What Fashion Has Taught Me About Feminism | Women's Day 2020

Friday, March 6, 2020

"There are no rules, no regulations, no frontiers that a woman cannot reach or surmount." -Oscar De La Renta 

It's hard to believe that this is my sixth year of celebrating International Women's Day on this blog. In a way, the first year I wrote about it was also the first year I really considered myself a feminist. Sure, I'd always believed in equal rights, but I shied away from the feminist label. (even though that's literally the definition of feminism) 

Then, somewhere along the way, my feelings changed. I've worn the feminist label proudly since, and looking back I realize that fashion has had an impact on that. 

My journey with fashion dates back to my elementary days, but it wasn’t until those early high school years that I started wanting to develop a personal style. Was it a bad one?


But it was my own, and that’s what mattered for me.

See, the clothes we wear aren't just about the clothes we wear. There is a sense of power in the way we choose to present ourselves to the world, the ultimate piece of femininity. For decades women's fashion has pushed the boundaries of our role in society, dating as far back as the 1920s with the emergence of the flapper and continuing into today.

The moments that mark turning points in fashion (remember the first time Mary Tyler Moore *gasp* wore PANTS onscreen?) seem to coincide with how we are viewed as women.

It's not always a positive view, of course, and we have to constantly fight to stay afloat. Sometimes fashion is all we have in a world that tells us we can be anything we want, except not like that. We cling to what we know, and sometimes that means clinging to an everyday outfit or a favorite dress or a fashion icon. (for me it's dresses)

It's not really fashion itself that lends a hand in feminism, it's what we do with it. The way we dress ourselves teaches us that we have a say in who we are, even in countries and religions that other people may find restricting and unfeminist. I've read many accounts of women who say their "restrictive" dress is empowering for them, and that goes to show that we get to choose what exactly empowers us, and how.

It’s up to us, and that’s my favorite part about the link between fashion and feminism.

So here’s to us this Women’s Day. Things have seemed so.... grim lately in the state of the world, but I know one thing to be true. We will always have each other.


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