Am I less than a feminist because I like to dress well?

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I was lucky enough to have been brought to a world where a woman had the right to wear trousers, to access education, to build a career, to have a say through the vote. But when you come to a world where everything seems to be given, we tend to accommodate to ideals and values that are not that right.

When I first learnt what feminism was, I immediately started to advocate that I was a feminist. That was when I realised that gender equality was still too far from being a reality. Every time I am assertive, I am being hysterical. Every time I am hard on myself, focused in my career and my goals, I am a cold hearted woman who definitely misses something in bed. If I am feminine and do like to shop for new clothes and accessories, following fashion news and events, I am shallow, with nothing in my brains besides shoes and bags.

What many may forget is that fashion has been essential in advocating for women’s rights, independence and power. Personalities such as Coco Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent created the pieces that would forever change the way women dressed, that somehow got the power to empower women. The role of Fashion in changing mentalities, imposing new values and ideas in society has been undoubtedly crucial.

Some argue how fashion industry is itself full of discrimination. What matters is your body shape, your beauty, the way you dress. And I agree. Fashion industry is not easy and, as a feminist, I am completely against many practices that happen on a daily basis in this industry. The way we dress shouldn’t define us; what we dress should reflect us instead. I defend all body types, all kinds of beauty. But more than that, that a woman shouldn’t be defined according to how she looks, but mostly according to who she is.

A new wave of feminism has been brought upon us and. While many believe this is a trend, as something again shallow, defending that there are more important issues to be discussed, what I have to say is that I have a feeling of déjà vu from the past. Feminist movements were never considered has priority in the political and societal sphere. And now, we are assisting to same prejudice from the ones that say the problem is solved when clearly is quite far from that. Just because I care about gender equality, just because I say I am a feminist, that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about other issues. Racism, discrimination, war, corruption, even environmental issues. They are all in my head. But this particular one is close to my heart, and that’s why I am choosing to talk about it.

The stereotype that a feminist is a woman that hates men, that is a lesbian, doesn’t care about what she wears, that advocates woman should have more rights than man has to reach an end. Feminist has to be understood has a movement that stands for gender equality, meaning equal rights for both men and women, equal wages, equal treatment. Equal rights to be free of choosing any kind of lifestyle, be interested in any kind of thing. Ending prejudice and stereotype. Most of all it is important to understand that feminism also benefits man. They also should have the right to not be judge as “less of a man” just because they behave differently of how it is supposed to be a man.

As a woman all I want is to be respected and not judged. Also, I want fashion to not be perceived as a shallow subject. I want fashion to be seen as part of feminist, part of any kind of social change. Fashion is art, is a way of expression. It has influenced generations, helped to create and empower ideas. I want to be able to say that I do like clothes and still I actually have brains and I had excellent grades in school and college. I do have my own ideas, I do like to be informed about political and international events, I have opinions about them as well.

I don’t want to be perceived as less intelligent because I am wearing a skirt. Less smart because I don’t dress “man” enough. I want to have the freedom of wearing whatever I want, be interested in any kind of matter, listen to any kind of music without being judged.

Just to say that enjoying fashion is not a synonym of emptiness, and shallowness. That I am not less of a feminist, of an intellectual because I like to dress well.

I am a feminist with a great deal of fashion awareness 🙂

With love,

Nicole

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