You Can Support Feminism in a Provocative Outfit

In case you haven’t heard (or seen the Snapchat filters) today is National Women’s Day! Woohoo, go women! I love being a woman, I love supporting women, I believe that women are strong, intelligent people. However, I have always struggled with calling myself a “feminist”, mainly because I don’t think I am one.

Now listen, I’ve heard all the speeches before. “Feminism is about gender equality, it’s not about women being superior to men, blah blah blah blah”. And yeah I get it, feminism is a movement, a campaign if you will, and with any good campaign or movement comes the catchy phrases and mission statements, and quite frankly….bullshit.

So that’s my real problem. I find that there are a lot of flaws within feminism, or more specifically  with self proclaimed feminists. I’m not going to go into them all right now (partially because that’s not the point of this post and partially because I’m not trying to piss people off).

I’m going to boil it all down to one thing: I hate “feminists” who believe and promote that women who don’t abide by their image of “progressive” are thereby wrong or promoting the degradation of women.

Let me be more specific. Recently a friend of mine sent me a piece of an article written in support of feminism, essentially listing the ways that all people can be feminist. One of the author’s points was that she strongly disagreed with women “subjecting themselves to degrading costumes”. Essentially, since this person attends my college, I can only assume that she was referring to Greek social themes. She mentions events such as “CEOs and Office Hoes”, “Millionaires and Mistresses”, among others.

So here’s the thing, I am a participant in these events. In fact, I’m the social chair for my sorority, which means that I choose and plan the themes that happen at these events. So yes I am aware that these theme ideas exist and that they do set up women to dress provocatively, but that doesn’t mean they have to.

Now I’m not saying that the person who commented on these “degrading costumes” was saying that women need to wear these things (or that she’s not entitled to her opinion). What I’m trying to imply is that if the theme for an event is “construction worker” and I decide to wear a tight skirt and a tool belt…..that’s my choice and I’m not degrading myself because of it.

I put on that outfit because I felt comfortable in it, because I have confidence in the way I look, because I don’t care what men or other women think about it. Shouldn’t we promote women having and portraying confidence in their own way? Feminists are supposed to support and encourage other women. So why do some feminists think that it’s okay to not support women in these circumstances? If feminists are so #yesallwomen then why aren’t we supporting women who choose to be confident, who choose to not care, who choose to dress whatever way they want to dress?

I don’t need feminists to tell me that I’m wrong or that I’m voluntarily subjecting myself to sexism. I’m no less of a woman or a supporter of women because I choose to wear provocative clothing. I can stand outside in my tiny little construction worker outfit and scream about all the awesome things women can do, I can promote gender equality, I can do whatever the hell I want. Wearing provocative clothing doesn’t mean I am supporting sexism or the degradation of women. A woman in a tight dress, or a sweatsuit, or a damn paper bag can support feminism and it’s not your job to tell them that they can’t.

Making decisions over which behaviors are correct or incorrect in order to support feminism only separates women even further within. Feminists telling me that I’m wrong in my choice of outfit, or that I’m subjecting myself to sexism, doesn’t make me want to support your cause. Because clearly feminism, as it is so often described to me by feminists, is supposed to be promoting all different types of women. We shouldn’t tear down the women who choose to be confident in their bodies or participate in social themes that other women proclaim to be wrong.

So that scratches the surface of my problems with feminism: feminists who tear down women for not being “feminist” enough, or “progressive” enough, or for not fitting their standards.

From me for you,

Julie

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