11 Ways I Use Fashion To Showcase My Feminism — PHOTOS
I've loved fashion from a very young age (my mom even bought me my first Vogue at 14), but as I've grown older, I've noticed that I've started to use fashion to showcase my feminism. Admittedly, I wasn't particularly invested in women's rights when I was in college. At the time, balancing my burrito intake with classes took up most of my brain energy. But the deeper I got into adulthood, the more fired up I became.
These days, I don't think the state has any right to tell me how I can use my body. I think I deserve to make a dollar to a man's dollar. I don't think I deserve to be ogled when I wear something revealing. And I don't believe my gender has anything to do with my abilities or credibility. And while I try to fight the patriarchy by educating myself and getting into conversational debates in the aid of spreading these ideas, I also use the clothes I own to help me do some of the talking.
From slogan T-shirts to suggestive totes — from supporting women-oriented brands and rejecting the male gaze — here are 11 ways I use fashion to showcase my feminism.
1. Wearing Granny Panties
Feminist Underwear, $30, Other Wild
The male gaze is so passé. While I have no issue sliding into something lacy, I'm no longer embarrassed to wiggle out of my jeans and hop into bed with a baggy pair of bloomers. On the contrary, I feel hella hot doing it because there's something very satisfying about putting on panties for you and not a partner.
2. Using Backpack Pins
Bloody Panties Handmade Brook, $4.80, Gentle Walrus/Etsy
I like spreading the news about body positivity and the demand for female respect by flashing a couple of artsy pins on the train. Sure, they're mingled in with my Harry Potter and travel pins, but they still get the message across on a weekday commute.
3. Using Politically Charged Totes
Feminist Tote Bag, $16, Fabulously Feminist/Etsy
This is my favorite way to get the bus thinking about reproductive rights while I'm on my way to my beloved budget grocery store. *Throws up peace sign.*
4. Eschewing Bras
If you like to wear pretty bras or need them to avoid any aches and pains, all the more power to you. I don't think it's anti-feminist to wear bras or to feel sexy in them, but I choose not to wear them for my own personal reasons.
IMO, the more we're exposed to hard nips and freely-sagging boobs in tanks, the less women will be hyper-sexualized. To me, covering them up makes them feel forbidden — like they're something naughty and only meant to turn people on. Seeing them out in the open like it's no big deal takes that allure away.
5. Rocking Revealing Clothes & Using Them To Talk About Slut Shaming
What even is slutty? If a woman likes to dress up her body in low-cut tops and tiny short shorts, why are so many other women and men ready and waiting with rocks on the other side of the street? Why can't we just accept revealing clothes for what they are? You know, a style that's different from the aesthetics of others.
If a gal is proud of her body, comfortable in her sexuality, or just plain refuses to see a flash of thigh as something indecent (because our bodies aren't on display to be sexualized, thankyouverymuch), then we as women need to support her in her choices — not claw her down.
This is a convo I have had many times with girlfriends when we're at bars and I catch someone eyeing a female bartender disapprovingly. The more you chat about it, the more minds you might change.
6. Sporting Baggy Clothes
Baggy mom jeans are my outfit of choice, much to the dismay of literally every single person around me. But I think I feel hotter in those shapeless pants than I ever did in bandage dresses, mainly because I'm owning my body and using it the way I want to. Not in the way others want me to.
It's a very subtle hair flip at the bourgeois ideas of beauty and sexiness — like saying I don't disapprove of being sexy. I just like having the choice to present as such.
7. Wearing Free The Nipple Tees
Censored Tee, $32, Femininitees/Etsy
In an effort to join the "Free The Nipple" campaign, a nipply tee is one of my favorite weekday outfits. Just rock it with a pair of high-waist jeans and you have yourself a chic look to get tacos and beers with pals in after work. But an even better option than this censored tee? An actual boob tee.
8. Sporting To-The-Point Totes
Feminist Tote Bag, $6.80, Etsy
For some, subtlety might go over their heads. Little X's on nipples and ovary backpack pins might not come across as a stand for women and their rights. For days like those, grabbing an in-your-face feminist tote should help spread the message that feminism is back by popular demand.
9. Supporting Underwear Brands That Ditch The Male Gaze
Tired of seeing up-skirt shots and porn-inspired imagery in your lingerie ads? Me too, sister friend. That's why I like supporting underwear brands that make it a point to cast away the male gaze and instead let the model own her own body. We don't wear underwear just to attract attention. We wear it because we like it. A couple of examples are ThirdLove, & Other Stories, and Marie Yat.
10. Buying Some Girl Power Tees
The Future Is Female Tee, $30, Other Wild
Just so my women know I have their backs on a regular day-to-day basis.
11. Throwing Out Lots Of My Makeup
If you love playing with makeup and stepping out in a smoky eye on a Tuesday morning, that doesn't make you any less of a feminist than I am. But I'll admit that I once felt "ugly" every time I went outside without at least eyeliner and lipstick on; and so I ditched my makeup drawer in an effort to reclaim my humanness.
I felt like everything I did (beauty routine-wise) was geared towards getting the approval of others, and I felt super insecure every time I didn't buff and polish myself before heading out. Alicia Keys recently stopped wearing makeup for the same reason, and now the only thing I put on is eyebrow pencil. I did this for me, but I also want to show other women that blemishes and under-eye bags are beautiful, too, because they're all of us.
Some of my feminist fashion stands are obvious, while others are as subtle as refusing to put on tight jeans. Chances are you're already doing something along these lines, too — so let's keep on fighting.
Images: Etsy (4); Other Wild (2); & Other Stories (1); Marlen Komar (4)