The biggest question today always making its rounds in a crowd is, “Can you be a feminist and still be fashionable?” The world has a certain stereotype when it comes to feminists. They don’t think of a feminist as one with long, curly hair, and a flowy, floral dress. They think of someone who is tough looking, with male-ish attire. However, anyone and everyone can be a feminist!
Feminism came into play in the 19th century with an emphasis on equal rights between men and women. Having accomplished universal suffrage and equal rights in education and work, the uprising died down for a bit. However, the second wave of feminism took the cities by storm in the 1960s, with an emphasis on social and and economic equality. The last wave is still prevalent, where there are two problems being tackled. The first one includes women being projected in a sexual way in advertisements, the media, and photography. The second one says that women should be allowed to wear whatever they want to wear, and still be as successful as men in the workplace and household.
The Tom Ford Spring 2008 collection photographed a completely nude woman ironing a pair of trousers for a man. Here, the man was dressed in a smart and dapper suit, waiting for the woman to finish pressing his trousers. This photograph elicits a certain set of emotions for me. Firstly, it shows a woman doing a typical household chore – something that is stereotyped as a woman’s job. Then, it shows the man standing around and waiting for her to finish, while reading a newspaper. This portrays the idea of how men should expect their women to carry out these tasks for them. Additionally, I think it was an extremely sexist thing to do. This sort of a campaign photograph basically weakens the idea of feminism today.
With that being said, we should have the ability and freedom to dress however we want to dress. Fashion and feminism can be used in a positive way, instead of making women look like objects. The two entities can go hand in hand, and work in a very empowering manner. Dressing ultra tomboyish, or super feminine is completely up to us. Fashion is all about taking risks, just like feminism. Other’s judgements don’t matter in these cases. It’s so important to learn our personal aesthetics along the way. I’ve always loved wearing cute, floral dresses, however, recently I’ve started gravitating more towards different styles of trousers. This has allowed me to have so much fun and just play around with styles.
Coco Chanel once said, “If there is no woman, there is no dress.” However today, if there is no dress, there is still a woman. Pants or no pants, we deserve the right to do things the way we think is fitting. After all, just like Beyonce says, Who runs the world? GIRLS!