A View from Within: Ahyiana Angel Speaks
A. To me, I understood what she was saying. Social media gives a way for people to see people in a way that they want to be seen. It gives you a different sense of what’s the norm and people can be influenced by that. It seems that the more popular people are, the more scantily clad their clothing is.
For myself personally, I don’t dress one specific way. If I had to classify myself I would say it depends on my mood, but I do tend to lean toward a more conservative style. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to wear certain things; my father didn't allow it. I couldn’t wear midriffs. I couldn’t wear anything with my cleavage hanging all out. I dressed in what I was comfortable in and what I thought was cute.
Q. What do you think motivated your father’s need for you to dress conservatively?
A. Him not wanting me to fall into a certain category knowing that as a young woman I wasn’t aware of certain stereotypes of dressing a certain way. He didn’t want people to put me in certain boxes. I also wasn’t allowed to wear make up--his main thing was being age appropriate.
Q. Do you agree with his perspective?
A. I didn’t agree when I was a kid. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I wasn’t the type to sneak out and change my clothes. I do agree with dressing age appropriate. As a teenager, you shouldn’t have things hanging out. It’s also a respect thing. Unfortunately, there’s a negative connotation about certain attire. You can come into a room and be dressed in a short short mini skirt and a midriff top and you can be the most eloquent [person], you’re still going to face a whole new hurdle. Why create that extra hurdle for yourself especially if it’s not being true to who you are. As long as you’re being true to who you are, I think that’s important as well.
When you’re on your own and its your down time, who cares about the hurdle. I’m more so talking about in a situation where you’re trying to get something. You’re going to get judged.
Q. What do you think about when you get dressed?
A. I don’t ever think about how a man or society thinks I should dress when I get dressed; it’s about how I feel. It’s more so not necessarily getting dressed for other people, but its about yourself. [Dressing nowadays] has to do with not being secure with yourself and not doing for yourself what you need to.
Q. Do you agree with Curry?
A. I do interpret it the same way. I think there’s only so much to be said in the message she said. Social media influences the way people present themselves. People are trying to be the Beyonce’s or Nicki Minajs not realizing they’re entertainers. Having worked at the NBA [I know] there may be more to what she said and why. I’m not a married woman but there are things you should keep up with when you’re someone’s wife. Your commentary and the single woman’s perspective. She has a role model situation that she has to tend to. When I get dressed, I’m not worried about who’s looking at me or someone’s kids. They should be looking at her. She wasn’t trying to judge women, I think it’s that she’s someone’s wife and someone’s mother and saying who she needs to be.
Q. As a woman who’s someone’s mother, do you think that should change the way you dress?
A. If you’re growing as a woman, it just will change. It probably will evolve and change as you get into different roles like being a wife and mother. It varies based on the woman, but the average woman might do a nude spread to celebrate her body until she becomes a mother; it will change based on [what] she wants.
Q. What sort of correlation do you think exists between the way you dress and how you feel about yourself?
A. There’s a correlation between the two. Some may be frumpy and it speaks to their personalities and their self confidence. There usually is a correlation between how much skin you show and those who don’t. You’ll find that those who dress scantily want the attention. If you get to the honest truth of things, there’s a reason that people want a certain type of attention.
Moderation and balance matter when dressing. I wouldn’t have cleavage out and a super short skirt.
Q. What do you think exists in society that makes women able to use dress as a means of getting attention?
A. It goes back to whether they want the acceptance or approval--what they want or are seeking from a man. If someone made you feel like you weren’t fly enough or beautiful enough...a lot of times it can be drawn back to men and whether there’s an attraction there or not. Generally; this is not the case for everyone.
Q. Why is the way women dress a societal issue?
A. It’s because, whether we like it or not, there’s judgment and norms in the states and other countries. It’s American culture to question women, their purpose, their intentions, their worth. A woman shouldn’t feel like they’re asking to be raped if they’re wearing a short skirt.
Everybody has their biases and their ideas that they come into situations with and their experiences. You’re never going to be able to please everybody. We’ve evolved to a place where women are taking control of their image--different social norms that go on. Society can put stuff on you, but they can only put on you what you allow them to put on you too.
Q. How should women dress?
A. However they feel they would be comfortable. When you walk into a room, you have to be comfortable, you have to own it.
Ahyiana Angel is a sassy storyteller and a former sports entertainment publicist at the National Basketball Association (NBA). Her debut novel, Preseason Love, was published by Simon & Schuster. Ups and downs with love, career and friendships inspired her to create a lane of her own with the popular website LifeAccordingToHer, where she is the Chief Encourager. LATH Media promotes a community of women supporting women and encouraging each other in life, business, and love. In Jan 2016 LATH Media published their first book, 365 Inspirations for the Soul of the Side-Hustler and the Entrepreneur, a non-fiction book with quick bits of encouragement for the entrepreneur on the go.