In my not so distant past, I was told, “Free yourself from judgment.” Now, I am rather an ordinary confounded teenager. But I was thinking about judgment in Amsterdam, the place known for its “everything-is-legal” government and “judgment-free” culture. I was thinking about what morality is and how society, culture, and how the cosmos of the internet and blogosphere (whatever that means) should think about it. Of course, morality is about right and wrong, good and bad, the yin and yang charm dangling from your questioning hand. Our common sense of good and bad stems from the religious teachings ingrained in our societies. These are the operating instructions of morality we seem to have been given by the storks who carried us to our parents when we were born. Biases stand behind the judgments of our BFFs, our arch-enemies, neighbors, acquaintances, and distant Facebook “friends” who like or dislike us, judging us forever for however we act or don’t act.
As I write this, I am well aware of the teetering summit that is the moral high ground. I have many one dimensional views based purely on the repetition of being told over and over by my parents, e.g. “don’t do drugs, stay in school.” And see, I have stayed away from the first and stayed attentive in the latter. Don’t judge. I didn’t just meekly listen and blindly obey, I have questioned both and wondered about me dropping out of my junior year of high school and taking off on my blogging career making whatever money I can to afford enough beautiful clothes to serve as a sort of makeshift bed. However, “turn on, tune in, drop out” has never resonated romantically with me. Maybe this is what grounds our morals: romance, fantasy, allure. The romance of it all is where we derive our greatest wrongs and our deepening rights. There is a romantic element to what we are told not to do. There is an allure to those we can’t have and things we cling onto. We judge others for many reasons. There are the tediously superficial elements of character that annoy. And there is the mere fact that it’s easy to judge and it makes you feel higher minded looking down on others. In theory, you judge all who are exempt from being you, the one person who understands you better than anyone else and agrees with you in what is good and what is bad.
When it comes to fashion, people ask me not to judge them. And without yielding my moral high ground, I reply that I don’t judge. But this cannot be totally true if I am totally honest: the best I can do is try harder to withhold judgment while I struggle to better orient my moral compass. The images below were taken on the fringe of the Red Light District, the location righteously held as the foundation of what most moral compasses register as bad. Although I am not particularly keen on the smell of weed that wafts in the streets or the “I Heart Canabas” shirts sold at every corner store (my judgment) I love the sense of ownership the Dutch have over their city and their own lives. People here are open to ideas and creativity and craft their lives not around what others hold to be right or wrong but largely on what they desire or what they simply do not.
My Look: MiuMiu hat, Nina Ricci coat, H&M sweater dress, Hue tights, and Zara Trafaluc shoes