Monday, March 22, 2010

Random Thought About Fashion

I don't blog too much about fashion, but I talk about it a lot. I love clothes, particularly how they bring out the best in each of our beautiful bodies. But when the feminists on the mainstream feminist blogs talk about fashion, it's always in a negative light. It's often a deep and academic analysis of why women wear what they wear, and, unsurprisingly, it's often a screed rife with cissexist and heterosexist assumptions. You know how it is, the whole bit about how we're all really femme because we're taught that this is the only way we can be attractive to men. And then there's a lot of self-congratulation when women proudly proclaim that this is all why they only shop in the men's section. Or it's a rant about the failures of the fashion industry, which are well-deserved, but it gets old when it's the only fashion entries on a feminist blog. Yes, models are unhealthily thin. We know. Thanks for sharing that with us for the third time this week.

There's a reason I put a slew of links to sites that sell fair trade and eco-friendly clothing: What we wear makes a statement about ourselves, and there are fashionable clothes that reflect our values. For all the feminist talk about how we should be judged by our brains and not our looks, we often forget that our choice in clothes comes as much from our brains as our poetry or our paintings or our math homework. I recently told my two best buds that I prefer compliments about my clothes and shoes than about my face, because I put a lot of thought into putting together the outfits that I put on my body. I was born with the face.

And for all of the talk about how we should love our bodies and how everyone is beautiful, I think the hostility toward fashion by the feminist community comes from an inaccurate body image. I think a lot of feminists talk about how they used to have a poor body image and now see themselves as beautiful no matter what their body looks like. But they don't say if that body image is accurate. Sure, a cis woman can shop in the men's section and believe that she's making some grand stand against gendered clothing. But I also think this is an outright denial of the shape of their bodies. And because I believe having an accurate body image and knowing the landscape of your body inside and out is imperative to having a positive body image, I'm not sure a lot of women who claim to have a positive body image really do. They may love their bodies, but they don't know them. And they don't know the bodies of other women. They don't see women's bodies, in the way some people don't see race, to protect themselves from feeling like they've objectified someone. But maybe if they'd know the uniqueness of their body and of other women's bodies, they'd see fashion as an individual statement that projects to the world all the things we love about ourselves, inside and out.


Feminist Review said...

We don't always talk about fashion in a negative light. In fact, most of what we write about fashion is positive. :)

FEMily! said...

I am totally going to follow your blog :)