Natural Beauty and the Blind
The media paints pictures that absorb into our minds faster and more secretly than anything else. This is especially true when considering minority groups, and is true when considering the physical image of the blind. As blind people live in a sighted world, it’s extremely important that all blind people know how to make natural beauty and fashion a part of their everyday lives. When a blind person gets up in the morning, he/she takes a shower and shaves just like anyone else. Then comes clothing, a little hair styling, some make-up, some shoes, a coat, a cane, maybe some shades, and it’s out the door! So, what rules should blind people follow so that they always look their best?
Is it absolutely important to obey all of the rules of fashion? No, it isn’t. The idea of natural beauty for anyone is to dress in such a way that feels good. It really doesn’t matter if it’s this year’s or last year’s fashion that achieves this goal. The point is that, just like for anyone, a blind person’s dress appeals to the situation at hand. In any case, it’s of absolute importance to make absolutely sure that clothes are clean and cared for. The reality is that the sighted expect the blind to look a little disheveled. It’s not, unless it’s for a particular look, advisable for blind people to wear clothing with holes or missing buttons. If the blind person chooses to wear sunglasses, choose a style that fits the shape and frame of the face and hair. The lenses must be clean and without major scratching. Finally, be aware of whether or not glasses are bent or crooked upon the face. As there are alternative techniques for doing things without sight, this is true for maintaining clothing.
Accessibility is no problem in considering fashion. For example, Brailled clothing tags make it easy to determine the color of clothing. There are several ways to keep socks with their mates for proper matching, and safety pins can be pinned through stains in clothing for later treatment and washing. Technologies such as color identifiers are available from specialized retailers to make fashions a little more accessible, especially when out shopping. The services of a sighted reader are helpful for determining sizes on tags, colors, patterns, and whether or not the item actually looks good with the individual and what he/she is trying to accomplish. Make-up is easily applied to the face by touch, and it never hurts to consult with a cosmetician to insure that proper colors are chosen for one’s complexion. Consulting sighted friends is a good way to see that one is aware of the fashions of the day, and the help of other blind people is useful to learn techniques specific to blind people.
Natural beauty isn’t just for the sighted. The blind need to be equally aware of aesthetics and how they can work with each individual. It doesn’t require an inordinate amount of time to put it all together. Even so, it’s important to assure that the sighted take the blind seriously, and proper appearance is a great start to get there.
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