To those who ‘Occupy’:
You are extremely frustrating.
Instead of starting a movement of change, you have become the butt of the joke, the comical punchline in late night television. As a young twenty-something with plenty to say, I have a few words for you.
I get it, I truly do. You want equality, you demand equal wealth distribution, and your fair share of what every American should be entitled to. As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we should have better health care, we should have lower education costs, access to better jobs with better pay. I get it, I hear you, and (to an extent) I feel your frustration.
However, what I have seen in person and watched on the television, is causing me to rethink my alliance to this cause. While I see your point, I also see the way you’re presenting it, presenting yourselves, and representing the cities you live in. I can only speak for Seattle, but blocking rush hour traffic to march across a bridge on Friday evening is pretty ridiculous. Who are you hurting here? Certainly not the 1%, but the 99%, the people “just like you” trying to get to work or home from work. Your way of making a point definitely made an impression, but not the right one.
And while I’m on the subject of “making an impression”, let’s discuss your attire. Please don’t misunderstand me; I don’t shop at the nicest stores, and I have gone a good long year without adding anything awesome to my wardrobe. It sucks, and I truly wish I had more funds to donate to my closet, but I manage to walk out my door every morning knowing I am putting my best foot forward. If allowed myself to be a victim of my paycheck, I would surely make different clothing choices each morning, but I don’t. I want people to take me seriously as a young professional, and an intelligent young woman, so I choose to make an effort.
To further my point, let me paint you a scenario.
I graduated the top of my class from an Ivy League school. I have worked hard since then, holding steady jobs, gaining great experience, and am extremely well spoken and kind. I submit my resume to you for a job at your company, and you (obviously) call me in for an interview, because on paper I seem to have it all.
I walk through your door on time, but I haven’t showered in several days, and that fact is obvious. My hair is a bit messy, but I covered it by a hat for you. My clothes are thrift store, but not the “fun” thrift store that’s become pretty normal these days, they are the “Meh, this looked clean, so I put it on” thrift store. I’m smiling, but when I open my mouth, all you smell is the cigarette I just had out by my car.
Do you still want to hire me?
If the answer is yes, you’re a total liar. Yes, what I stand for and have worked for looks good on paper, but I definitely didn’t care enough to present myself very well. Choosing instead to rest on my message of “I’d be a great employee! Look at what I’ve accomplished!”
Am I saying that you Occupiers need to be wearing heels and suits? Absolutely not. I’m saying that if you expect your message to be taken seriously, you need to take yourself seriously. As stuck up as it sounds, what you wear contributes to that, and we’re dumb if we think otherwise.
Again, let me stress that I can only speak for Seattle. The stereotypes in this area of the country fit the part, but now more than ever, I wish it weren’t that way. The Occupy movement is huge, and could be one of the greatest and most successful peaceful protests I will ever see. I’ll be the first to champion your desire for a better world and country for people like me, but your methods and lack of direction are extremely frustrating. It’s true that the injustices you have faced these last two months have been unfair, and that no matter of clothing or direction could have prevented it. I acknowledge that it doesn’t matter to a lot of people what you have to say, the fact that you’re saying anything at all is enough to make people scoff at your cause. I just wish you took yourself as seriously as you take your message, because how powerful would that combination be?