Fashion and feminism are topics that have been forever interrelated in some way or the other. Both of them work on the principle of symbolism, where symbolizing your strength and what you deserve becomes extremely important.
Although it is amazing to see fashion designers, influencers, and models learning ways to express social issues through fashion. But, things are never that simple as they appear to be. People often face criticism for their fashion choices. Name-calling, slut-shaming, and social harassment are just some of the things that women have to go through to make a fashion statement. The actual reality goes much beyond.
Symbol for Expression
With women and men evolving their choices every day, wearing a certain kind of clothing becomes a way of expression. Be it expressing a concern towards increasing rapes in the world, or defying the norms of dressing standards, fashion can work for voicing all sorts of opinions.
While most fashion revolves around self-reflection, it is more about being a catalyst for change. A change in opinion, perceptions, societal rulings, and ideologies. More or less, fashion stands as a symbol of change and expression. Several trends have been listed which were brought to notice for out-rightly challenging conservative notions of the society.
By exposing or flaunting a little more of their skin and legs, women have confronted the notion that ‘women should only wear covered clothes.’ Mini-skirts allow women to run, jump, exercise, and do whatever they want to freely. It permits them to embrace certain body parts and wear them like a boss.
In the words of a fashion historian, Deidre Clemente, “Trends are not ‘reflective’ of change, but rather constitutive of change.”
While wide-leg trousers might be considered non-flattering according to the rest of the society, it is comfortable wearing for women. It stands high in contrast to the feminine style of dressing and provides an opportunity for women to defy the generic notion of dressing like a woman.
It works against the idea of dressing in a particular way to appeal to men. This in turn disregards the idea of looking beautiful only to gain male validation. In turn, it spreads the opinion that a woman should solely dress to appeal to themselves.
Emerged in the 1980s, Blazers became a trend for workspace women and working women. By symbolizing the workwear of men, women draping Blazers portrayed a powerful look. This symbolized the fact that women out of everyone can go out to work, and do everything that a man can do.
With large shoulder pads, loose-fitting and oversized body hug, the Blazers symbolized the point of comfort over anything at workplaces. This showcased that despite gender, women are no different than men in office.
A Momentary of Change
With women adoring earlier said clothes to be inappropriate, they are passing a statement that a woman should not be judged for the number of inches she wears. With people, victim-blaming women for all the wrong that happens to them, women choosing “apparent” open clothes is a feminist statement that allows them to go by their choice.
This accounts for a moment of change because earlier women were afraid to step up to society and own their choices. But, with fashion and feminism getting inherently integrated, stepping up and confrontation has become easier.
Although all of this is easier said than done. However, if one can use fashion to step against patriarchy and other problematic beliefs, it can be used to smash other societal norms and rulings.
With all the above-mentioned examples, it is visible that fashion is a catalyst for feminism and feminist activities. It enables one to pass a confronting statement and own what one deserves. Time and again, the concept that no force in this world can stop women when women stand united has turned out to be correct.
In the current scene of turmoil and problems, one can use fashion as a tool to enhance the feminist struggle and movement. Honestly, Fashion does not have a gender, it does not have sex, it is an entity that belongs to all. So, employing it as a weapon to widen a movement does no harm.