Feminists who love fashion: is it a contradiction or can there be harmony? In my own life, the answer is a resounding YES to harmony. I consider myself a spirited feminist and I adore style. Here’s why:
For one, the amount of energy we apply to beauty and style is a choice, and choice is a central tenet of feminism. Some women choose to go make-up free and that’s all good. If we’re “liberated” why should we not have all the choices available: to use makeup, or not, color or not-color our hair, or wear stylish clothes.
We can fight the good fight and still look amazing, if we so chose. Feminism means equality – of opportunity, education, career choices, managing home life, and of course under the law. I choose to live with both ideas held simultaneously: caring for our outward appearance as well as our inner fire.
Even historically, women who sought equality used style and color to advance their causes. Early suffragettes created “uniforms” to help identify themselves: “. . . white to represent purity, green for hope and purple for loyalty and dignity.”
And fashion needs us woke women: we often face the pressure to look a certain way in order to be considered beautiful. Nothing feminist about that. Ideally, fashion would be a celebration of diverse women’s sizes, ages, shapes and ethnicity. But there’s still plenty of size-ism and age-ism in the industry. Young and reed-thin is the aspirational message. That’s not OK. We have to call it out when we see it.
“[Fashion] is one of the few industries in which women can actually excel, career-wise. On the other hand . . . the concept of the fashion industry places limitations on beauty and body ideals to society en mass.” Source.
Equally not-OK is the exploitation of women and children in developing countries to satisfy our cravings for cheap, fast fashion. Promoting ethical sourcing and diversity, shopping second-hand to reduce waste, recycling our clothes – these are some of our tasks as feminists.
Finally, a certain by-product of looking after our exteriors is more self-confidence. That’s what helps us to go out in the world and raise our voices, and keep the fires burning. “A confident woman is a force to be reckoned with. A confident woman gets things done. It’s about owning your desires and being in control of how you present yourself to the world.” Source.
Raise your voices and define your own life, and throw on some red lipstick if you like, xo,
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Some cool pieces in Suffragette colors:
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