Post Feminist Fashion Guilt


It’s one of the biggest clichés of modern times. To be a woman is to have a passion for fashion. Or at least a passing interest.

To some this is completely normal and only what is to be expected from the girlies. However in a post-feminist era, some sectors of the female population (namely me) have been feeling guilty for embracing such obvious feminine qualities.

 To be interested in fashion acknowledges the fact that appearance matters. We are constantly sold the contradiction that it’s what’s deep down that matters, while at the same time making sure we are a slave to the fashion industry.

 How is anyone supposed to make sense of such double standards? Not only is the acknowledgement that appearance matters present, but there’s also the startling fact that an interest in fashion suggests that it is important. Aren’t we supposed to be more involved in weightier matters such as politics, economics and whatever passes for real news today?

 And hence, we have the guilt. We shouldn’t be interested in fashion, because it’s shallow, because it’s cliché, and at the end of the day it’s a triviality that doesn’t matter. Then again, maybe it does. Maybe it’s a welcome distraction from all the rest of the nonsense that goes on. It’s nice to look at pretty pictures of pretty clothes. Nice patterns. Nice colours. Nice nice nice.

 To delve into more seriousness and still keep up the clothes quota, think about the history of the fashion. The rise and fall of hemlines to reflect economic prosperity (or lack of). The corset, the (entirely fabricated) bra-burning incident. The freedom of the flapper girls. And so on ad infinitum. I could probably add more to this, but I’ll admit I often get distracted by the pretty pictures and so don’t read up too much on the details, but you can. If you like.

 So in the post-feminist world, don’t worry if you like fashion. If you also demonstrate your intelligence through other arenas, I think you can just about get away with it. That’s what feminism should be about anyway – the freedom to be how you want to be and not be judged for it.

So I say, like fashion, or, don’t like fashion. Your choice, my choice, everyone’s choice.

The funny thing is, I don’t even like shopping.

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