So I’m a woman, and I’m wondering–why do we as a gender refuse to look feminine because it’s not “feminist.” Yet, we have celebrity style icons who are known more for what they don’t wear than for what they do, or we go to the other extreme and cover up what makes us uniquely female with unflattering, unshapely, male inspired clothing.
I’m sorry, maybe I misunderstood the concept of feminism.
How do I assert my feminist beliefs…by dressing like a man? Or, dressing for a man. Doesn’t that just say that I have to cede to a man’s world, a man’s way of dressing, a man’s way of looking at beauty? Uck. I just threw up a little.
To me, being a feminist means that you recognize and value the differences between the genders and give them equal priority and worth. It means you recognize what is uniquely male and female and celebrate it without fear that it will be looked down upon. It means that when I show up in a board room with a fabulous fit and flare dress and pearls, you won’t look down on my fashion sense as a sigh of mental inferiority. (I mean, you can do that dude, but you will be sorely mistaken.)
To me, there is nothing more feminist than rocking a great dress that is both ladylike and fashion forward. There is nothing more feminist than a man in a tailored suit. There is nothing more feminist than refusing to be reduced to a sex object by wearing clothing created for the pleasure of the beholder and not the wearer.
Some people say that being feminine is petty, or worse, confining oneself to an archaic set of rules and strictures. Whaaa???
Dressing for your own pleasure is the most freeing argument for a return to femininity in female dress. It calls for women to dress for themselves, not for men. It calls for women to wear what they love and what looks lovely on their bodies. It calls for women to be empowered, yes, empowered, by looking amazing in the clothes they wear. (Guys get to wear “power suits” and “power ties” blah blah blah. Where is my power dress? Bring me my power pencil skirt! Bring me my elephant!!! Oops. Sorry..I digressed into a Wyclef Jean lyric…)
As for the former complaint, being feminine is the farthest thing from petty I could possibly imagine. There is nothing stronger, more empowering, and more beautiful, than a woman who recognizes her unique features as a woman and dresses to showcase those assets.
I’m so tired of all the caked on makeup, the tight clothes, the sweat pants, the athletic gear, the gender-neutral, the “I-don’t-own-a-dress,” the booty shorts, the “I-can-see-your-cellulite-through-them-pants,” the gaudy, the trashy.
Come on ladies. We can do better.
The other day I watched a documentary on Vogue and saw a behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot for the magazine’s cover. The photo shoot involved an actress. A famous actress. A beautiful actress. An actress famous for her beauty. And you know what? She couldn’t fit into the original dress that had chosen for the shoot. They retouched her figure. They gave her a wig because her own hair was “lackluster.” They lengthened her neck in the final photo and retouched her mouth to be less “toothy.” They spent more work retouching her photo then they spent a the photo shoot…in Rome.
My point? I’m not arguing for women to love fashion. I’m not arguing for women to look like they stepped off the pages of a magazine. I’m arguing for women to look like themselves. Like women. Not manly. Not slutty. Not fashion magaziney. Just. Womanly.
And sure, I’d love it if that meant we all started dressing like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. But if we can at least start with dressing in a way that honors our gender and flatters our bodies, then that’s a step in the right direction. As for me, I’m keeping my pearl right where they belong…around my pretty little feminine neck.