Feminism and Fashion: Unlikely Allies

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Bry gazes from within springtime brambles. 

“Fashion and clothing and beauty are dumb and capitalistic and exclusionary, but dressing in a way that makes me feel cool and forces other people to take notice is good, and I enjoy it,” said Emma Rosen, posing in front of a tree covered in fragrant white flowers. Emma and Bry Moore and are two of my best friends and are, to me, feminist theory queens. I always seek their advice when I have a question or something I need to work out in my mind. And they are also fashion icons; every outfit they wear inspires me, and they have such creative eyes when it comes to choosing what to wear and how to wear it. They also don’t shy away from color, evident by their multicolored hair and coordinating outfits.

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Emma puts on a bright red lipstick to create a totally monochromatic look.

So I got to thinking, a la Carrie Bradshaw; is intersectional and knowledgeable feminism a contradiction to supporting a historically exploitative and misogynistic industry? (I’m kidding, Carrie would never say something like that). On one hand, fast fashion gives people the affordable opportunity to express themselves in a way they might not otherwise be able to. On the other hand, these cheap clothes are destroying the environment and come at a huge cost for the people producing them. This industry thrives on making people, especially women, feel bad about themselves so they’ll spend money. It’s also exclusionary. “When you don’t look a certain way, not a lot is open to you,” Bry said, straightening out the flower I put behind her ear. “I have to be more creative sometimes.”

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Bry looking like a pastel floral sprite as she stands within lavender flowers. 

That creativity is immediately evident on Bry and Emma due to their vivid hair colors, but manifests itself through their clothing and overall presentation as well. This could serve as an act of rebellion against traditional expectations for what girls and women should look like. It’s easy to fall prey to the idea that buying a certain product or wearing some piece of clothing will make you happier. It won’t. But it’s also fun, and empowering, I think, to prance around a flower garden and get your picture taken while wearing a monochromatic red outfit with Ariel-esque hair (Emma hates the Little Mermaid comparisons, she’s much cooler and wouldn’t trade being a mermaid with aquatic friends and gills for some dude named Eric, but the hair shade is similar–and so cool) or a blue button-up shirt crop top with beautiful fairy-colored hair. Because sometimes you just need to feel good about yourself. And I think that’s totally fine–and fundamentally feminist.

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Emma gets ready to flip her bright red hair, surrounded by a sea of contrasting flowers.

Words and Photos by Taylor Griggs, @griggstaylor3

 

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