• Charlotte

Are you even a feminist if you don't own the t-shirt?

This isn't a new debate, and there are plenty of other examples of statement tees that seem to profess the political standing of the wearer. I'm just not sure how I feel about Feminism as a Fashion Statement.

I understand that the tees can be considered a sign of the times - a resistance against the anti-woman sentiments of the recent US election, as well as the rise of 'girl power' within the media.

Don't get me wrong - this is not a slur against clothing. I'm not impervious to fashion (though I'm sure friends would say otherwise), I'm not sure, as a feminist myself, if slogan tees really align with feminist beliefs (I guess this in itself is a topic for another time).

Does a t-shirt exclaiming 'feminist' do enough for the cause? Will it now mean that those purchasing will stand up against important issues such as institutional racism and call out casual sexism? Does 'girl power' really mean standing together, taking part in marches for reproductive rights and equal pay?

Does wearing the t-shirt even need to mean anything?

Earlier this year, fashion designers showing at New York Fashion Week made news with the strong political messages strewn across their clothing (read more here), which boldly produced the idea that 'fashion is activism'. Though the messages messages might suggest of a something revolutionary time, at the end of the day, these messages are still being emblazoned on luxury products for women to buy - they represent status symbols, functioning to say something about the body it's on.

Being a feminist is not something you have to buy to prove, there is no certificate or artefact that will show you to be a feminist - you do so through your actions. I really do like the idea that our current political climate seems to have drawn more people into the fore, about people are aware of what's going on around them, and how they can affect change.

But - do I really want 'feminist" literally written across my body?

I didn't intend to write this post as having a definitive conclusion (I'm not sure there is one), but I am genuinely intrigued to know what others think about the movement - is it a genuine form of resistance against patriarchy and oppressive structures, or is it a passing trend, contextually located within the political undertones of the time?

Read more about the debate here.

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