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Being a Rah (for a day)

Typically I am known for my slightly obscure and offensively bright clothing with at least a hint of hippy-ish-ness influencing my wardrobe, fairly accurately depicted by this picture:-

 

However, as a student at Newcastle University I don’t really fit in at all, and the vast majority of the students here are what we would call a ‘Rah’, people from upper-middle or middle class backgrounds who tend to all wear the same things as each other, namely very expensive branded things of a particular style. My friends and I thought it would be an interesting social experiment for me to ‘dress up’ as a ‘rah’ for a day, resulting in the following image:-



 

Findings:-

Deciding what exactly a rah wears was harder than expected, maybe they’re not quite so uniform as we might mock them for being after all.

 

Maximum effort made to make hair puffy and stay on top of my head in an ‘arranged mess’ and makeup = much more effort too; eyes started watering in response to excess blackness! (note, if I’d been doing it properly I’d have plastered foundation and bronzer on too but I coudn’t bring myself to do it/didn’t own the required make-up items). I Think so many Rah girls are probably really stunning on a morning before they’ve put on their mask.

 

People’s reactions when you change something about yourself, even just as shallow as your clothes, can be totally hillarious; people find change quite spooky. On the whole more boys thought the change was bad, more girls said I looked nice, almost everyone thought it was funny.

 

Rah clothes are REALLY WARM!! Gillets, despite being armless, are super cosy! And UGG boots are frankly BOILING.

 

Cath Kidston handbags and red skinny jeans are as colourful as you get when being rah (do quite like the bag though).

 

Your clothes must imply that you live in a massive house in the country where you go hunting, shooting, fishing for sport (though the UGG boots might give away the fact that you never actually get your feet dirty) and your clothes probably never convey any messages about social justice (or any other message apart from status and wealth).

 

Got less weird looks than usual on my walk into uni.

 

If you dress up as a nice rah girl then nice rah boys will offer to open doors for you.

 

Felt a weird kind of power in blending in at the Uni Library, in the idea that I was fooling all these people around me that I was just like them (they couldn’t tell I wasn’t cause the library is a quiet place).

 

The charity collectors on northumbarland street who usually all stop me didn’t stop me at all on rah day.

 

People who hate you for being a hippy will hate you anyway even if you conform, people who accept you as you are will laugh along and accept you when you dress as a rah (but they’ll still prefer you to be yourself).

 

It’s refreshing when some people don’t notice what you’re wearing and just chat away to you as normal.

 

Being someone else for a day is fun, but exhausting.

 

I want to judge people by their appearance as little as possible from now on.

Trashy Magazines

So why do we read trashy style magazines, or gossip magazines? What is it about them? Do you read Hello? More, OK or Elle? Personally I don’t think I’ve ever bought a fashion/style/gossip magazine, but I know I’ve scanned MANY.  In waiting rooms, in other people’s houses, in the sixth form common room I think I was first properly introduced to the onslaught of expectation and critique that is the women’s magazine industry.

It’s really odd, some deceptive headline catches your eye and you get drawn in, reading, judging, feeling judged…

It struck me it’s like boxing day, when you’ve been consistently full for about 24 hours, but somehow when someone waves a box of chocolates by you still take one. You know you’re not even a little bit hungry, and you know that you could really do without the calories, but somehow your brain bypasses the logic and you’re lured in by the temptation of those few moments where the caramel will feel smooth and taste good. You take one. It’s not nearly as enjoyable as you thought it would be. You feel a little bit sick and you look down at your belly and feel a bit repulsed. This is what it’s like with women’s magazines. A catchy title, an unsatisfying article, leaving you feeling fat, and guilty and wretched.

So what’s my point? Judging others isn’t fun. Seeking other people’s approval will never leave you feeling like you’ve fully succeeded. Momentary gratification is overrated.

Admiring beauty is fun and uplifting when kept in perspective. I hope to gain enough self control to choose the constructive and life giving things in life, and to resist the easy tempting moments. I’m gonna need help, but I think it’s worth it. :] xx

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