"A person is nothing but his image. Philosophers can tell us that it doesn't matter what the world thinks of us, that nothing matters but what we really are. But philosophers don't understand anything. As long as we live with other people, we are only what other people consider us to be."
- Paul, Immortality by Milan Kundera
There is a distinct schism between the point of Cameron's honest, down-to-earth speech that I had the pleasure of stumbling across during my nightly phone-before-bed time, and the opinion of Paul, a character from Kundera's work that I read during the day. Yet at the end of the day, the conclusion I've reached is perhaps congruent with both perspectives.
Cameron ends off her speech by saying, "But mostly, it was difficult to unpack a legacy of gender and racial oppression, when I am one of the biggest beneficiaries." In our society, we tend to use our eyes all too eagerly. First impressions formed merely based on a person's physical attributes or their image change how you treat them. And it may seem to you, at this point of time, that beyond the fact that the talk was delivered by a model, it seems to have nothing to do with fashion. However, how you dress is simply part of your image as well. Cameron transformed from being a partly attention-seeking, polished woman, to one that seemed to possess much more humility. The fact that we acknowledge and sense the change already speaks volumes about how natural this mindset is to us.
Perhaps we shouldn't use dressing as a basis of judging others. It doesn't mean that because they dress in black and leather, or wear men's clothes, that they are more masculine; it doesn't mean that because they dress in pastel colors and full skirts, that they are more feminine. Perhaps we shouldn't put the act of dressing on such a high pedestal that it actually 'reflects' our character, and instead see it as merely an expression of self, an exploration of tastes, and a hobby.
I encourage you to watch the TED talk if you haven't done so already. Cameron speaks personally, with truths we would sometimes rather not acknowledge, and a brutal yet compassionate honesty that keeps it refreshing no matter how many times I've watched it.