It didn’t occur to me until very recently that fashion and feminism don’t go hand in hand. But when you think about it, it’s easy to understand why some people think that you can’t be a feminist who likes fashion. Let’s count the ways:
- The fashion industry is obsessed with women’s looks
- It promotes a certain look for women. By this I mean ridiculously thinness (one which definitely isn’t me)
- Women are nothing from than faceless clotheshorses
- It encourages women to spend their money on utterly ridiculous and expensive items of clothing and shoes which cause you to wish you had no toes
But this isn’t fashion. Fashion isn’t about which celebrity was wearing what at Coachella or wherever; that’s fashion media. Fashion itself is more than the slimy upper layer which sadly gets all of the attention. To me fashion, actual fashion is about self-expression – what a woman chooses to wear is a feminist action because she chose to wear it. And I don’t see anything wrong or unfeminist about a woman spending the money she has earned on something which makes her feel good. Arguing that women only feel happy because they are dressing to please The Man is insulting to women. Women are intelligent enough to tell the difference between liking an item of clothing because it pleases them and liking an item of clothing because it pleases a man.
The fashion industry – one dominated by women and aimed towards women is too easily dismissed by the media (male media perhaps?) as being frivolous, not serious and not deserving respect or silly. I am not saying not to criticise the fashion industry – in some aspects it sorely needs it – but it’s not a feminist action to dismiss the whole thing altogether. I know that the feminist movement as it currently stands isn’t very cohesive in its aims and goals but what all factions agree on is wanting women to have better lives, and whatever the definition of better is, it definitely includes women having the choice to enjoy themselves.
And this has to include enjoying their clothes and enjoying fashion.
Image credit: here