Sherri Winans
Whatcom Community College
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K. Peirce
English 100
In-Class Essay

Cool Mommy

Bleached out faux hawk, purple mascara, blue lipstick, dingy wife beater, cut-off plaid old man pants, funky striped socks and a pair of black high top leather work boots was the look I sported before I became a mother. In George and Trimbur's chapter five, “Style,” they state that, “Style Identifies”—meaning, “…we acquire a sense of the style appropriate to different walks of life—how, for example, a high school teacher, a business executive, a truck driver, or a rock star ought to look” (251). Why does it seem that one’s fashion or particular style make us who we are? 

After giving birth to my daughter, I decided that I did not want to be labeled as some sort of “Gutter Punk Mother”; I changed my whole look. I wanted to fit in with all the other moms at toddler-time. I started growing my hair out, painting my toe nails, and wearing cute leather sandals that complemented my khaki Capri’s and button down fitted shirts.  It seemed as though I was finding my identity all over again.  I was a mom now; I needed to blend in to get some sort of respect in the world of motherhood. The funny thing is, that by changing my look, I noticed a huge difference in the way other mothers would interact with me; they actually would strike up unsolicited conversations with me, and it made me feel like I fit in.

Seventeen months have gone by now, and I have started to revolt back to my old identity. I wouldn’t say that I am back one hundred percent, but I am starting to feel a little rebellious. I am back to wearing my hair in a faux hawk (but, I have not bleached it out yet because I am pregnant). I am still keeping my Capri’s and button down shirts, but I will occasionally wear a colored ribbed tank-top. I am starting to get disapproving looks from other mothers all over again, it does not bother me as much now( I can do without their phony bologna unsolicited conversations). I would rather  spend my time talking to “original” and accepting people.

I was wondering where I got the notion that I needed to dress a certain way to portray the look of a “GOOD MOTHER,” anyway. Well, I was thumbing through one of my parenting magazines the other day when I realized that all the mothers in the magazine were all dressed the same—they all portrayed the look I had manipulated myself into. AH HA, I thought. I decided to go on the hunt for a picture of a mother that was wearing something alternative, but magazine after magazine I only came across one ad that displayed a tint of a mother living on the edge. In Novembers’ 2007 issue of Parenting magazine an advertisement for “Little Tummys” (122) depicts a mother squatting down in the grass grasping her toddler, she is wearing (of course) a pair of khakis, a button down shirt and (hold on to your hat) a pair of converse.

I have decided that it is my personal duty to exhibit a new fashion or style that is to become accepted in the near future. I refuse to trick myself back into believing that if I wear a certain style of clothing that it will mold me into the ideal mother. “All of these things matter because the styles we follow and products we use send messages about who we are. They're part of the identity kits we all put together to make up a self” (George and Trimbur  251). I have learned that trying to fit in only sends a false uncomfortable message, I need to feel comfortable in my own skin; I do not want to lose my true identity because I am being put in a box with all the other sheep. I have always stuck out like a sore thumb—that is just who I am. I am excited to slip back into my funky old man pants again.            

 

Works Cited

George, Diana and John Trimbur, eds. “ Style.” Introduction to Chapter 5. ReadingCulture. 6th ed. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2007.  250-252.

Little Tummys advertisement. Parenting Magazine. November 2007:122.

 

Copyright 2008
K. Peirce

 

Funded through the U.S. Dept. of Education, Title III Grant PO31A980143
Sherri Winans, Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA
1999-2015