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.