Feminism is a big part of who I am. And, as a born and bred feminist, I have often been asked by people who know that I love fashion to explain how I can be so interested in clothing and makeup and still call myself a feminist. Also, if I dress a li’l sexy, show some leg or some classy cleavage, I’m asked why and how I can do that while being a feminist. Why? BECAUSE I CAN! A woman can show some skin and express herself through clothing and makeup in any way she wants and still be totally deserving of the same respect given to a man. Many people believe that feminism is a radical idea. They view feminists as women who hate men or women who believe that they are better than men. These people think that if you are a true feminist you should only dress modestly and not in ways that typically appeal to men. To me, that couldn’t be more wrong! Ladies, I will shout it till the day I die, DRESS HOWEVER YOU WANT! Show some skin, cover up, wear high heels, wear sneakers, wear a full face of makeup, or rock that natural look! You are beautiful and as long as you’re comfortable in your skin, that’s all that matters. Don’t dress for anyone but yourself. Learning about feminism and female empowerment is actually what helped me become comfortable and love the skin that I am in. How is that possible?
For me, feminism and fashion actually go hand-in-hand. Feminism motivates me to BE my best self every day and fashion helps me FEEL like my best self every day. When I put the two together, I become the powerhouse girl that will slay the day. One of my favorite celebrities, activists and models Emily Ratajkowski, has spoken on this issue many times. She has long identified as a feminist, yet faces criticism from those who feel that her decision to be photographed naked and showcasing her body is incompatible with feminism (check out Noĕl Duan’s January 10, 2018 article “Hey Emily Ratajkowski, not everything you do has to be ‘feminist’—and that’s OK” on http://www.qz.com). THEY ARE WRONG! Emily said, “I think that the whole idea that because the body I was given might play into some patriarchal idea, I should be ashamed of it or be covering it up is ridiculous. I find empowerment in celebrating and sharing my sexuality. I think my body is beautiful and a lot of different bodies are beautiful.” I agree with Emily.
Of course, I also understand that feminism is not just about empowerment. It’s not just about making each woman feel good doing whatever she wants to do. Feminism is much bigger than that. Its about women standing up for each other and refusing to conform to traditional patriarchal standards in every aspect of life. It’s about chasing equality for everyone. And I’m on board with all of that. Fashion is simply one way to chase that dream and it’s a way that speaks to me. So, whether I’m “boss nell” (wearing a sparkly blazer, pants, pumps or Doc Martens) or “glam nell” (in a jewel-toned dress), or “concert Nell” (in a crop top and patterned shorts) or “bohemian goddess Nell” (in a flowy Garbo jumpsuit and giant hoop earrings) I’ll be fighting for my place and your place at the table!
Stay tuned for more posts about fashion and feminism, my two loves!
Thanks for reading!