Monday, January 24, 2011

No Man's Land

"I was a woman in a man's world"
                                    - Jeanne Kirkpatrick
My neighbor, good friend, and fellow blogger, Ari is a Woman's Studies major and an avid feminist. We've been chatting a lot over coffee, and she's got me thinking: where are the feminist fashion bloggers? A quick Google search shows up a plethora of articles and blogs that date from 2008, 2009, but there isn't anything recent of interest, save the sharply witty Man Repeller, if you consider her content feminist fashion. Do you know any style bloggers covering fashion through a feminist lens?

Here's some interesting Fem-Fash reads:
Why We Need Feminist Fashion Blogs? - a l'allure gaconniere
The F Word - Feminist Fashionista
What is a Man-Repeller? - The Man Repeller

I'm looking forward to Ari's new focus on contemporary culture, and I hope she includes fashion.
Feministified: Contemporary Culture from a Feminist Perspective


Anonymous said...

Great scarf:)

Lee Oliveira said...

I like those blogs you have mentioned.. but to be honest with you bella.. I prefer yours..
Your style is unique and you are not afraid and don't care about what's trend! its about feeling and looking confident. AND YOU DO THAT for my point of view.

Others just like to copy magazines. that isn't fashion. that's cheating
Ops..... said to much
Lee x

the Citizen Rosebud said...

Lee, coming from you, your words are a great compliment. I really value your opinion. Thank you.
Pauline: thank you, sweetie. I like your scarves too.

Leia said...

Hmm, what exactly MAKES a feminist fashion blogger? I consider myself a feminist, and a fashion blogger. I dress to please myself and only myself. My boyfriend sometimes laughs at/dislikes my outfits, but that doesn't make me change. I think you can easily be feminine and feminist... I believe myself to be both!

I love the way that you are fearless about your fashion choices. It's clear that you wear things that make you feel confident and happy, and that's the way it should be! Some men would prefer women to be covered from head to toe... and others would prefer women to be blonde and have cleavages so ample that they spill out of their little mini-dresses. To each her own... but neither of us are going to dress that way just to please a man!


Unknown said...

Great look, Bella!!! I love the way you pair things together. You always look so funky, fun and fabulous!


This is interesting. I'm one of those women who does not consider herself a feminist because when I hear the word, it has negative connotations for me. But in reality, I AM a feminist. So I wonder, as Leia did, what exactly MAKES a feminist fashion blogger? And really, how can we undo the negative and outdated connotations that come with the label?

Great topic for conversation!


Unknown said...

Thank you for bringing up this important topic. I think any women who is not a feminist has to be going around with blinders on. Must be kind of blissful actually. You know what they say about ignorance...
I like to think my blog has a feminist slant. You be the judge.

Anonymous said...

First of all let me say that I love your pin stripe blazer and the little brooch. Looks like a cameo but at the same time very different.

Secondly Thank you for introducing me to the Man Repeller. I must have been living under a rock to not to have known about her. :)

P.S: Your kind words made me blush profusely for about half hour. =D


Tashrin - A Toronto based personal style blog

Anika said...

This is so interesting, I agree with Vahni and the others that this really is an important and timely topic. I do consider my self a feminist, in an inclusive sort of way, if that makes any sense, unlike my mum who doesn`t have a relationship with that concept at all. Her response when we talk about it, (I am always asking to learn more about her as a woman) is that she is quite happy with her doing the housework and her hub fixing the car, because that is how they like it.Which is fine, but speaks to a very limited understanding in my view. My dad on the other hand is a definite feminist, very eager to make sure that I know my worth and never compromise it for any man. I love that. My parents are divorced btw lol. I want more on this topic! hugs, Anika

Anonymous said...

Mm, I'm curious to what counts as a feminist fashion blog, too. There was a post at Fashion For Writers here that asked

Are fashion bloggers contributing and encouraging the normalization of heteronormative, pre-second wave feminism, socially conservative relationships between men and women? I think EVERY single successful personal style blog has 1) a two-person team consisting of a female personal style blogger and her steady, long-term boyfriend or husband, who was already a photographer or willingly became one over the course of time

Which I thought was interesting. Fashion blogs, unless they're essay-inclined, are hard to politicise unless the photographic subject/blogger is visibly apart from the norm. It's hard to show non-radical feminism in a photograph, but presenting yourself as a gorgeous sylph who wears things, bakes, and has a boyfriend without making a point of saying [proactive feminist stuff] doesn't do much to sway the status quo. I'd guess that it's not that there aren't many fashion blogs run by personal feminists, it's that it's easier to be an oft-linked personal & private feminist than it is to be a loud, public feminist and have a mainstream-successful fashion blog.

Anonymous said...

Darn it, here, even!

Sarah said...

I guess it depends on where one draws the boundaries of modern feminism.

I think a lot of style blogs could be considered feminist if the women are dressing to feel good and look good -- for themselves, most importantly, but also for others who matter to them, whether it's a potential date, a great aunt, or a boardroom.

The same goes for whatever hobbies they reveal in their style blogs -- whether it's baking, petit pointing, salmon fishing, or snowboarding. Does it make them feel glowingly good? If they give themselves time to pursue it amid the practical pressures of the world, that's feminist to me.

I quest for shapes, textures, and hues to flatter my coloring and my shape. It's because I want to savor clothes that seem made for me, to enjoy the body I've been given, and to play with the power of appearances more. Not so I can win a successful may-uhn, but so I can work better with this ungainly mortal vessel through which I experience the world. Believe me, even meetings with my three year old's teachers go more smoothly and confidently when we're both tidy and groomed!

One blogger who popped right into mind as not obviously feminist but certainly feminist-friendly is The Vintage Vixen. I mean, she's lean, longhaired, sexy, dresses daringly, sensuously, and to flatter her form, but it's always been to please herself. She cooks and shops -- to please herself, and her partner cooks and shops too, to please himself.

Unknown said...

I've never really thought about that before but its so true there are very few feminist blogs. what an insightful post :)

Heather Fonseca said...

Love your look Bella! I've never really been comfortable wearing men's clothing, even cute and mixed with sexy shorts and high stockings the way you have it. It's certainly a look I've always really appreciated.

I don't know who's blogging about fashion from a feminist's perspective, but I hope, really, that just by being our female selves, writing about fashion from our own perspective, that we are taking the feminist legacy from the 1960's and 70's and turning it into something new and modern. I don't know if that makes any sense!


the Citizen Rosebud said...

I'd really like to start up some thoughtful conversation about this. Because I was VERY surprise to not find a one blog that focuses on fashion with a feminist slant. Because like Leia, and V, among others, many member of MY blogger community are strong, very strong women, and could/would qualify as feminists, or holding to feminist ideals: equal rights, women's empowerment, etc.

But where are the bloggers that center around this theme? Is there a 4th wave (of feminism) on its way? And what does she have to say about fashion?

the Citizen Rosebud said...

It makes sense to me, Heather, but I wonder: are we taking the strides made in the first, second and third wave for granted?

My Heart Blogged said...

I would like to see more feminist fashion bloggers. I really liked the man repeller site. I don't really label myself, I am very strong woman. I work a job men normally do, my boyfriend does all the cooking, I "bring home the bacon", and I generally don't care about gender roles. The funny thing is I was brought up in a very traditional catholic family, my grandfather is a deacon.
My Heart Blogged

Rosalind said...

I'll take a look at some of those blogs. And I love how the quote at the top references your outfit - you have such a unique take on things. My favourite detail is the cameo brooch.
I was just re-reading your comment on my books debate. I can't imagine owning as much music as your friend! I only have about 1.7 days worth of music on my ipod. I find the digital vs. record debate a little tricky when it relates to music - as I love the experience of listening to records, but then sometimes I am tempted to buy the same albums in digital form so I can listen to them in the car and other places where it's pretty impossible to have a record player!

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

I can't say that I know of any feminism focused fashion bloggers myself. Something to ponder...LOVE the stripes!

feministified said...

Bella, first and foremost, thank you for not only introducing me to your readers but for allowing my feminist rhetoric to infiltrate your blog!

It's such a great conversation, I can't believe we hadn't approached it before. After reading through the links you provided and the insightful comments, I feel like I have more questions than I do answers.

Which means you're on to something. Which means I will probably be blogging about it. ;)

the Citizen Rosebud said...

Ha ha, Ari, you are a good influence on me! You know a collab between us and our blogs is something that I've had in mind. Looking forward to some interesting new conversations.

Anonymous said...

First, I love your hat. I have added feministified to my blog to read.

I come across elements of feminism in many blogs that I read. I wonder if somehow it doesn't give out as a topic too quickly. In fact, I can only think of a handful of blogs I read (I'm older) that cater at all to 'how something looks to a guy'.

Good Eye said...

The feminists led me astray! I grew up with the "power woman" stuff & they neglected to tell me one very important thing about being a woman- that some day I'd be a mom & it would be the most important job I would ever be called to do. There are some important points to the feminist movement, but they missed a major point for me. Major. I was blindsided when suddenly the career they all told me was so critical was actually the least important thing to me. And where are they in the workplace, standing up for us moms? Pfft! Take it from me, it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Good Eye said...

Sorry, got so carried away with the rant that I forgot to mention that I love the hat & stockings! :)

Vanessa said...

Not directly on point, but hitting in the same zone is this review of a new book about politics and fashion.
Review at the New York Times T Magazine:

Fashion is deemed frivolous by many, yet the same people knowingly craft an image using, what? Clothing, fashion. Can you be frivolous and serious? Well-dressed and well-regarded? I, of course, argue yes. But, then there's all those dowdy First Lady hair-dos and gowns to argue the opposite side.

the Citizen Rosebud said...

There is so much here to talk about!
@Nickie: you heard of the different waves of feminism? Well, it's up to us, to add to the dialogue of the secondwavers, the career and wear the pants generation. We need to add mom to the list and we should! Ultimate in women empowerment is being a kickass mother!

@Vanessa: oh now we're talking. Or about to. As soon as I read the article. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm good food for thought Bella. It's funny because I think I've been a feminist from a young age. As I grew into my adolescence perhaps the way I dressed and acted didn't reflect those views because I was scared to carry around that label, but now I'm so over that. Like Leia and Vahni, I often wonder how you define a feminist in this day and age. I just think it's important that we make our own decisions, do what makes us happy and never set or accept limits. It's about being confident, being fearless and being ourselves no matter what!

You look great Bella! xx

Anonymous said...

I love this! I have a lot of feminist tendencies. I loath and despise the idea of women being placed in the background. I adore our intuition and good taste. And our ability to be master multi-taskers? Well, that's just one of many things.

I am a fan of all the blogs you mentioned! And you look great in that blazer and pinstripes!


feministified said...

WOW. So much food for thought! I'm definitely on my way to check out the NY Times piece, but I wanted to respond very quickly, and hopefully, briefly:

@CitizenRoseBud- Can't wait!

@Terri- Good to hear! Hope to see you on feministifed soon :)

@Nickie Frye - I feel bad that you have such a negative outlook towards feminism. Bluntly speaking, none of the feminists I know personally, and I know a lot, would ever deny you the power or importance of motherhood.

I also think that any advancements that have been made for women in the workplace are because of the power of feminism. Granted, women still average about 67/68? cents to the man's dollar - but any strides that have been made for maternity/paternity leave, sexual harassment, etc. are because of the strong voices of women who spoke out.

Where is feminism in reference to helping/standing up for mother's in the workplace? I would argue that feminism is in fact there, but that the patriarchal agenda running our society/the workplace by default, is simply more powerful. The patriarchal spin on feminism is "Look, they told you you could do it all, so do it" letting women shoulder all the responsibility, 'the second shift' so to speak.....which makes women resentful towards feminism - think about how different things would be if the reaction to mothers in the workplace would have been to balance out the workload at home between partners. All that happened was that women got more to do, right? Patriarchy WANTS you to blame it on feminism, instead of taking responsibility. (I realize there are many households that don't follow the stereotypical gender roles, but I am making a case for our society as a whole.)

I hope this does not put you off of feminism even more, but that we can hopefully engage in more conversation. I would love to acknowledge any other issues you have with feminism. Maybe I'll see you around feministified sometime?

the Citizen Rosebud said...

Thank you Erika, on all counts.
And Femme, aka Ari: thanks for getting the pot started!

Unknown said...

lovely style <33


Reddest Roar said...

It's a very important question, as others have said, and one that I have been pondering for a while. As someone who wholeheartedly and actively identifies as a feminist, I nevertheless find it difficult to introduce it into my blog without tipping its balance in some way. I also think there is more to being a 'feminist fashion blogger' than dressing for yourself; it'd be fantastic to find a forum to discuss this large topic further. Thanks for stirring this up!!

The Suburb Experiment said...

What an interesting question!! I consider myself a feminist and I've never directly addressed that on my blog but I suppose it can't help but come through because of how strongly I feel about equality and women's rights.

Also, my outfits are not presented to my readers through the lens of a man. I dress for myself and take my own photos. Like I said, I'm not really tackling heavy topics on my fashion blog but feel empowered to present fashion on my own terms on my own (post-natal, breastfeeding) body.

I like that fashion blogs allow us to see other women's takes on style on bodies long ignored by the media. I think it's a step in the right direction!

Heather Fonseca said...

Hey Bella, I don't really think we're taking feminism for granted, but it's changed our world and now we live in that changed world for better or for worse.

KT said...

Seriously LOVE this topic. Do you mind if I piggy-back on it and do one of my own sometime this weekend? great food for thought. - Katy

Fish Monkey said...

I blog about fashion through the feminist lens, although it's not the only thing I blog about. Here's a post you might like:

ReluctantFemme said...

I realise I'm a million years late to the party, but I've just started a blog about fashion, with the intention of discussing how femme intersects with feminism in between reviews.