Who’s Judging Who?

Adele Leahy Personal Stylist

Comparison Culture 800x533


In a social setting, when I introduce myself as a stylist, the most common response is “oh, that makes sense” quickly followed up with some variation of “now I feel so judged”. Interesting.

I’ve just met you and asked you what your name was and maybe what you do for a living (hence why you found out what I do for a living) and you feel judged? By me? Whaaa?

Judgement is a topic we cover in the Style Basics course Aesthetica delivers. It’s  big topic because we do it all the time. Clearly. So much so that you meet someone for the first time and willingly volunteer to them that based on their line of work that YOU feel judged.

Curious thing, judgement. It doesn’t make anyone feel good.

I find the energy that comes from statements like this discombobulating. I haven’t said more than two lines to you, haven’t given you a sideways sneer nor have I made comment on your outfit and yet you feel judged by what I do; or worse, by me.

This reveals to me that peoples idea of what a stylist does is to hold judgement on what every person is wearing all of the time. That judgement is a core part of our business and approach with our clients. That maybe even judgement is how we become good at what we do. Um, nope.

Another reflection is that a woman’s default position is to feel bad about herself. Comparison culture is normalised and it seems that women derive a large part of their worth, or in most cases, their perceived lack of worth, dependent on how she judges herself compared to those around her. It’s become totally normal for women to feel judged by someone else’s skills, especially if it relates to appearance; so much so that you will openly tell that person you feel judged.


In my Aesthetica Style Basics workshops, I take women on a journey of understanding comparison culture and judgement. The most enlightening part of this process is when we discover who judges us the most and in the worst ways. You won’t need three guesses to figure out who it is. That’s right. It’s ourselves. Women judge themselves in a way that is condemning. Astonishing. Violent. The things I hear women say about themselves are things that are crushing, dehumanising and painful. The things I hear women say they would never say to another human being. 

So, it begs the question. When we hear about what someone else does, or has, or is and we are the ones who feel judged, who is the one dishing out the judgement? I can tell you for sure that in the case of my work, it most certainly ain’t me. The role of a stylist is to help you find your strengths, not your weaknesses. The role of a stylist is to help you feel free, not burdened. The role of a stylist is to help you shine your light, not turn up their own wattage.

Come, woman. Observe the judgement you have of yourself this week. Today. Hell, right now. Observe when you talk hyper-critically to yourself. Observe when you lack empathy towards yourself. Observe when you are delivering crushing indictments on your self-worth and take steps to recognizing that 1. there are other ways to live and 2. there is no judgement with me.


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