Feminism and fashion have been a hot topic lately, one I touched on briefly a few days ago. What does being a feminist have to do with anything? If the way I dress gets attention, more specifically male attention, does it revoke my license for gender equality? Am I to be taken less seriously because I’m deemed feminine or sexy? Am I taken to be taken more seriously for hiding my body? This week’s questions revolve around this exact topic.
FBFF: Do you think there is an incompatibility between feminism and a love for fashion?
FJ: No. It’s a matter of perception. I would turn the question around and ask, what would make you believe that there is? Does my love for a male dominated sport make me less feminine? These are all stereotypes and perceptions. I believe that the point of feminism is not just gender equality but freedom from gender-based behavior and obligations. In fact, I would add to this and say there is no obligation to equate fashion to stereotypical femininity. What if my love for fashion was simple, masculine lines? Would it suddenly be deemed appropriate feminist garb? Of course not.
FBFF: There is more to each of us than a love for fashion, how do you incorporate every aspect of yourself into your blog?
FJ: I don’t, nor do I feel the need to. I bring up different topics that I’m passionate about and speak in my own voice but my blog is mostly about my fashion so it will not feature every aspect of my personality or interests. I might loosely cover unrelated topics which will shed light on my personality, of course, but my assumption is that most readers didn’t come here to read about how things are going at work or my family dynamics, for that matter.
FBFF: With the fashion industry still being a male-dominated profession, how do you think it would differ if women played a larger role?
FJ: I don’t know. I’d like to think that there would be more emphasis on comfort but what we purchase and how we choose to dress ourselves is still a personal decision at the end of the day. Therefore, who’s to say that anything would change? Frankly, I don’t know enough about the fashion industry to understand what goes into it. I can say that perhaps the same changes we’ve seen as a society by having women in the workplace and in power would be reflected within the fashion industry. Would there be more compassion in the industry? Would we have realistic models, realistic size? I would like to think so.
FBFF: How is your self-image and the way you carry yourself informed by your beliefs?
FJ: I believe I’m free to carry myself any which way I choose. It is my choice to be androgynous or glamorous, sexy or covered up, feminine or not. I’m not naïve and understand that each choice I make carries with it an impression, people will see me and judge me. It doesn’t matter what I wear, we’re human animals looking to identify and understand. We do this by categorizing, stereotyping and judging. Hopefully we take it further by looking at the entire picture in and not just the first aesthetic impression.
It would be false to say we don’t judge a book by its cover, we do. Then we continue to create this judgement or impression by reading the title. Perhaps the author’s name lends an additional amount of information, the description on the back cover, the content of the story. The point is that it is up to us to remain open and continue taking information in with the understanding that our first impression is still only a portion of the whole. It’s up to me to communicate other aspects of my personality as I go through life, it is up to others to remain open from the time of their first judgement.
FBFF: Do you think clothing/makeup/hair helps communicate the truth about yourself or are those things superfluous add-ons?
FJ: Both. They are decorations but we live in a society where such decorations are the norm. If I were the only person in the entire state to fancy makeup, perhaps I’d only wear it once in a while, or perhaps never but I’m not. I may not consciously apply makeup every morning thinking to myself I must compete with other women, I must blend in, but these are subliminal and primal actions. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I have no problem leaving the house without makeup but it is a choice not a pressure I feel to do so. Everything I do, every way that I decorate myself is appropriate for the context of living in this society but ultimately I do it so that when I look in the mirror I like what I see.
I feel it does reflect the truth about myself. It says I take pride in how I present myself. I could expound further by using examples of inner dialogue versus public discourse, it’s all a choice. This is how I want to be seen. I exercise the freedom to choose how I want to be perceived every day. Exercising our freedom of choice is what defines our character and separates us from other animals.
I wear what I want.
Thank you Katy of Modly Chic for crafting these questions. Friend Friday is an opportunity for fashion and beauty bloggers to share their thoughts on a specific topic and read what others have to say on that same topic. For more information, check out Modly Chic and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!
If feminism and fashion have piqued your interest, check out Feminist Fashion Bloggers for more information on getting involved.
Deets: Black dress with blue bows/ModCloth, butterknit pumpkin shawl/Cheeky Boutique, blue tights/We Love Colors, black boots/Nordstrom’s, bracelets/H&M.