Feminist Fashion


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(Picture from adeledejak.com)

Hey guys! So I actually didn’t post yesterday for like the first day I didn’t post:o Anyways, there’s a post a had in mind a bit now but I’ve been meaning for a while to talk about feminism and just my viewpoint on it I guess but I was hesitant that you guys may consider it a bit…frivolous. And I generally have alot of meaningful thoughts and confusion in my head. So I thought I’d attempt to articulate my scattered and (mostly) feminist views as well I can. I identify as a feminist and I guess I’m not really involved in much activism, but I do alot of watching and learning. For me feminism is about awareness, it’s more trying to change the things in day to day life that are really sexist or just dumb that people just regard as normal because ‘that’s just the way things are’ or something stupid like that. There is like a wierd stigma I guess I could call it, around feminism: that you hate men, or have to not shave your legs because that’s un-feminist, but really it’s more about freedom and choice. Equality between male as female basically. For example, for me, feminism isn’t an aesthetic, it’s not a dress code, it’s juts something that we all know deep down is just downright the right way to live with these beliefs I guess. Feminism has kind of resurfaced lately with the help of lots of people: Tavi Gevinson for one, has helped in trying to portray feminism as something that doesn’t have to be an angry, and revolting thing, but can be a progressive conversation and process (as she explains in her TEDXTeen talk)- she tried to explain that you can be a feminist and like fashion. You can be a feminist and like dressing up and not dress for men. I guess it’s encouraged a wave of feminism-fashion association (does that make sense?) on the internet and of course then there was this whole: ‘you’re-not-a-real-feminist-cuz-you-wear-creepers-and-like-glitter-’ Basically people were complaining and blaming other bloggers because they weren’t feeling validated, basically because of the way the other bloggers looked.

Anyways, for me it’s all about knowing that you are a free individual with rights and no one should stop you from taking advantage from those freedoms you have or control you
And I mean I’m only 15 and there are soooo many older more knowledgable feminists than me, an it’s crazy how worried I am that I’ll say something wrong or offend someone. Like, there’s so much you can say wrong, really. Before I got into feminism there were so many things I didn’t notice in society that are kind of COMPLETELY *word I won’t say* up :p
I try to be unapolagetic and confident and not always say sorry all the time, like my opinion is totally dumb or invalid, but I can’t help feeling ill-informed sometimes. I don’t want people to have to educate me, even though I highly value education. My point is though, being an individual and not feeling like you have to be undermined all the time and be separated and secluded from certain activities just because of you’re gender. Like really: sports for instance. Oh really Mr gym teacher? Did you say I can’t participate because I’m a girl and I am not capable of doing the Olympic sized high jump? (Side note: I ended up doing it:) I was the only girl that had the courage to do it but you know what? I did it! Lol I’m kidding I failed miserably:p But the point is that even though I wasn’t physically ready to do the high jump, I know I left everyone in my gym class that day with a different opinion about me and about respecting girls…not to ever undermine us.)

So, The conotation to feminist has evolved over time, like it used to be ‘hairy legged angry man eaters’ (I think) but now it’s like ‘sparkly flower crown’ girls, which always makes me feel uncomfortable to say I’m a feminist because I don’t want people to think that I think I’m really amazing at everything, you know?

But anywayyyss…pertaining to fashion a lot of people I seem to hear always ask if feminism can be incorporated if you’re into fashion or if they’re complete opposites. I think in my opinion that it’s all about not making yourself a copy of women on magazines and being influenced on how the latest tabloid says you have to look. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that I disagree with trends or anything. (But this is a whole other topic for another time) The thing is though, it’s not Chinese foot-binding or any cruel cultural or patriarical restriction and quite barbaric restriction that is being imposed on us…but there is in fact a quite significant but well-hidden underlining of male dominance even now…and like any other normal female….any sense of inferiority I simply can’t stand.

Fashion, like so many other things associated primarily with women, may be dismissed as trivial, but it shapes how we’re read by others, especially on the levels of gender, class and race. In turn, how we’re read determines how we are treated, especially in the workforce—whether we are hired, promoted and respected, and how well we are paid. That most ordinary and intimate of acts, getting dressed, has very real political and economic consequences.
If feminists ignore fashion, we are ceding our power to influence it, you know? Fortunately, history has shown that feminists can, instead, harness fashion and use it for our own political purposes.

When the rhetoric of equality fell on deaf ears, suffragists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries made quite literal fashion statements. Green, white and violet jewelry was a favored suffragist accessory, but not because of any aesthetic imperative: The first letters of each color— G, W, V—was shorthand for give women votes.

Then, a century later, in the 1980s, women appropriated men’s styles of dress in an attempt to access the social and economic capital that lay on the other side of the glass ceiling. So-called career women practiced power dressing, wearing tailored skirt suits with huge shoulder pads, approximating the style and silhouette of the professional male executive.

Yet such adaptations of men’s fashion and styles are rarely without small feminine touches. It just shows the female charge finally showing up and making changes in attire where it needs to be changed.

The fact that even the most politically and culturally commanding women must walk a razor’s edge between looking powerful and still appearing “appropriately feminine” underscores an I quote a visual theorist John Berger’s concise description of mainstream society: “Men act and women appear.” In other words, men are judged by their deeds; women, by their looks…which is sadly a very sad and true description.

fashion has been something that keeps women’s social, economic and political opportunities permanently attached to their appearances.

In the modern world, social media encourages everyone to develop a “personal brand,” the pressure on women to be fashionable has never been more pervasive. Even as the Internet has intensified the desire to be fashion-forward, it has also given outsiders unprecedented influence on the industry. Again to mention fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson: well..she went viral. Within two years, her reviews of new clothing lines were being closely followed by fashion movers and famously aloof designers and editors invited Gevinson to their offices, runway shows and parties. Now a ripe old 15, she has used fashion as a springboard to her latest venture: editing an online teen magazine with a feminist point of view.

Today, fashion blogs that celebrate an array of non-normatively raced, gendered, sexed and sized bodies have emerged to challenge the dominant messages of gender, beauty and style. And bloggers are using their “clout” to speak out against offensive fashion and beauty products.

A blog-initiated campaign in 2010 actually convinced the cosmetics company MAC and the design of the Rodarte team to abandon their collection of nail polish and lipstick with names “Factory” and “Juarez” (referencing the Mexican border town notorious for the serial murders of women working in local factories).

Similar online campaigns have also been waged against designers and magazines that employ blackfacing and yellowfacing, as well as against retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel that perpetuate racist, sexist and sizeist beauty ideals like the astonishing size zero through some small number.

In the age of interactive social media, consumers have at least one ear of the fashion establishment; we should continue to speak up, right? Wearing fashion does not have to mean that we allow it to wear us down, in this feminist viewpoint.

The bottom line I wanted to leave through this lengthy post was this though: I love fashion, I really do: ( I mean I have a fashion blog so…) and I want to let you all know that if you find yourself thinking that a feminist had to restrict herself from mainstream trends….then you don’t really get the point! The movements over decades have all been so we feel less restrictions and equal to men…so if you genuinely like things all women are wearing then why restrict yourself!? We live in the modern world where we finally don’t have to worry about being frowned upon for wearing basically anything! (More specifically menswear though) So be happy because all the hard work in the past to get us to where we are today had payed off so…take advantage! Have a good day everyone:)
X0X0,Nessa:)

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