The word feminist. What does this mean to you? Do you think of a raging hippy woman wearing a white t-shirt where her nipples peak through? Or do you think of a well-polished woman like Sheryl Sandberg, taking over the tech industry one idea at a time? The word feminist often has more negative associations to its name than positive ones. I know I have argued with my mother over exactly what this word means. She instantly thinks of the first example I named while the second comes to mind for me and many other women of the younger generation (or at least I hope).
I am a huge supporter of feminism and everything that it stands for. I am always trying to explain to people, like my mother, what exactly feminism means nowadays, or what it should mean. The exact definition of feminism according to Google is “someone who supports the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of political, social and economic equality to men.” Don’t we all want to be treated, respected and paid equally to the male gender? So why doesn’t every woman want to call herself a feminist?
It is ashame that women automatically think of the radical feminists that were at a peak in the 60s and 70s, for it is the modern age and that is simply not what should come to mind anymore. We should be thinking of women like Sophia Amoruso, Jessica Alba, Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai. These women have all broken the stereotypes of women by creating multimillion dollar companies, sharing their opinions on inequality with younger generations, and breaking cultural expectations.
While I believe everyone should be a feminist and that many more women are opening themselves up to the idea of embracing the title, Google Analytics has shown that the talk of feminism was at an all-time high in 1998 (also the year Time released its famous cover with the title “Is Feminism Dead?”) and has been declining ever since. Why do you think this is? Are we third-wave and fourth-wave feminists digressing in the feminist movement or are we simply tackling the issue in different ways?
I personally believe the way we women dress is a huge part of feminism, not only on a large scale but on a personal scale. Today’s society makes it a difficult choice in deciding to wear what you want or wearing what others will take you seriously in. I often have found that I am degraded and turned into an object when I go out in something as simple as denim shorts or a crop top.
This is still a huge issue in today’s society; men often blame women’s attire for the reason they are cat called or sexually assaulted. I should be able to wear what I want without being degraded or blamed for encouraging this behavior.
Fashion is a large aspect of the feminist movement whether you realize it or not. Do I wear clothes that people will take me seriously in, even if that isn’t expressing who I am? Or do I wear an outfit that I feel good in and showcases my artistic views? Fashion is an artistic expression and the struggle with feminism in today’s society often restricts that.
In this look I incorporate pieces that are sophisticated and timeless with trendier pieces that show off my playful personality. Something as simple as the slits in the side of this sweater are a way of showing a little skin while still remaining conservative. Aritzia is one of my favorite places to shop for just this reason; they combine business-like pieces with trendier, sexier items that allow you to show off certain parts of your body.
Accessories are always the perfect way to show off your personality through what you are wearing. I have been loving the Fendi Monster trend, and while I can’t afford the actual monsters, I have been able to find ones similar to it at small vendors like those in China Town and at flea markets.
I am currently reading a classic novel, The Second Sex, written by Simone de Beauvoir, which discusses the history of the female race and how the sex came to be viewed as inferior to men. At one point she says, “The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.” What we put on our body expresses who we are and leaves our mark on the world. It is so important that we wear what we want and the feminism movement is progressing in a way that just might allow us to be able to do this without being devalued or judged in a certain way.