Have you ever worried about the messages you’re sending with your dress sense, hair style, tattoos or piercings?
I’m not entirely sure that ‘worried’ is the right word but I am certainly very aware. When I got my nose pierced, I weighed up the whole range of judgements that would come my way – and that would probably never be verbalised – because of a tiny stud in my left nostril.
Same goes for tattoos. I love them but they are fraught with semiotic confusion. Some people think bikies, others think hipsters and some just think regret. For me, it all comes down to the individual; the person underneath the artwork.
Our appearance is loaded with meaning because of the unconscious social cues embedded in our choices. I cut off my hair because it was damaged but in doing so, I honestly thought, ‘Well, there’s another nail in my spinsterhood coffin’. Same goes with my propensity for comfortable shoes and love of cardigans.
I know I could manipulate my appearance to make myself more appealing to a mass market but I also think it would great to have an appreciative niche market that is all about my special combination of whatever you call this.
Should we care about the message our appearance sends or should we reveal ourselves to the world, to hell with the consequences?