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25.8.12

Feminism and Fashion Blogging


This post will be a little different in comparison to my usual ones; however for a while I've been longing to do this post in order to address something which I've observed strewn all over various crevices of the internet. As you may have deduced judging from the title, the subject matter of this post will be based around the feminism versus fashion blogging debate, which has circulated around the internet for quite a substantial amount of time. 

First thing's first, I'm a feminist. As Caitlin Moran correctly said in How To Be A Woman: "a) do you have a vagina? And b) do you want to be in charge of it? If you said yes to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist." Secondly, I strive not to conform to the modern day pressures in which to attain the standards of what is deemed 'perfect' in today's misogynistic society. I dress solely for myself, not in some sort of attempt to please or satisfy the patriarchy, which is commonly a substantial misconception of the fashion industry. Without sounding too cliche, I view dressing as a method of self-expression and experimentation. For me, an outfit has the ability to transform my mood and persona, as well as boost my confidence, depending on what it may be. I frequently find myself to be rather baffled when people say things along the lines of, "I want to be judged on who I am, not the clothes I wear." It's very similar to saying "I want to be judged on who I am, not on the words that come out of my mouth." My point is, fashion is a form of expression. A language of sorts. Perhaps even an art form. However, it's also amongst the minority of forms of expression, languages and art forms in which women have more freedom than men. Women are gradually gaining the power in which to cut loose and liberate themselves from the shackles of the patriarchy. We don't have to succumb to the demands of men and how they'd like for us to dress- women shouldn't be judged by the opposite sex purely based upon their attire. 

It was for this exact reason when, in 2011, feminists everywhere were galvanised into action when a Toronto Police officer who referred to women and survivors of sexual assaults as 'sluts', suggested that women 'dressing like sluts' were inviting their own victimisation; and thus the Slut Walk was born. I cannot express in terms of words how much this statement angers me. Women shouldn't have to take the blame for sexual assault purely as a result of how they may be dressed; it is the men who need more discipline when it comes to situations such as these. Contrary to the popular fallacy that fashion is nothing more than a materialistic woman's fantasy, this is definitely not the case. It is the pinnacle of irony that women are viewed as ornamental in a society that still unfortunately values us more for appearance in comparison to our accomplishments; and are encouraged to fit the stereotypical mold of what is considered beautiful, yet are then derided as shallow and vain for doing so. Women's fashion is not intended to attract male attention and male approval- you should dress primarily for yourself, and nobody else. Women are independent beings, and you should do whatever it takes to make yourself feel beautiful and confident in your own skin. 

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this relatively different post, and it didn't just sound like a load of garble and nonsense. I'd love to hear your views on the feminism vs fashion argument either in the comments below, or if you'd wish to email me at sarahcolee11@gmail.com. 

Hugs and kisses, Sarah xo

16 comments :

  1. I completely agree with you, I hate it when most of my friends dress how their boyfriend wants them to dress like or how some of them dress slutily to get more male attention, I find it so frustrating!

    Totally agree with you in regard to the sexual assault victims being called sluts which is completely out of order.

    oh dear society is so hypocritical!

    Project Rattlebag

    xx

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  2. Yesss! Another feminism post on a fashion blog! I've seen a few recently, and I can't even tell you how happy it makes me- it's an issue which really needs discussing, and just the mention of it on a medium like a fashion goes some way to reduce the current (and ridiculous) stigma around the word 'feminist'. I'm fifteen, and having read the excellent book you mentioned, 'How to be a Woman', I found my views transformed; before, I'd never even given feminism a real thought, and had just stupidly and naively considered it to be what it is often portrayed as in the wider media today: man hating extreme views that didn't have any real relevance to everyday life. I think it's essential to put feminism out there as something that should be a part of every woman's identity, and people like you, by writing about it are helping to promote it as that. Anyway, I'm sorry, I've waffled and sort of lost my point somewhere in the ramblings, but I hope you get my drift. Props to you for posting about this. :) xx

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    1. This is going to sound extremely patronising and for that I apologise, but I wish my views were as well-formed as yours at fifteen! I hope this is the start of an educated and liberal new generation.
      X

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  3. While I understand what you're trying to say, I disagree though with the statement, "..it is the men who need more discipline when it comes to situations such as these." Often times people tend to say, "It is the men to blame, not the women!" and I disagree with it. You probably didn't mean it that way but it's a small pet peeve of mine. Not all men are rapists and surprisingly for most people, not all rapists are men. In my opinion, when people talk about rape, it is not the women's fault, it is not the men's fault; it is the rapist's fault. Most people like to say that they believe in women's rights, but for me, I'd like to say that I believe in EQUAL rights. Sure men have their privileges but women do have their own too. Men have their own faults and women have their own too.

    Sorry for the long ramble but I guess this post sort of encourages me to share my opinion, haha. I'll definitely check out the book you've mentioned. Thank you for the post, Sarah.

    x

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    1. True, but it's not just about that. It's about the fact that women are objectified and made into objects and have been for centuries, making them more of a target of sexual assault then men. We live in a society that continuously devalues women based off of shallow things such as clothing or their sexual activity. Yes, the fault of a rape is the rapist, regardless of gender, but this post is talking about feminism and specifically the violence done against women by men. Victim shaming is common -a woman in a short skirt is often considered to be "inviting: to be raped. Which is bull. On the flip side if a man is raped he is belittled for being weak and girlish (because women tend to be victims of rape more then men) which is still putting women beneath men. Being weak is considered a feminine quality -why? Because bullshit patriarchy, that's why.
      Not all men are rapists. Women can be rapists. But our society puts more emphasis on telling women to dress a certain way so as to not get raped then it does teaching it's men that women are not objects to be done with as they please.
      And women may have their privileges, but male privileges definitely outweigh them.
      /end.

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  4. This was an interesting read!
    I definately dress for myself and wear whatever I want to wear! :)
    x

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    1. I like this post, however i'm not quite sure about some of the other posters slut shaming... If you want to walk around with a low cut top on, you go for it! It's YOUR body regardless of what society dictates. It is not slutty or depraved. It's a woman celebrating the glorious body she was born with whether she's a size 0 or a size 20! Why are we still crying about people dressing sluttily for the male gaze? Even if they are, we are forgetting something.. It is their body!

      Nice to see another feminist without ignorant views Sarah. ;)

      XOXO Sade

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  5. I completely agree, I am so sick of the view that a girl can't look good and be a feminist. The Catlin Moran book is so good and everybody should read it. Boys included as it gives such a good view point.

    Xoxo
    Sasha
    http://bubblingupinblue.blogspot.co.uk/
    Ps somewhere back in the achieves of my blog is my own views on feminism if you want to read it.

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  6. Such a great post! I completely agree with you! It is ridiculous to say "I want to be judged on who I am, not the clothes I wear"! Like you I find fashion to be an expression of who I am, it is my main form of expression! I'd be lost creatively without fashion! I also agree that women shouldn't dress for male attention, but if they are to go out in a short skirt or a mini dress because that is who they are and what makes them feel good, who has the right to define what a "slut" is?! Even if a woman was walking down a street naked neither does she deserve or is she asking to be sexually assaulted. It would never be said that a topless man with a lovely toned torso was a "slut" and that it would be his own fault if he was sexually assaulted, so why do we label women this way?

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  7. loved this post, I'm hopefully going to the London Slut Walk next month :-) xxxx

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  8. LOVED this post! Couldn't have put it better myself!

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  9. this is so weird - I have a post waiting to go about this exact topic. But I haven't posted because i just keep reading it back. You've summed up so much here!

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  10. Whoohoo! you go girl. we shouldn't have to listen to anyone when it comes to what we wear.
    a thousand million words

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  11. Fellow Sarah, thank you not only for the lovely compliment on my blog, but for introducing me to yours; a wonderful mix of outfits, and carefully thought-out, well-written posts like this.

    You know, I dress for myself, but I also dress to identify with and gain respect from others who may be similar to me. Not at any point does sex appeal come into the equation.

    Interestingly it seems that although feminists (like Moran) have gained support from other women, men are resisting the backlash even more. I can't believe some of the comments in the news as of late; for example Akin's "legitimate rape" corker. It's for this reason women need to keep on keepin' on; the bubble will surely burst as the feminists ain't backing down.

    X

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  12. PREACH IT SISTAAAH!
    In all seriousness though, i agree so so much, and it's when you wear something and people say things like "Oh that looks nice but the boys won't like it"- well maybe i don't only wear things to impress boys? Contrary to popular belief, not everything a woman does is to impress a man. I could go on but i don't want to make this comment too long. Have you seen the "who needs feminism?" tumblr? :)

    asdeepandasblack.blogspot.com

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  13. I love this post. I as well am a feminist but it's extremely annoying that being into clothes and makeup makes me feel like I'm not exemplifying feminism the way I want to. I dress for myself but it's such a hassle trying to get it past peoples' minds that the female body is not made for male consumption.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog by the way!

    couturing.blogspot.com

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