Progressive women have often turned to fashion to advance the cause. Reformists of the 1890s donned ties; unmistakable even today as a representation of male power, intelligence and privilege. Nearly a century later in the 1980s the ‘Power Suit’ with its wide shoulders and bold block colour played the same role in the workplace. Appearance is set at the male standard so brave women looking to be ‘taken seriously’ have to be sure not to look too feminine to prove their worth at the workplace.
Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke in her Ted Talk ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ in 2013 about how gender stereotypes are something we should all be angry about.
“Gender as it functions today is an injustice”
because we stifle the humanity of boys when we put them in hard small cages of manliness. “They are conditioned to be afraid of weakness, vulnerability and fear. From their teenage years, boys are expected to pay for girls, linking masculinity with money.” This not only can leave men with fragile egos surrounded by needing to be tough and wealthy, it results in girls having to cater to these egos in their own careers. It’s not uncommon for women to be told to be successful …but not too successful or you’ll threaten the men and financially emasculate men.
That’s like telling a man not to be too good at cleaning the bathroom or they’ll de-feminise women’s traditional gender role. Gender shouldn’t be linked to these things and neither should feeling self-worth and confidence of both men and women.
Respect Me Whatever I Am Wearing
In this outfit that I wore recently on a Saturday early evening in London, I felt too uncomfortable travelling alone on the underground. I used the silk scarf that you see here tucked into my belt to disguise my feminist cleavage until I got close to the party location. I didn’t feel this way because of how I looked, I felt this way because I was scared of how other people would react.
Do you have an outfit that makes you feel more ‘powerful’ or confident? I’m sure thousands of women have felt unsafe because of their clothes the way I did. Leave a comment if you have.
A Load of Trump
I also want to ask, in regard to recent shocking events in Washington, how First Lady Melania Trump can be so nonchalant about wearing a jacket with these words on EVER, let alone to visit a migrant children’s centre. Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham dismissed the the grossly inappropriate fashion choice;
“It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.”
Hands up if you can believe that for a second? Disgraceful. The carelessness of this being a ‘mistake’ or ‘coincidence’ is hard to believe.
There has been plenty of kickback from high-profile individuals showing the power of a message in the form of response clothing.
I’d love to know other people’s opinions on anything I’ve covered today. Please share this post with others so we can open the conversation about clothing, gender and sexism. If you want to read more about fashion, read my post ‘One Week, Two Fashion Weeks’.
Love Roxy xXx
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