Feminist Fashion Bloggers Google Groups week three! Check out the others here!
I express my feminism in the way that I dress, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the people who saw me missed that. Because I don’t have a “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt.
I wear things that I like, that I think suit who I am (that’s ideals, fictions, body shape, colouring). I don’t wear things just because I feel obliged to, though I don’t mean that I won’t adjust myself with a mind to setting, company or event.
I don’t always express as much as I’d like to, because I am still not quite brave enough to wear bare unshaven legs outside of the beach (though incidentally? when I was at the beach last summer, a full busy beach, with my parents and my sister and my honey, I wore my faun-legs freely below bikini shorts and I did not notice one single negative anything. And I am always on the lookout, out of habit).
Mentally, I feel pressure to – that “things would be easier” if I’d – trade on hotness. I have no desire to and I feel unpleasant at the thought of doing so, but I have the ability to look mainstream-pretty, I’m ‘petite’, and I’m able to present cleavage. I have a naturally sideways and loophole-spotting mind – I could try to go in for the hot girl leg-up. I wouldn’t be punished for it. It might make certain things come easier, or give me power or social importance. But it doesn’t come naturally, to my temperament – I’d feel like a sham and a traitor, and so I don’t. I guess that’s expressing feminism, choosing not to try the way that centuries of patriarchy have made seem the best way so often.. a way that, if everyone acknowledges it without actually acknowledging it, allows the suggestion that ladies (do/should/must) always come with a free boner?
It’s not that I look down on women who choose to trade on the symbolism of their bodies or their flirty manipulation skills. One of my favourite characters is Emma Frost; Jessica Alba as Max kills it when she’s undercover as a prostitute in Dark Angel early on. I won’t give real-life examples, because who knows how people like to be talked about. It’s that that way would be wrong for me, the genderless spirit-me, and choosing feminism (for me) means staying true to that knowledge despite what the gender roles I interpret say might be ‘a wise choice’.
I don’t wear make-up and that’s a feminist choice because wearing make-up annoys me. It disassociates me with myself. To wear make up, for me, would be giving in and performing as a fake lady who was not myself. Unless it was like this. So ask me again when the world ends, I guess.
I use my dad’s hair clipper and some nail scissors to cut my hair, and I stomp around in Dr Martens. Sometimes I laugh at my hairy legs and my boots and my buzz and think “am I dressed up?” But I’m not. I bought my boots when I was eighteen, because they were (are) gorgeous and well-made and practical and made me think of the documentaries on “the punk scene” that I fell in love with as a tot. I stopped shaving my legs regularly (because shaving my legs was too annoying) when I was nineteen or so, but did it on and off for a year or two because I felt I’d be judged as gross. Same with armpits. I buzz my hair because I like to cut it myself, it’s a sort of meditation, and I can’t reach the back of my head properly. Short hair is nice; it never ever gets in the way and I don’t have to do anything to it to make me look like the me I want to.
A lot of my image and body feminism-passion comes from being annoyed, I suppose. “Just fuck off and stop getting at me” could be my slogan.
But again, none of this is immediately obvious, if you look at me! Or if it is, it’s interpretable.
And that, of course, is why I blog.
I tell you about my struggles with accepting that I “carry a handbag”. I tell you about how I worry about what I’m projecting in a cinching belt. I tell you about what I mean to say with everything I wear, and I write about feminism and inequality and just stuff I am interested in right next to pictures of me, being comfortable in my lady-body, wearing the clothes that the brain and heart that think about all THAT stuff like to wear.
Fashion blogging is building profiles of people who wear clothes. If fashion blogging is supported by thought-blogging it becomes feminist, by way of enriching the dialogue about ‘what people are like’, and if clothing is presented in a feminist context it becomes an expression of feminism through wardrobe. Maybe I’ll see a lady in a dress and a knotted cardigan next week and think of Tea & Feathers, and I’ll assume that she’s a sister suffragette, so to speak. The world will seem a little brighter, because it usually does when you feel that people around you are on your side.