Femme (Fashion) Fatalities

(Mad Men / AMC)

Tabitha Blankenbiller was in line for a ride at Disneyland when the woman in front of her decided to criticize her ’50s-style dress, telling Tabitha, “We fought for years so you didn’t have to dress like that.” She describes the incident and its aftermath in an essay in The Rumpus. It may be just one incident in a lifetime of appearance-shaming, but it was one she hasn’t forgotten.

Just like I have never forgotten the coworker that said my cat-patterned high heels were “too much to stomach,” or the random woman at the Portland farmer’s market who marveled at how “tacky” I looked in a Halloween-themed skirt while I was just trying to bag some artisanal Fuji apples.

I want to give these women the benefit of the doubt, a courtesy they failed to extend to me. It could be terrifying, after all, to be in Frontierland with its shooting gallery and racks of cowboy hats, dirt paths, wooden sidewalks, and canyon sight lines obscuring Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Space Mountain, while the president and his administration were steamrolling women’s rights back to the 1860s. She may have just finished reading about Oklahoma Republicans passing legislation requiring that women secure a man’s permission to obtain abortion services when she found herself lost in the Old West. A woman in line wearing opening day throwback attire may have been too much to handle.

“Or maybe she was just a bitch,” Matt said.

And yeah. Maybe she was just a fucking bitch.

Read the essay