On ABC’s The View, Whoopi Goldberg shares with television viewers her unique fashion style. It seems that her fashion style resists hegemonic American fashion expectations. An American woman has to confront societal fashion norms: she is expected to dress in appealing and feminine ways. To be honest, Goldberg always looks sloppy and like she’s just lounging around her home or ready for bed. The thought that she simply does not know how to dress in an attractive and professional manner would not be reflective of perspicacious thinking, however. Goldberg is a smart and highly accomplished. She’s also very interested in politics and making political statements. With this in mind, it does not appear sagacious to divorce her politics from her fashion (or anti-fashion) style.
Even before Whoopi Goldberg joined The View, she was not interested in the politics of respectability, that is, politics that asserts that one must look and act a certain way. She’s unafraid to be herself. In an America where assimilation and duplicity are increasingly becoming more embraced, Goldberg’s conspicuous commitment to being herself is refreshing and should be commended. Although your view of what she should wear as a professional may not align with her idea, it’s vital to understand that you should not attempt to impose your view on her. Dress how you want to dress and let her enjoy the same freedom.
When you see Goldberg in clothing that is noticeably loose-fitting, do you ever consider that one of the primary motivations behind her fashion choices is comfort? Is it too unbearable to contemplate a person resisting both traditional and postmodern fashion styles?
What Whoopi Goldberg wears does not have an impact on how well she’s able to do her job. If Goldberg started dressing like Oprah, would this change how well she’s able to do her job? No!
Although, as previously mentioned, I believe that the way she dresses is sloppy and looks like she’s lounging around at home or ready for bed, I have no desire for her to change the way she wants to dress. I also have no longing to impose my fashion style on her. Fashion gives one an opportunity to express his or her individuality, and we all should respect Goldberg’s expression of her individuality through her fashion style. Additionally, as previously mentioned, we might find it useful to consider the political statement(s) her fashion style divulges.
Let Whoopi simply be Whoopi.
Have you ever had an experience with someone who has tried to impose his or her fashion style on you? Do you believe there is a certain way that those who are on television should dress? Does the way Whoopi Goldberg dress bother you?
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison