So an interesting discussion chain got started on The Book the other day that caught my attention. Normally, I would put in my two cents and move on. Unless it's on my personal page where I would expound more. But when the discussion is on somewhat else's page and I feel myself starting to get pulled into a more opinionated stance, I digress. I don't take that to other people's pages. That is the precise reason I have a blog. To give myself that voice.
It all stemmed from the monthly photos I did as part of my monthly gig with First Fridays. What you see here is naturally not that photo. What you see here is Beyonce wearing where the bottom portion of her outfit is very similar to what was being discussed. I didn't want to put the young "lady" in my photo on blast so I didn't post the actual photo here. Even though, technically, this entire article is doing just that. Kinda. And just to be on the safe side, I deleted it from the gallery on The Book so you can't see it there. But you can still see it on my website gallery if you know where you're looking. Shh! You didn't hear it from me.
Anyways, the question that was raised was are pants optional for women at "professional urban networking social events". It was actually a hypothetical question because the author has already assumed it was yes based on what the picture portrayed. A very interesting point to bring up indeed as it addressed a couple of things that needed to be mentioned. However, it was still a misrepresentation of sorts which I will explain...
First of all, the problem is that many folks that attend First Fridays no longer see it as a "professional urban networking social event". That was definitely the intention when it was initially started here in Des Moines nearly two years ago. Since then, people have started to view it as more of a monthly club outing instead. It doesn't matter what time it starts, they wouldn't show up until the normal club hours (i.e., post-11pm) because they know it goes until 2am.
Now the problem with that is when people have that mindset, they also dress accordingly for that atmosphere. They're not going to have on the gear that you would wear to an after-work drink social. They are going to wear the clothes that you would wear if you were going out to the club to get your groove on. That particular look is going to vary depending on what age group you are dealing with. Therein lies another part of the problem.
The crowd that has been flocking to the First Fridays scene has typically been the twentysomethings. This generation doesn't dress like we did when we were that age. Just as we didn't dress like the generation before us did when we were that age and you could say that on down the line. But in this case, this generation tends to emulate what they see on television. They see folks like Nikki Minaj, Rihanna, and yes, even Beyonce, wearing gear that looks like they are wearing no pants when they're on stage. They think the look is hot so of course they're going to wear it in the club.
I know what you're thinking...can't they differentiate between what's performance attire and what's normal kick it gear? I mean it's not like you would see Beyonce wearing those outfits when she's out. Conversely, when we were that age we would see folks like Larry Blackmon wearing huge nut cups when he performed but it's not as if we were going to sport it when we went out. But some folks in this generation apparently don't rationalize things in the same manner. That's just the culture we live in.
The biggest issue at hand which gets overlooked is the example that's not being set. The reason why the scene at First Fridays changed to folks in that type of attire is because the urban professionals as a whole weren't supporting it en masse. Sorry to say it, but it's the truth. There are enough urban professionals in Des Moines that could come out and easily outnumber the fashion faux pas crowd. More than enough. They could be setting the fashion example. The professional example. They're simply not doing it. Had they supported in the same numbers that the fashion faux pas folks did, this wouldn't even be a discussion.