on feminism.

...because, c'mon, i was bound to blog about it at some point.


image from feministe.us


yes, fashion and feminism are still issues at odds with each other for some people and i'm tired of it. i'm tired of this concept that women who are into fashion aren't feminist. i'm tired of the notion that a woman who works hard at the gym and watches what she eats is doing women everywhere a disservice. and i'm tired of women who think feminism is no longer relevant to today's society. (because the fact that women still get paid less than men in today's MODERN, DIGITAL WORLD isn't completely OBSCENE or anything. it isn't HOLDING BACK the human race or anything.) ugh. i gag.

saying it's wrong for women to care about fashion is A STEP BACK, NOT FORWARD. many men care about fashion and appearance, and the reaction is significantly less negative. if you do it to women then you're creating more double standards and inequality, more things that are ok for men to do but not women.  if a woman likes fashion she's vapid and setting back the feminist movement, if a man likes fashion he's polished and well-dressed. does that sound like equality to you? the second you perpetuate this mentality in the name of feminism you're exhibiting hypocrisy and your own lack of understanding. it belittles the things countless men and women throughout history worked diligently to correct. and it makes feminism seem like something it isn't, causing people to rally against it instead of behind it. such as miuccia prada who basically said that being a feminist caused the parameters of female beauty to get narrower. 

which brings me to my next point. if you're judging women for giving a damn about their looks, all you're doing is stereotyping and calling it feminism.  "she cares about her appearance, therefore she's shallow and empty."  that's on par with discriminating against someone's race. i've seen it happen time and again. a very confused girl whose "feminist" beliefs make her think she mustn't exhibit signs of femininity or creativity of appearance for fear of being viewed as "another vapid female." feminism is NOT about women attempting to morph into men. being a feminist is about being being equal while being yourself. and that is accomplished through strength of character, which you can't possibly have if you're pretending to be something you're not. besides, even the aforementioned description is an example of caring about looks.  it's just wrapped in the pretense of not caring, which i would argue is far worse.


i understand wanting to broaden the standards of beauty by giving it depth and variety. but i really can't stand behind this concept that women who watch their eating and work on themselves are ruining things for other women. and just so we're clear - by "work on themselves" i don't mean undergoing surgery or taking pills or going on ridiculous diets. i don't mean taking extreme, drastic or unhealthy measures in order to "get skinny." to me that seems obvious but i have to state it because it's as though people have stopped differentiating.

generally speaking, health and beauty go hand in hand. leading a healthy lifestyle will make you look and feel better. and there's nothing wrong with watching what you eat or working out in order to achieve that. there's nothing wrong with NOT giving into cravings for pizza and cake every day. if you want to, that's fine, i'm not judging. but don't judge others for not doing what you do. don't tell people they should stuff their faces with sugar every time they crave it in the name of feminism. that's not ok. fighting against the mentality of 'all women MUST conform to a certain standard of beauty' with the exact opposite isn't progress, it's backlash. 

i'm not suggesting there aren't shallow people in the world who actually do value appearance above all else.  of course there are and they come in both male and female. but it's hardly the unifying characteristic of all people who like fashion. in fact, the people i look up to, be it in real life or the blogging world, exhibit a remarkable aptitude for being well-rounded and interesting with a strong sense of character. fashion is their hobby or their career and their involvement in it is bettering the industry. their understanding of fashion revolves around creative concepts and the artistry of design, not some ill-conceived personal agenda. and as a result, they're creating positive changes that do much more for equality than many so-called feminists i've met.

calling fashion anti-feminist is like calling cooking anti-feminist due to some cockeyed notion that, because women were traditionally the homemakers, they must now shun those things in the name of equality. it's misinformed, particularly if you take a moment to recognize how many women are able to excel on the business side of fashion versus other industries. expecting women to turn their backs on something they enjoy is not going to happen. shunning fashion won't end inequality and not caring about your appearance won't solve body image issues.  telling women that's what it takes only makes feminism seem like a ridiculously dumb concept and makes people not want to be associated with it.  

so for the sake of feminism and womankind everywhere, it's time to realize that fashion is not feminism's anti-christ. it's just like any other industry, and it doesn't define anyone. your actions and convictions do. if you believe that women ARE equal to men and should therefore be regarded that way, then you ARE a feminist, regardless of your gender or the industry you work in. and you can help propel the world into a new, better age of gender equality with your mentality. (in fact, i think we're about due for a 4th wave, don't you?) and if you love fashion, don't listen to anyone who says you can't be a feminist as a result. to them i say: "WATCH ME." 

23 comments:

  1. Great post Kristy! I struggle to balance fashion and feminism almost everyday so this article is very relevant. I think the people who accuse fashion conscious women of anti-feminism are ignorant and misinformed. Personally I find taking care of my body and dressing it nicely to be empowering and I think taking care of yourself allows you to appreciate the beauty of other women to a greater extent.

    Not to mention the fashion industry is flooded with powerful, successful and career driven women. When I started blogging I never imagined how many smart, beautiful, talented, motivated and creative women I would meet and it's so inspiring. It's such a supportive community and I don't think it gets more feminist than that! xx

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  2. i agree with you brooke. it really is a supportive community filled with both men and women who exemplify equality on a daily basis.

    and i also love your point about how taking care of yourself helps you appreciate the beauty of other people even more. that is so true.

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  3. This is such a great post! I agree with the whole thing. The whole issue of double standards from both sexes is very frustrating. It's so ingrained in the general public and those are the people that make the biggest fuss about it. 'To be feminist because it's cool.' Which then you're basically setting yourself back a few steps. Luckily, I associate myself with amazing, smart passionate women. =) But I never really though of them as feminist. I guess they are, but to me, they're strong and driven people.

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  4. Yes, right on! Feminism is not about being overweight and going braless with unpolished fingernails any more than fashion is about carrying a Prada bag and wearing 6" platforms to the grocery store! Thanks for raising a lot of very important issues about WOMEN'S RIGHTS that are still not resolved and we're already in the 21st century.

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  5. yeahhhh i really enjoyed this outspoken postt !!
    ive been waiting for some blogger to tackle this important issue.. and you're the first one :)

    its one of the few all text post that i really enjoyed !

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  6. i found you on weardrobe just now and am following as well!! i'm just now starting to get into it, but i really like it so far.

    and thanks for the compliment. =)

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  7. Unfortunately I think that some overweight women are using the 'curvy' label as a mechanism to fight back against the whole size 0 thing. The problem is that none of these extremes (morbidly obese/anorexically thin) are healthy and saying that you should not care about being 'curvy' (in the obese use of the word) because that is 'who you are', is completely switching one problem for another : the health side and the fashion side.

    IMO - people should embrace who they are but no veil themselves as to the actual implications.

    Sorry i am off on a tangent!!!!!x

    It is true that some magazines do not portray various types of women, but it is not an excuse to keep being seriously ill!

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  8. @fashionbutter - thank you! i actually had no idea it wasn't going straight to my weardrobe page. i will have to look into that. you're a doll!

    @ladynoix - i love your tangents and thank you for all your thoughts. your comments are always interesting and smart love!

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  9. well, you see, I absolutely support what you said here. BUT, it seems that the term "feminism" has started to live a life of its own. in the beginning the idea was beautiful, now it stands for no make-up, business suits that hide your gender and "growing it all natural".

    what is the word for not being ashamed of being a woman and playing the card of femininity without being afraid to look weak? i stand behind THAT word.

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  10. I really agree in your post. this is very inspirational and striking.

    Seriously this has been a big issue and has been going over and over again...

    thanks for making this one and I love your point of view...

    everyone should respect that!

    Take Care gorgeous!
    Sweet
    PensandLens

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  11. i completely agree with the concept that "feminist" oftentimes carries a negative connotation and women who associate themselves with feminist tendencies are regarded as rebels or lesbians. it's such a misconception that boggles my mind. as you said, if a woman wants to care about her appearance and fashion plays a role in that, so what? how does this reflect on her as a person? couldn't have stated better that our actions and convictions are what define us, not what we wear or how we look.

    however, i've worked hard at staying away from labels completely. i hold my own (very strong) beliefs about a number of topics, as we all do, but i've tried not to categorize myself in terms of religion, politics, or, in this case, feminism. i agree that women are equal to men and should be paid as such. i agree that we can't be critical of others for doing something differently than we do. but i wouldn't call myself a feminist because it's a label. i am who i am without putting a name to it, and i recommend we all aim for that. as long as we all stand up proudly and be who we are without being afraid to show our real selves, that's all we need. calling it this or that will only perpetuate stereotypes, in my opinion.

    great article. you always inspire thought and interest with your writing. and i'm glad, as i've told you before, that you're using this blog as a forum to spread positive energy about the world :)

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  12. Hi! =) I'd like to tell you that I just add you on my blog's side bar. there are the blogs that I follow.
    If you want you can do the same, if you don't it's the same! i'll continue to follow you anyway :D

    La Martina

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  13. @martina - anch'io te ho messo sul mio sidebar cara! grazie mille. =)

    @amy - always love your comments darling! i can definitely understand the desire to not label yourself. and everyone should make that decision because it's an important thing to know about ourselves. the reason i like the feminist label is because it's a movement that aims to correct certain injustices. to me, it constitutes a solution to a specific problem. it has certain goals that look to be met, and mobilizes people to do something about them. with the label comes an association to years of history and some brilliant minds like susan b. anthony and simone de beauvoir. without the term feminism, it can get easy for the world to forget or think that the issues don't exist anymore, when they very much do. they are getting better obviously, and that is thanks to the movement and all it's accomplished to date. so for me, it's still necessary. a label to remind people, to keep them active and striving for these goals. and in general, it's just a useful umbrella term to have when talking about women's rights and those who support them. it definitely made writing this post much easier, without the term "feminism" some of my sentences would have gotten really clunky.

    i hope i'm still alive to see the day when the label is no longer needed. that would really be something. =)

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  14. Very interesting post; I was mulling over the 'clash' of Fashion and Feminism on my Blog just the other day also. Am glad to see there's plenty more people open to discussing it.

    I definitely believe the two things can co-exist, and although I do partly blame Vogue & the industry in general for screwing the 'body image' thing up for everyone during the 60s, I see no reason why the problems that are hanging around still today can't be fixed.

    There's no reason why a woman can't love Fashion AND be a Feminist.. in fact if more people spoke out about being both I'm sure these negative perceptions could be changed for good.

    As for a 4th wave, I'd say we're terribly overdue one! One day soon I'm sure *fingers crossed*

    Anywhoo, I'm really glad I found your blog. Thanks for giving me something to read x

    RAH! RAH! STYLE REVOLT!

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  15. Could not agree more, the fight is about being truly equals,every day we come into contact with double standards not just in the work place but on social/family interactions.
    Its better if a woman is well rounded in her interests and like you said not shun all things associated with what we think equals homemaker.
    We need to be stronger and bolder without giving in to any stereotypes on either side of the spectrum.
    Great post I enjoyed reading it very much!
    xx

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  16. Completely agree! Great great post!!!!!!
    thanks for sharing...
    xo

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  17. found your post through Links a la Mode. Really great read, I agree completely with your point of view, and think it is one that we need more of in order for equality to be a true reality that does not shun upon things that we as people, anyone, are passionate about.

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  18. Anonymous30.7.10

    Just discovered your blog. Beautiful photography and I love this article. I hate the fact that feminism some how means the denial of the feminine. Is that what our foremothers worked so hard for? I don't think so. Being a feminist means you can be a woman and still be equal to a man. I don't want to be a man. I'm a corporate attorney who loves dressing up, wearing make-up, and getting my hair and nails done. I actually feel more powerful and more feminine when I'm wearing the right outfit for the occassion and my hair and makeup look great.

    My personal motto comes from the incredible Coco Chanel, and I think it applies here.

    "How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone."

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  19. :) I am glad I found your blog! You are a beautiful girl with a great style but you also write interesting things! :)
    You are right about feminist, I was worried about telling people I had a fashion blog. I'm studying an Engineering and I was afraid people thought I was stupid and I was not enough to that career.
    But it is right that there are still lot of stereotyping and discrimination about women. As you have written: "she cares about her appearance, therefore she's shallow and empty."

    I don't know how I can demonstrate that women can both like fashion and being intelligent!

    My Cherry Gum

    P.S. I was already following you with bloglovin'.
    I follow you blog, keep in touch :)

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  20. Do you consider gay or homosexual a feminist?

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  21. @auctions antiques - personally, i think people are feminist based solely on their beliefs and regardless of gender or sexual preference.

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  22. Ahhh wow! This is wonderful, it's so nice to know there's like-minded people out there. Feminism has become such a dirty word as it is, and feminists judging feminists for having an interest in fashion does nothing other than perpetuate the situation of inequality they apparently strive to change. As you said, it's a step back, not forward!

    Love your blog!
    www.luxe-rose.blogspot.com

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  23. I like your analysis and attitude. Yes, fashion has been associated with traditional oppression of women but it's not necessarily a force of it. Your analogy to cooking is apt.

    Moreover, I like your encouragement of health and happiness. For me, feminism must include major support for improving the lives of women and most women care about their appearance. There's nothing wrong with that. Nice post.

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