WEARING FEMINISM?

19 January 2018


Recently, I have been a sucker for buying clothes with empowering quotes for women on them. My view of wearing feminism, is that in some way these tops with powerful quotes on them is to trigger something in peoples mind when they see these tops. It may not be an obvious thought, but just a gentle reminder that women are powerful and deserve to be listened to and that not all women have this privilege. It's not an overly active form of empowerment, but just a reminder to not underestimate women and the importance of women banding together in a patriarchal world.


I am lucky because I have always been surrounded by strong women and I've never really experienced an occasion where I felt overly disadvantaged at being a women. In my job there is no difference between women and men, I only work in Customer Care but I know in the greater offices for ASOS there are projects set to inspire women, plus they do a lot of workshops with girls about loving yourself and about powerful women in the industry. I know this isn't the case everywhere though. The only time I feel explicitly disadvantaged at being a girl, is when I became aware of my fear of men that seems to be ingrained inside me. When I am out walking and a man looks at me a little too long and when their gazes and words make me feel as nothing but an object to be looked at is when my femininity makes me feel weak. I'll give an example- once on a night out during when I had bright purple hair a man asked me for a blowjob which I declined. He then shouted at me, stating that my purple hair and face full of glistening piercings were all for attention, so why won't I accept the attention I am being given. His rant was littered with insulting words and swear words and this is one of the times I have felt most scared because I knew I couldn't overpower this man if anything were to happen. Things aren't always like this, sometimes they are more extreme, sometimes they are less but either way this is one of the few times I have felt scared of being a woman as I realised how weak I am compared to men. Although my natural daily behaviours should be enough to remind me of my disadvantage; I'm wary on public transport, I check my car every time before I get in it and am constantly thinking of things I can use as weapons if need be. Yet despite these natural moments, I forget the male dominance that still occurs in our world. So if me, wearing a top that promotes the equality of men and women and places females on a pedastool I will do it so in my moments of fear I remember that there are people rooting for women and that these slogans on our t-shirts aren't lies. Also, if me wearing a t-shirt can just trigger a little thought in someone’s mind, it makes me happy.




However, the things I wear are only clothes. Is it just a case of looking cool, or is it an actual (extremely) diluted form of rebellion against the patriarchal ways that still grip our society? It doesn't make an actual impact other than maybe creating a thought and it obviously doesn't help in places where the difference between men and women is so great that equality can only seem like a hope rather than a reality. I wonder whether these t-shirts also serve as a reminder for women to stick together rather than promoting equality and somehow distance the two genders even more. (side note- I know there are more than two genders, but for the sake of this post I am keeping it very black and white and I'm sorry if anyone feels insulted by this, it's just my basic views on feminism which I know stretch a lot further than just men and women). I also asked someone else their opinion on these tops and they said it seems to be a way of getting Instagram likes, which is understandable because the case of feminism does seem to be a way to publicity for some, so does these shirts actually invalidate the issue rather than help it? Personally,  I don't think so as even if people wear them just to get a few extra likes, it is still a way of raising awareness.


Despite the hope of raising awareness, I’m not entirely sure whether these material manifestations of feminism are created with good intentions. It brings me back to wondering whether they invalidate feminism by making it a little logo on a top- but personally I don't agree with this. It's easy to forget though that these items are being created within the fashion industry, meaning they are created with a capitalist agenda rather than with a political mindset. Is it really dressing for the resistance or is it just for fashion? The funds from these tops don't go to helping women directly but I don't know if raising some form of awareness through the tops is powerful enough to counterbalance the exploitation of feminism for fashion. I think it depends on who is wearing the t-shirt and if they are willing to elaborate on the importance of such an innocent looking item of clothing, but I believe anyone who wears a top branded with a feminist quote are ready to defend it and explain the reason they are wearing it.

On a different note, but one that always seem to cross my mind when thinking about feminism is whether these tops could somehow be detrimental to boys. If a boy were wearing a top calling him 'Empowered' he'd just seem like a bit of a twat, as ultimately his gender always have had the upper hand when it comes to power and it is hard to forget the history between men and the abuse of their self given power. However, if these tops serve to make us proud of being a woman and enlighten the world of all the great qualities women share with men (as we are all as powerful as each other) why can't a boy express their love towards their gender. I know it's because they have always had the privilege and that it is almost impossible to find a time in history where a man was disadvantaged at being a man, but do these tops highlight the hierarchal divide between men and women to young kids? Do they divide us further? These tops are worn by me to ultimately promote equality and make me feel good about being a woman, yet if a boy were to wear one of them he would be seen as showing off. This is going off on a tangent though, about where does feminism go too far and surrounding the questionability of whether self love is encouraged as much for boys as much for girls.

To round this off though, although the act of wearing feminism can be questionable depending on where your intentions come from, I wear it with the hope of evoking some form of reaction, no matter how minuscule and just to bring attention to the divided world. I know it isn't a major act of feminism at all and that the world has so far to go, but these tops act as a reminder that the societal imposed differences between men and women still exist. I hope that when wearing them they remind the world that women possess a strength as great as men and that we should never be made to doubt the greatness that being a woman is.


16 comments

  1. I agree so much with this post and do believe there are so many questions surrounding feminism that are hard to determine an answer to as you could be going round all day thinking of different perspectives. I think anyone wearing these kind of tops should be able to justify what it means to them in an intelligent way as you've done, it is about making small impacts to build a bigger, better picture I suppose. I would say I'm a feminist and think all women in the world should be because our gender is still disadvantaged so much. For me, it's most noticeable when I'm on a night out. I would say student places for me theres less of it, but when there is a crowd of men over 25ish the stares and the looks are disgusting. I remember when I was in Zante on holiday in this club, there was a group of us dancing on this raised level girls and boys and I decided to just have a sit down, check my phone as any normal person would do. A guy came and sat right next to me, just staring at me and I was like 'What are you doing?' and he basically asked for sex and insinuated he thought I was a prostitute because I was sat on my own and how I was dressed, I was in a crop top, high waisted skirt, sandals and a bloody bumbag!! So apparently holiday attire is now prostitute dress! I just stood up and walked away, it absolutely disgusted me as I thought how dare he say that! Anyway, I'll stop rambling now but loved this post!

    Lucy Jane | Infinity of Fashion

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    1. Yes I feel you, the older man the worst they tend to be when it comes to nights out! Honestly, no pieces of clothing as 'safe' anymore- I was wearing baggy trousers and a baggy top, it's just so disgusting that some men think this way but I also feel better knowing that the world is like embracing girls dressing differently now and that hopefully our generation will be less sleazy than the last and that the sexualisation of girls will continue to lessen. Ah! What a world!x

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  2. I feel the same way as you!! Whenever I am out and about I get super super anxious if a man looks at me or if I'm walking by myself to always check behind me and always have an angry look on my face and to have my fist in the shape of 'if ya try something i will punch ya'!! I've never had any man try anything with me, I thank god but its so horrible that a man said for you to give him a blowjob just because of the way you were expressing yourself through your hair and piercings??? that does not instantly mean that you will do what a man says or that the way you look is just to impress a man, its not, its to impress yourself and for you only. I love the sayings on quotes I feel like its one of the only things which can make you feel empowered as a female by the quote to be like 'women can do what the hell we want and look however we want'. I LOVED this post!! honestly loved it!! xx

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    1. Thanks Chloe!! It's just annoying that men can scare us over so little and also must be annoying for those that mean no harm but I think things are getting so much better in some areas of the world. I know right though, bright purple hair doesn't make me crave attention, and to be perfectly honest it was meant to be more of a lilac colour aha x

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  3. I feel so inspired right now. Everything you have to say about wearing shirts that promote a little bit of feminism is so powerful. Now if everyone who saw you wearing that shirt could read this. Men who catcall are kind of the worse. Do they get what they are even doing to the woman they do that to?! I enjoyed this post a lot!

    Simply Me

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  4. This is very interesting, I've heard a lot of separate points and opinions on this topic and I do think you have to take into consideration where the clothes come from in the first place. Many companies like H&M, New Look etc. Acquire their clothes from places such as Bangladesh, from factories that do not treat their workers properly. Most of these workers are women and girls as young as 10. I think we need to take into consideration the fact that these girls will be making these shirts with such empowering messages on, having NO rights themselves. And that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I know you can get empowering, ethically sourced clothes but I think in order for the message to be as powerful as the customer wants it to be, it has to come from a place of empowerment and peace.
    Very interesting though and I like the points you raised about how this kind of clothing effects men and the type of people who favour to wear this message.
    Marbl☾☽Moon

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    1. Thanks, when writing this I didn't even consider where the clothes were sourced from but I think for me it's because one of the t-shirts I got from a £1 sale however this probably doesn't mean it was ethically sourced at all, and the other is from ASOS which I know quite a lot about and know they aim to be as ethical as they can. I tend to shop mainly from places where I know more background information, but you're completely right about the true impact to be sourced from places that don't mistreat their workers no matter the gender. Thanks for commenting and bringing my attention to this!x

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  5. As much as I wish I could wear one of these types of tops, it just feels highly hypocritical for me to do so. A woman would have probably made this feminist supporting top whilst she is in terrible conditions in a sweatshop and being paid the bare minimum whilst trying to avoid the fact that the building she is in may collapse at any moment and no real outrage would come out of it as we've already seen in the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013. It's just ironic to wear something that says "female equality" when the female who made the top definitely does not reap the benefits of that if that makes any sense. also I think it really trivialises the movement too, as you've mentioned. It's just another 'printed tee' and reminds me of those band tees that everyone was obsessed with despite having never listened to some of the artists. And it's probably the same with feminism, it's something 'cool' but it's not somethig that the influencer (bleugh) is very clued up on- they just know that it'll make them look like a freedom fighter -not to say that all bloggers/youtubers are completely clueless on feminism and womens rights nor do they have to be to support it- but it does seem shallow in a sense.
    Sorry this is so long ah

    Dalal // monochromedaisies.blogspot.com

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    1. Not long at all! I think a lot of does depend where it came from and I know one of these tops is from an ethical brand, but the other I have no clue where it came from. I get what you mean about the band tee (throwback to 2013 when everyone was wearing Nirvana t-shirts) but I do think it depends on who is wearing it but it also definitely is being trivialised a lot lately and a claim for attention I just think it depends on the intention in which it's worn- but at the same time can never truly be sure. I see what you mean about it being shallow, so many factors to think about- thanks for the comment Dalal!x

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  6. i'm always tentative about buying tshirts with feminist text because i feel like kind of a poser. like i don't attend rallies or raise funds for anything, so i always feel like i'd be doing the bare minimum by just wearing a tshirt. but i suppose just sparking thoughts or discussions is important to get people thinking and not letting feminism fall out of relevancy. and shirts like your empowered shirt are also good for the wearer, right? it's like a reminder to yourself as well as a notification to others. and in regards to boys wearing those kinds of shirts,i think you're right. obviously there are men who need empowering just as there are women who do not, but i think in general, history has worked to empower men more so than it has to empower women. so maybe now women need to make up for lost time. we need to boost ourselves up, self-centered as it may seem, until there are no longer men who feel comfortable asking strange women for blowjobs and acting up when they refuse.

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    1. I never thought of feeling like a poser before when wearing one of these, these tops definitely don't cause a ripple big enough to cure society or anything and don't bring anything to the world that a rally does. I guess it depends on reasons of wearing tops and what not but I get what you mean and more does need to be done than just wearing a top. I like that about women making up for lost time, thanks Kuo!x

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  7. I totally love this post. Your blog looks amazing, I'm definitely staying here :)

    www.itsclaudiag.com

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  8. This is such a great post, I always love how you style these tops too! I always struggle with wearing these kinda tops though because like you say, it's the whole idea that they were probably made by an underpaid woman working in bad conditions. Although, I know there are probably loads of alternative brands who will pay their workers fairly and do great slogan tees; I just gotta find them ahah. Cannot believee that story of the guy in the club?? That literally makes me feel sick, why do men think we dress for themm!!!

    xxx
    www.lexiealexandra.com

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    1. It was such a weird experience but I was quite drunk so I didn't feel too bad aha! Yeah I think it depends on the brand, I know a few brands from ASOS are well sourced and as a company ASOS do a lot of behind the scenes about empowering women and I think they check up on the factories they use (although I'm not 100% sure on that, but I know they travel out to countries a lot to provide a helping hand) but ah I never even considered where things were sourced before (call me ignorant!) so don't think I'll be buying any more until I can be sure they've come from a good home. x

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  9. love this post its super important and interesting!! I think clothing is ultimately the way we express ourselves so therefore why not wear a feminist tee?! Like you said, even a little thing like these tees is important if its what you believe in!

    Tasha x
    lovefromtasha.blogspot.co.uk

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