Thursday, 27 June 2013

Fashion & Feminism: Eh?

Two of my interests are pretty contradictory. I've spent a very long time trying to console them. Like, years.

Feminism: Books, Pretty serious, Really rather useful.
Fashion: Froofy, Aesthetically pleasing, Requires money, Aimed (mostly) at a feminine market.

And that's where the problem comes in. Femininity.  I identify as a cisgender woman; an identity that I have actively chosen that just so happens to be the same as the gender I was assigned at birth. I really enjoy performing femininity, yet, historically, it is a bit... eh. It poses such questions as: is femininity a form of social performance exerting control over the (let's face it) not-so-well treated gender in society? Or is it the mocked, othered gender that no one really takes that seriously? Or both? I'd say both. However, it's the latter I find particularly interesting, and it is something that I want to explore. Effemiphobia is something that both men and women experience, and aesthetic femininity is something that I want to reclaim as having feminist potential.

But how on earth do you reclaim something that seems so much at odds with your political beliefs?

Well, I think several things will have to be taken into account:

  • Aesthetic identity doesn't fully equate with personal experience. 
  • There is absolutely nothing wrong in being feminine. Or masculine. Or androgynous. Or none of the above.
  • Femininity still has scope for fluidity. 

For this, I shall be thinking about fashion from a practical basis.
  • Where is the product made, and who made it?
  • Can I afford it?  
  • Do I own more clothes than anything else? (including, but not limited to: Food, Books, Toothpaste)
  • Is my appearance making me feel stressed?
  • Do I want to look more like a boy today?

I am a great believer in enjoyment and little pleasures (you only live once, right?), and so this is an experiment in balancing. Enjoying aesthetic femininity without shame. Living within one's means. Shopping ethically. Not wearing clothes/ doing any beauty treatments that cause pain.   

A lovely balance of the two. Actively choosing to be feminine without feeling the pressure.

So what's the plan?

  • Spotlights on independent designers and makers.
  • OTTDs, remixing Highstreet, Independently made and Second hand.
  • General 'feminist lifestyle' musings (Love how hilariously debauched this sounds!)
  • How to feel pampered for very few pounds.

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