I recently read an article suggesting that studies show that women who wear sleeveless dresses on stage appear to their audience members as less intelligent than their be-sleeved counterparts. It was based on a study in Yale Scientific that reported that people assign a higher degree of intelligence to those who wear more clothes than less. It was part of a longer article about knowing yourself, knowing your audience, and knowing your message. The article was smart, but this example didn’t jibe with me.
I wear sleeveless on stage. A lot. In fact, almost exclusively.
Perhaps it is because it allows me to move better. Perhaps it is because I damn proud of my arms. Perhaps it is because I am peri-menopausal and need the air flow. #hotflashfam
Regardless, I own it.
But here’s the thing: I don’t think it makes me appear any less intelligent, and I don’t think it diminishes my stage persona in the least. Rather, it amplifies it because it is consonant with my message. I speak about power, moxie, grit, and tenacity. I am an instigator, a storyteller, a confidence catalyst. I serve up the world on a platter and inspire my audiences to eat it for breakfast.
And, the fact that I rock arms that would make Michelle Obama jealous lets the audience know that I walk my talk and take my own medicine. I do the hard work. I know what it takes. And, I can pave the path for them so that they can do it too.
Today is my 47th birthday. I know who I am, I know what I represent, and I know the best media for the message I bring to the world. For me, it’s a punch-in-the-face powerhouse fist, draped in a sleeveless velvet glove.
If sleeveless works for you, rock that shit. If it doesn’t, don’t. With all due respect to the folks at Yale (my husband being a Bulldog, boola boola), first appearances matter, but consonance with who you are matters more. Who are you? What is your message? What is your energy? What is your media? Now, go have seconds for breakfast, my friends!