February 27, 2006

Feminist/Feminine

Salon.com Life | Broadsheet: "'Italian designers have learned a new trick,' it began. 'Don't impose, offer. Next winter's fashion allows women to pick and choose at their convenience, from feminist to feminine, raunchy to romantic.'" (quoting an AP Story)

Wait just a minute. Feminists can't wear feminine clothes?

Hmm definitions please
Feminist: A person whose beliefs and behavior are based on feminism.
Feminism: 1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. 2. The movement organized around this belief.
Feminine: 1. Associated with women and not with men 2. Befitting or characteristic of a woman especially a mature woman

I don't really see a conflict between being a feminist and being feminine. Now, I am a woman, who enjoys her dockers, button-downs and short hair, but also, upon occassion, loves wearing a dress.

I could go on and on about the perfect dress, comfortable, ankle length, a skirt that loves my hips and swishes a bit when I walk or spin. Or I could talk about the joy and power in the perfect evening dress. There is a lot of power and freedom in a dress. They are truly under-appreciated. Maybe the overlooking of the power and freedom of dresses and the perception that feminine and feminist are opposite ends of the spectrum really does point to the larger issues of feminism and women's issues.

Restrictive fashion and fashion dictates bite. Fighting THOSE things is where feminism meets fashion. But, feminism isn't about throwing away the feminine. It is about the restriction of women, the social, economic and political rules that keep women in "their" place. Once this can be made clear...sigh...

So, grow a pair, ;-) find a pretty pink dress and top it with a feminist t-shirt, add some frills that make you smile, throw on a pair of comfortable shoes and enjoy what you wear.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

I totally agree, ramblewoman. I used to get right into HIGH HEELS (SHOCK! HORROR!). They felt soooo naughty. And DRESSES! I think they're great. As someone who grew up with short hair and grubby t-shirts, being instructed to love blue, not pink and to want to be a doctor NOT under any circumstances a nurse, a rugby player but never a ballerina, a mechanic but definitely not a hairdresser, the idea that I could run away to university and wear lipstick and perfume and stupid shoes and insist that my boyfriend put together my Ikea furniture while I counted calories and made dinner seemed just too fantastic an opportunity for rebellion to pass up. It doesn't mean I'm not a feminist... just that I like being a girl sometimes (OK - so high heels and counting calories got old pretty quickly, but that's not the point). And I LIKE cooking (not all the time, but sometimes). I also like the way skirts feel. I like the fact that if you wear a dress you don't have to worry about whether your top matches your pants. And there is a huge amount of power in being female and knowing how to make the most of it. Its a shame that there is so much pressure to fit 'skinny' 'sexy' 'sweet' whatever stereotypes. But its not really sensible to trade those stereotypes for equally opressive ideas about what a 'feminist' should look like. Right?