paired with Pink sweatpants tucked into Uggs” to be an inviting outfit. But while my (and most sane people’s) cognitive and emotional involvement in the matter would end with the inclination to not don such an ensemble, BCFP consider it an outrage worthy of weeping (“… like exams didn’t make me want to cry enough”) and explicit vilification. In another tweet, they rant, “There aren’t enough words to describe my hatred for the girl in the orange fuzzy hoodie, sparkly blue Uggs, and neon yellow jeans/vest combo,” clearly underscoring the purpose of the account – “hatred.”

Indeed, this body of self-proclaimed fashion experts who have gratuitously commissioned themselves with a most unnecessary mission seems to take real pleasure in maligning people. One scathing tweet reads, “That pink cheetah print top really compliments [sic] your pink highlights!! Kool-Ade [sic] dye job?? You just ooze class.” BCFP appear very concerned with “class,” and though I don’t claim to comprehend their conception of it, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t consist of unprovoked spite, pointless abuse, or failure to master the distinction between “compliment” and “complement.”

They truly take their enterprise seriously – not even professors are safe from their tweeted disapproval: “Alright teachers you’ve gone too long without being called out. Get rid of the muumuus, rapist glasses and ill-fitting pants. PLEASE.” I find incredulous their enormous disrespect for professors, who are much more learned and wiser than students; and who, for our benefit, devote a significant portion of their endeavors to our edification. I personally don’t care if my professors come to class in capes so long as I learn from them, and in fact, I’m glad that my 65-year-old professor has enough (fashion) sense to not wear tight pants. And since I don’t know where (or whether) I should even start with BCFP’s use of the term “rapist glasses,” this will have to suffice: that’s all sorts of totally fucked-up.

Occasionally BCFP peppers their overwhelming negativity with “propz” like, “Thank you to the kind/informed souls who are brightening up this day with an array of rainbow [sic] Hunters #props,” “Propz to this betch in matching Burberry headband and jacket. A pleasant surprise from [sic] the drab Mac crowd,” and “I applaud (and thank) all of you sensible enough to sport Barbour jackets and classic Sperry’s.” I am skeptical of BCFP’s ability to deduce what being “kind”, “informed” or “sensible” might entail, but apparently wearing Hunter rain boots, Barbour jackets or Sperry Top-Siders are weighty considerations. I also remain unconvinced that any matchy-matchy getup (Burberry or otherwise) ever presents itself as a “pleasant surprise.” These few laudatory tweets are laden with grossly materialistic brand name-dropping and promote conformity to a preppy uniform at a place that is in no need of such encouragement.

I love BC, but one of the things that bothered me as a freshman (and does still, though I’ve now come to terms with it) is the homogeneity of the student body. Statistically, we are diverse enough, but a glance at social circles and friend groups reveals just how much the vast majority of us tend to befriend those who come from very similar backgrounds as we do. Of course, this is a natural phenomenon whereby we instinctively gravitate towards people who are like us – in personality, cultural background, athletic commitment, faith, place of origin, random interests, dress, socioeconomic background, lifestyle, musical taste, race, ethnicity, language, vernacular, sexual orientation, and everything else – and it’s certainly not a bad thing in itself.

I don’t think I’m mistaken in saying that one of the largest groups on campus (or perhaps most visible because of its recognizability) consists of the archetypal BC undergraduate: white, wealthy, and preppy. This, too, is okay; there’s nothing wrong with many white, wealthy and preppy individuals being here. But few will deny that our student body, on the whole, seems to embrace conformity. Sometimes when I watch people while walking around campus, there’s a palpable air of wanting to belong – to fit in. We are unnerved by the unusual. And this is where the dominant BC culture turns problematic: when a few haughty people are so emboldened by their membership in the archetypal group that they begin to impose their ideas on others in a hateful spirit of contempt, derision, and disregard for individuality.

From their cowardly refuge of online anonymity, BC Fashion Police aims to undermine students’ freedom to dress however they please, advocating conformity in the most vigorous and obvious sense. They venerate brands, of all feeble things, and go so far as to urge, “Ladies: Stop wearing boys [sic] clothes. You’re not fooling anyone. We know you don’t have a boyfriend and you got that sweater from TJMaxx [sic].” Pause. For a just moment, let’s relish the immaturity and utter misery spewing from the proverbial mouth of this pathetic council of pitiable individuals, because no self-assured person would have neither motive nor strength for such exhausting negativity and hate.

Now, there is the highly implausible defense that the creators of BCFP intended the whole thing as a joke. In this case, I would like to tell them: if you, after reading this article and comprehending the scope of your absurdity, would now like to declare it a parody, I’m overjoyed. Your creative energies would be put to doubly better use elsewhere – perhaps towards a more complete mastery of grammar and diction. I hope you know what “[sic]” means, and that I used them judiciously, not maliciously. Getting over your professor’s muumuu so you can listen to her rather than “splitting [your] time in lecture between judging [other’s] outfits and online shopping” may also help, although I see you are “#sorrynotsorry.” (Aside: I beg you to never use that last phrase again – it is the sorriest.) Lastly, in case you think I’m just a *~HaTeR~*, I own Hunter boots (which I fear wearing here) and a tattered Barbour jacket (which I wear a great deal). It’s your attitude I have a problem with, not your clothes.

Finally, to the virtuous readers who have not recently taken to cyberspace as a hostile outlet for their unsatisfying lives, I would like to raise a proverbial toast to what is, undeniably, your own unique sense of fashion. The only person you should aim to please through your wardrobe is yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you care a lot about your attire or not at all – the people worthy of your acquaintance and friendship will judge you on the kindness of your heart and goodness of your character, not on the kinds of clothes you’re wearing (except maybe if they are extremely soiled or torn beyond recognition). Let’s take the spawning of BC Fashion Police as an opportunity to remind one another and ourselves that, although we often instinctively pass superficial judgments, we must carry on – more so than ever – striving for an environment that celebrates differences as a testament to individuality, and values nothing more than the integrity of someone’s character. You are you, and there is only one of you – so, do (what is true to) you.

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34 Responses to Do (What Is True To) You

  1. Jacob McEwen says:

    Let the haters hate, and the rest debate.

  2. Christian Montalvo Christian Montalvo says:

    This is awesome. I had no idea BCFP existed. What a bunch of losers.

  3. Jeff says:

    This is very well written and I couldn’t agree more. Hope that BCFB sees it

  4. BLM says:

    Cowards hide behind the veil of anonymity . The BCFP sound like a sorry group of such losers.

  5. BCguy says:

    The fact you use [sic] so much to undermine the authors, and point out its excessive use, proves that you are just as pretentious as the BCFP. Congratulations you fit in.

    • Joshua Jackson says:

      I agree with you 100%. Writing a grammatically correct article is SO pretentious. Makes me sic.

    • Bryan J Cardillo says:

      Dear ‘BCguy’,

      Are you seriously proud that you just said that? Success in life comes from listening and constructing, not tearing down for the sake of it.

      Dear Jessica,

      I wish your words could be broadcast even further. I’ll do my best with social media.

      Thanks,
      A man for others (BC alum.)

  6. Sophia says:

    This is everything I have ever wanted to say. I’m stoked to find that someone else feels the same way. AMAZING

  7. Junior says:

    Finally!!! An argument everyone can read. You wrote eloquently what everybody has been saying and thinking. I hope BCFP see this and delete the account

  8. BCguy says:

    As much as you guys feel oppressed by the BC stereotype you have no obligation to follow it, nor listen to a twitter handle labelled the “fashion police”. I wouldn’t judge the merit of an opinion on its grammatical correctness, just as you shouldn’t judge an opinion because it disagrees with yours. I really don’t think the “preps” are coercing anyone to agree with their fashion sense. The amount of complaining about their opinions just reinforces their significance to you. If you honestly didn’t want their approval you would ignore it and move on.

    Also an alum,
    BCguy

    • yoonicorn says:

      BC Guy,
      Thanks for clarifying your previous comment.
      I wasn’t aware I had found fault with BCFP’s opinions because of their divergence from my own. The whole point of my article was to draw attention to the hateful nature of their tweets. I don’t consider these people’s opinions significant to me personally, but their anonymous yet public attacks of something so immaterial as other’s clothing choices born from an undue sense of superiority, and their perpetuation and normalization of the squareness at BC irks me. They strike me as overwhelmingly negative, abusive and unnecessary. Nowhere did I claim that there was any kind of coercion involved – just that this “Fashion Police” account deserved a clear voice of opposition. I went to a New England boarding prep school and by no means am a newcomer to the preppiness at BC (high school was far preppier), and I don’t feel “oppressed by” anyone here, much less by the people behind BCFP. I am simply trying to rectify what I believe was, prior to this article’s publication, a one-sided, ignorant and obnoxious discourse generated by BCFP.

    • BCgirl says:

      BCguy, it seems as if you missed the point of the whole article, try giving it another read — Well done jessica!

    • Andy says:

      if you could go ahead and point out a single coercion accusation, that would terrific, OK?

  9. John says:

    I get what your saying (at least I think I do), but I think there are probably bigger fish to fry out there than a parody twitter handle about ill-advised fashion choices on the Boston College campus… It is clearly being done in jest is not? They are simply trying to amuse their followers, no one has to observe it. Let’s all just pick our battles. I do find it pretty funny that you employ [sic] to correct Tweets though, I don’t even think Obama employs perfectly constructed syntax when delivering his messages to the Twitterverse (I know that’s not a real word, I hope you can forgive me).

  10. BCgal says:

    After reading this, I actually wasted my time by reading up on @BcFashionPolice ‘s tweets and I am utterly shocked at the amount of hate on there. Joke or no joke, there’s a fine line.

  11. BCJuniorWoman says:

    This article is amazing! Your comment that, “there’s a palpable air of wanting to belong – to fit in. We are unnerved by the unusual,” resonates with me immensely. If more people called attention to this awkwardness that each of us pretends to ignore, more individuals might be persuaded to not only come to terms with how distracting and uncomfortable it is but also stop feeling like they have to abide by it. Instead, there seems to be a larger effort to avoid the awkwardness that comes from when we do reveal this hierarchy. When we stop being accepting and followers of nasty these nasty influences, we give them nothing to hide behind. This article is so inspirational in that it reminds those of us who don’t want to enable or have our community defined by these nasty influences that we are not only not alone and certainly not on a bad path.

  12. Adam says:

    this is all kinds of awesome

  13. Kudzai says:

    Dope article. Jess highlights a lot of truths about BC culture. Alum or current undergrads who fail to see the validity of her argument are living in a fantasy world. #wakeup

  14. BCseniorWomanizer says:

    And for the record, the author has way more swagger than these Burberry, Hunter/Uggs, J.Crew/Madewell loving hoes. Females around here compensate for their sub-par beauty with expensive clothing. Ducks on a pond…bunch of frauds

  15. BCfreshmen says:

    I completely agree! I’ve been ranting about this twitter account for the past couple days. It’s so incredibly hateful and superficial and it’s clear that the people behind it have nothing better to do with their time than to criticize others for something as meaningless as clothing. But for the record, some people actually like dressing preppy, and it doesn’t make them conformist if they like J. Crew. And to that last comment, so uncalled for. You’re being just as hateful as BC Fashion Police.

  16. Mike says:

    This is extremely well written and insightful towards the kind of culture that I hate to admit exists at BC. I did not know of this @BCFP before reading this but I’m sorry to admit that I am not surprised such an outlet was created by BC students. I hope this article can shed some light on the problems that exist in BC’s social culture and sway the few who engage in such activities to channel their interests elsewhere.

  17. TheBeardedOne says:

    This makes me miss the BC Sartorialist. Remember him? Celebrating creativity and individuality with every post. I think that’s a much more constructive way to approach fashion, rather than shitting on those who don’t meet the standards of the Fashion Police.

  18. Christian Bellina says:

    You know this could have been a witty handle with genuinely good advice, BUT instead it’s a group of people using an anonymous forum to make fun of their peers for not meeting their personal expectations.

    Notice the derision of “lower brands” such as JCPenney, Aeropostale, etc. Or the way they make fun of Wal-Mart etc. God forbid a student wasn’t privileged enough to have their parents take them to Nordstrom.

    It’s just sheltered over-privileged kids being sheltered over-privileged kids.

    Having worked around high fashion for a long time, one thing I learnt is that the most successful designers see fashion as a way to help people. They see fashion as a way to make someone feel comfortable and empowered as they go around their day, not as some sort of exclusive code separating those “in” from those “out”.

    Notice how they never talk about what constitutes good fashion. After all that would open them to being judged, it’s a lot easier to sit back and criticize.

    If the people behind this twitter account really cared about fashion rather than berating others for not conforming to their opinion of what looks good maybe they’d notice that as well.

  19. Kim Avon says:

    BCFP is a form of cyber bullying.

  20. ButtHurt says:

    The time committed to writing this hypocritical article is saddening. “‘Do what is true to you’, unless it hurts my feelings.” is a more appropriate title. Just as people are entitled to express their individuality through clothing and appearance, the BCFP is entitled to share its opinion on this self-expression(even if the purpose of the account was NOT for laughs). By this logic I am unable to criticize your outlook on the twitter account nor your decision to spend time writing this. However, in the process of exposing a “conformist” group of twitter hatemongers,albeit superficially noble, you are following in their footsteps. This article is an attempt to collect and direct hate at something that is entirely the reader’s decision to experience or not. The self-assured would have simply not followed this twitter handle, rather than seek reassurance by writing such a pretentious account. This is why adderall and studying should not be introduced to twitter.

    • BCDerp says:

      Dude I think you’re missing a point here too. Expressing individuality through clothing and appearance is one thing, where as what BCFP is doing is judging others and spreading negativity. Sure, people are entitled to their own opinions and are free to criticize something that they do not agree with, but there is a fine line between being constructive and being just plain obnoxious. Unlike BCFP, the author here points out that even though there is a sort of conformity on campus, there is nothing wrong with it.

      What is the focus here is that there are a group of misguided individuals blatantly spreading hate and judgement. I do feel that this article is quite scathing and hate is something that can be spread out of control too easily, but there comes a time when we draw a line and stand up against something that is wrong. And that time is now. People aren’t appalled by this twitter account because they feel insecure about being judged – rather, I’m sure many are self-assured and are simply shocked by how pointless and offensive it is. This is about doing the right thing: we can’t let people go around believing that this kind of thinking is perfectly justifiable.

      Then again, you and BCguy seem to hold to your beliefs strongly that there is nothing wrong with this and I doubt responding to it will change your way of thinking (heck I just wrote a long-ass reply so I doubt you’d even read this). I just hope you’ll have the common sense to be able to avoid publicly blurting out such nonsense as this in the future for your own sakes.

      And to the author, thank you for writing such a great article. You’ve done something bold by choosing to stand up against something that is clearly wrong (and even devoted your precious finals preparation time). I’m really grateful to know that there are people like you (and all the others who stand against dumb shit like this) who attend (or have attended) this campus with me.

  21. ButtHurt says:

    have you heard of something called comedy? I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with BCFP because it is comedy. Those who it offends need to work on some thicker skin. This is all the result of the “no losers” attitude that has swept america. No one can take a joke or handle criticism. Not good for the future of this country.

  22. really? says:

    ButtHurt, you strike me as the type of person who appreciates humor in the form of thinly guised racist jokes and the likes. What she is saying is that while BCFP may be a joke, it is a result of a much bigger issue prevalent in the BC community.

  23. IncomingFresh(wo)man says:

    I wasted my time reading ALL of BCFashionPolice’s tweets, and as an incoming freshman that frequently wears clothing that is unacceptable by their standards, I have made it a mission to make my own fashion sense known next year. I believe that fashion is a personal choice, and while I do agree that some fads are better left in the past, singling people out because their outfit doesn’t work with your personal tastes is insane. This is a great article Jessica, and anyone that thinks it is in any way hypocritical or malicious is clearly under-educated and similarly-minded to the “Fashion Police” themselves. And also, in response to ButtHurt… can I call you a disgusting piece of filth that isn’t worth anyone’s time? Because, if you stand by your own statement, I’m “entitled to share [my] opinion on [your] self-expression.”

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