In a recent submission to the legendary advice column Dear Abby, a woman is accusing her co-worker of identity theft and harassment after she says they’ve been copying her personal style.
While simultaneously providing readers with a daily dose of pettiness and eye roll-inducing delusion, we’ve included the letter in its entirety and highlighted some key areas of concern.
I have been trying to get healthy for years and recently lost a lot of weight. Every job I have, I work with grossly obese women. At my present job, one of them keeps coming to work dressed like me.
It has happened before and I am sick of it. You have no idea how insulting it is to come to work, ready to do my job and find myself in this embarrassing situation. I just started working here and I need the job.
To me, this is a form of harassment, and I don’t understand where she’s coming from. It’s not my problem if she is unhappy with her self-image. I like myself; I mind my own business and do my work.
Also, I worked in fashion for years. If she wants my fashion expertise, she should pay me for it. Copying the way I dress is not a compliment. It’s identity theft. She is not me. I do not appreciate her imitating me. Please help! — ONE OF A KIND IN ILLINOIS
Ah, Illinois – The Fashion Capital of the Midwest.
Dear Abby replied to “One of a Kind” by reminding her of the old adage “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and suggested the disgruntled Kate Moss “help the woman by offering to assist her in making distinctive fashion choices of her own.”
While the response from Dear Abby is kind, it hardly addresses the woman’s inflated ego and apparent lack of understanding of mass produced fashion. Unless it’s Casual Friday, how much of a spin can someone take on an office dress code? In a state with a Gap on every corner, there’s a good chance someone’s going to show up to work wearing the same chinos and cardigan as Karen in Accounting.
The biggest issue of this letter is that the anonymous woman feels the need to specify that the co-worker in question is “grossly obese” and even refers to the woman not by a moniker, but by referring to her simply as “one of them.”
In the past year, women have made great strides in demanding change and equality in the workplace. The Time’s Up and #MeToo movements have been fueled by women standing together to bring attention to issues that affect millions of women in the United States and the rest of the world.
While Dear Abby tried to foster discussion and collaboration between the woman and her “copy cat” she should have encouraged this woman to take a look at her own life. This is a call for the woman to really do some soul-searching and think about her goals, her feelings towards her own gender, and evaluate how she feels and behaves towards not only the women in her workplace, but how she ultimately feels about herself.
What this letter does is highlight the work that is still required within our own gender to support and accept one another, and ultimately empower each other to succeed. The construct of beauty and the preoccupation with weight is just that – something to distract women from fulfilling their own potential.
We sincerely hope One of a Kind takes a long hard look in the mirror and maybe, like fashion so often does, takes this as an opportunity to reinvent herself.