Wednesday, March 16, 2011
FFB: Fashion & Feminism
So, today is the big blog event day! The FFB's question for today is the big one: How do you express your feminism in the way you dress?
Admittedly, I'm not a fashion blogger, and few people would believe that I have any sort of interest in fashion. The thing is, I care about how I look and how I present myself to the world. I think that is why fashion (and personal style) is important, but I am still unsure of how my beliefs and how my stylistic choices interact.
I've been trying to figure out the answer, though, and the best thing I have is that I show my feminism by dressing for myself. I dress in a way that makes me feel confident. I have my own style, even if I can't always define it very well.
In case you missed it, I'm young. I still have a lot to learn about what the world, and even though I am interested in fashion in the sense that I am interested in the perception others have of you, it seems rather difficult to figure out how your thoughts translate into fashion.
I used to be one of those girls that wore t-shirts and jeans every day-- running t-shirts, mainly, but also ones from vacations, and occasionally ones that proclaimed my political beliefs. My favorite t-shirt, I'd say, was the "1 Sky" organic cotton one that my dad picked up for me at some environmental fair. I have no issues with wearing clothes that proclaim directly what you believe. But, though I was always comfortable and happy in those, I was afraid to wear my (really fantastically designed) OBAMA shirt, because I was afraid of the debate that would inspire, simply because it was a VERY direct statement of my political beliefs. I didn't feel like I had the right to wear it, because at the time, I was too young to vote anyway.
Since then, I've resigned those shirts to running-wear (makes sense, at least for the running shirts)-- partially because I don't feel the need to force myself to look pretty or anything when running, and when I'm running, I feel confident. I'm not ashamed of my beliefs or my body, and wearing shirts that label me clearly as an environment-loving liberal are not silly or stupid. But they made me feel awkward and like I would be attacked for the passive expression of what I think is important.
Again, I'm not discrediting that, but these days, I dress to feel confident. I dress according to my whims and emotions; some days, that means a shirt that says "OBAMA" across it over a very pop-art inspired picture of his face. Most days, however, I dress more-or-less like a European. My style has been influenced heavily by my time in France, and so I dress in a way that makes sense for me based on those experiences. I dress according to the weather, and in a generally sensible manner-- but I want to feel pretty.
Sometimes I wonder if I follow fashion blogs a bit too much. Maybe I pay too much attention to clothes and people and style, especially since few people would recognize me as having that interest. Is it damaging to look, to be inspired, or to covet things? To allow myself to fall into something that is stereotypically "female"?
I don't think that's the case, though. I think that it is okay to love fashion and style, without it being my only interest. I am not a stereotypical female, and just because I have an interest in clothes and appearance, does not make me superficial or vain or any of those things. If anything, that interest allows me to live in a way that I enjoy and to feel good about myself while doing so. I don't care about such things because I'm supposed to, and I think that's what makes the difference. I dress myself not to please others-- I mean, I wore a Hogwarts uniform to school one day when it wasn't Spirit Week-- but to feel happy and confident about myself.
Maybe I can't define my style, and maybe when people see me they do not automatically see "FEMINIST" emblazoned across my shirt, but I don't have to have that direct marker to be a feminist. I can feel pretty and strong in a skirt, and appearances aren't everything anyway. I am a feminist not because of my clothes, but because I know what I believe and I won't allow myself to follow stereotypes blindly: I choose my clothes, and I choose my beliefs. I can choose feminism and fashion without feeling like a mindless follower-- I choose both for myself, not because I am expected to, but because I want to.
Find the other posts on this topic here, check out the FFB here, or find links to some of the past posts here!