|Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #56, 1980|
Picture the scene: an art gallery in central Germany. A 17 year-old girl in skater gear stands admiring an intricate textile piece. Then she realises it’s an embroidered pornographic image. She blushes. She never forgets it.
Such was my introduction to feminism. Ghada Amer’s controversial pieces made me realise not only that I felt strongly about pornography, but also that I too wanted to reclaim traditionally ‘female’ pursuits and use them to dramatic effect. I got the message about the ‘male gaze’ right there, and realised I wasn’t happy about it. By the time I’d turned 18, I’d covered myself in paint and made imprints of my body on perspex. I wanted to be an active participant – not a passive role-player.
Ghada Amer – don’t look too closely… [source]
Fast forward a decade: I’m writing a fashion blog, and am also an active member of a local feminist group. I start to feel…well, a bit weird that I’m writing posts about ‘the 12 best winter hats’ in the same week as a letter to my MP about lapdancing clubs. I figure: there must be some way that these two parts of myself can co-exist, online and everything? And what do you know? I was right.
With the Feminist Fashion Bloggers, we set out to write a batch of posts on fashion and feminism for Women’s History Month, and I don’t think anyone was prepared for what surfaced. Between us we covered everything from modelling to Marxism, body-image to beauty icons, stereotyping to slave Leia costumes to soldering in heels. As individuals writing about the fashion/feminism crossover, we contributed to the wild array of topics and opinions, made an impact in the blogging world, gained new readers and discovered new blogs. But for me, when 40 bloggers participated in March 16th group event, our thoughts became an inspiring collective voice. I ain’t gonna lie to you, folks – I felt so excited that day.
So what has this project taught me? I’ve learnt that whether you want your fashion/feminism funny or gritty, subtle or meaty…you’ve got it. I’ve learnt that there are tons of fashion bloggers who aren’t afraid to align themselves with another ‘f word’…and some who ferociously and unashamedly wear it on their sleeves. I’ve learnt that however different our views may be, there are at least 70 women who want feminism and fashion on the agenda, who want to discuss feminism in line with their other passions and are fired up enough to keep the conversation going. We’re not done yet.
Back in January, the fabulous Citizen Rosebud asked: “where are the feminist fashion bloggers?” Two months on, I think we can all join together in saying, “Here we are.”
Have you been reading Feminist Fashion Bloggers posts?
How do you feel about the recent fashion-feminism mash-up?!
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