- Pronunciation: /ˈfɛmɪnɪz(ə)m
- NOUN [MASS NOUN]
- The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
- Pronunciation: /ˈfɛmənɪst
- A person who supports feminism.
On this basis, who would not consider himself or herself a feminist? And yet, appallingly, the salary pay gap between men and women is still astronomical, politicians carelessly throw around words such as “legitimate rape,” imply that women should not put themselves in a position to be raped, feel entitled to make decisions on behalf of women about women’s bodies and groups such as Women Against Feminism have found root in our modern society. It seems for every step we take forward, we take another two back. And yet, I have never ever, even for a moment, wanted to be male. I love being a woman. However, I have so often longed for the privileges afforded to men.
How I portray myself to the world outwardly has a huge bearing on how I feel mentally and vice versa. They are irrevocably intertwined. I think my personal style is best defined by my love for minimalism and the playfulness of contrasting femininity and masculinity. Notwithstanding that it was a birthday gift from one of my sisters, I think that that’s why I love this jumpsuit so much. I also love versatility and this particular look translates seamlessly from day to night, work to cocktails. It also has a bit of a YSL or Jean Paul Gaultier feel. I feel empowered when I wear red lipstick especially the one above, Crimson Noir by TOM FORD, but shockingly, it was once suggested that I looked “slutty” by none other than a boyfriend for wearing red lipstick. Oh, the irony. The words “slut,” “slag” and “whore” should have no place in the 21st century. They carry as much of a long violent history as the word “nigger,” “fag” or “queer” and are also used to demean and control a percentage of the population. This implied insult did not stop me wearing red lipstick. In fact, I probably wear it more frequently than I ever did in my late teens and early twenties and that boyfriend and I have broken up since; however, I regret that I didn’t take the time to explain to him the implications and impact of his words.
Similarly, I remember once posting a status about the predictability of catcalling by construction workers. A male friend suggested that I ought to be more worried if they hadn’t but since I have reflected on his comments and found that I disagree, it would not have been worse because a woman’s self-esteem should not tied up in the attentions of men. As women, we have a responsibility to teach children, grandchildren and to educate our peers that while it can be flattering, it can also be damaging. It is damaging because it implies that we are seeking and or needing men’s approval and why should we? So rarely do men act or dress seeking a woman’s approval but unfortunately, this inequality is so ingrained that even for a woman who considers herself inarguably a feminist, my initial reaction was to agree. This is not to say that a woman cannot dress for her man. In a happy, healthy and loving relationship, what woman does not want to dress at least in part for the pleasure of her significant other? However, the difference is that is not born out of obligation or convention but love.
We must also acknowledge the role that the media inevitably plays in the portrayal of women. If my humble blog makes any difference, I want to ensure that I represent women as we are: intelligent, strong and beautiful. Regrettably, I have not yet been able to watch the documentary “Miss Representation” suggested to me by a very dear friend but in the few minutes of watching the trailer, I was literally gobsmacked by the bombardment of flesh and female stereotypes and how much of it we simply ignore because we have grown accustomed to it.
I admire women that behave, dress and speak with purpose but I found it disheartening to see Nicki Minaj in her latest music video “Anaconda" singing about a guy from Detroit buying her Alexander McQueen and keeping her stylish, wearing next to nothing on, dancing provocatively surrounded by more women dancing around provocatively; specifically for the viewing pleasure of men as suggested by her lap dance for Drake. It is possible that I am not explaining myself articulately enough but the difference feels palpable. I do not mean this as a criticism so much as an expression of my disappointment. Men have objectified women for centuries. Why perpetuate it?
I love all the superficialities of being a woman from the autonomy of wearing my hair short or long in different styles, painting my nails, reading VOGUE or gushing over love interests. I also love, in equal measure, women’s ability to mentor, support and nurture the people that surround them. Women have the ability to occupy any position they work for. We are writers, accountants, engineers, designers, filmmakers, chefs, politicians, directors, etc. The fact that we also have the ability to grow and carry children is nothing short of a miracle and the fierceness with which women love, especially mothers, is unrivalled. There is nothing as fearsome as a woman that knows her mind and heart.
In June, Grazia published that the income disparity between men and women in their twenties had doubled in the past three years and that women in the UK are currently earning 80p for every £1 that men earn. The difference is staggering and it is high time we established equality between the sexes. When I recently travelled to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Barbican Centre in London, on the information board in the introduction it read, “Gaultier does not subscribe to the myth of the weaker sex,” neither do I, and neither should you and that is what inspired this look.
Sunglasses: Michael Kors, Earrings: Orelia available at TOPSHOP, Blazer: H&M, Jumpsuit: TOPSHOP, Temporary Tattoo: Orelia available at TOPSHOP, Bracelets: Michael Kors and Brady Melville, Rings: Vintage, Clutch: Villanueva Carey and Shoes: Stella McCartney.
Photography by Christine Cherry, Cherish Hope Photography.