Feminism

Several recent incidents or articles have left me mulling over what to write in this post for a few weeks. What actually spurred me to finally post it was this conversation,

“That is SICK but in a good way. That is sooooo sick but in a bad way.” This intellectual exchange was the treat that lay in store for me once my iPod died on the way home from Manchester a few weeks ago (damn you Apple; I LOVE you but hate your limited battery life!) Two twenty-something university students were sitting discussing the specimens on offer in OK Magazine. Their hair was ironed to within an inch of its life. Foundation was caked on in cement style proportions. UGGs were donned, jeggings were worn. I have no issue with these superficial details but I do take umbrage with their conversation, which continued in such a manner for 3 hours. Every aspect of it revolved around the trivialities of what, by some, is perceived to be feminine; fake tan, make-up, waxing, Cheryl’s hair, I could go on and on….but I wish not to relive the torturous banter suffered by my fair ears.

I so happened to be reading an article on Sexism in last month’s Elle at the same time spurring me on to debate, who is today’s feminist? Most teenagers I know idolise Cheryl Cole to an unhealthy extreme. She has finally taken action and left her adulterous husband; could this be seen as a positive step for feminism? None of us actually know the truth of their relationship woes, therefore can we judge anything about the soon to be former Mrs. Cole? If you read the Daily Mail, 90% (their favourite statistic) of teenage girls aspire only to be a WAG. I know many who perceive this a positive element of feminism in the new decade as these women are finally taking control and going after exactly what they want.

Fashion is an industry in which many strong women reign supreme, but would they earn the same level of respect in any other industry? Are they where they are because of their inherent male traits that they overtly demonstrate to emphasise their power?

This issue is HUGE and not one that can be debated in a single post. For me the feminist of the new decade doesn’t burn her bra or demonstrate with placards in the street. They act subtly and with integrity to gain and earn respect in whichever field they work or sphere of society they inhabit. They seek independence and self-improvement, regardless of what others around them achieve. It’s not about competition but a desire to progress for one’s self as opposed to pleasing someone else.

The Terry Richardson saga has recently played out in the press. His methodology in gaining overtly sexualised images has been called into question, as many models come forward with their tales of exploitation in his hands (quite literally at times.) Some of the stories I read left me sick to the pit of my stomach. Were they tales of a step backward on the feminist trail? In my mind yes. I was then forced to ask myself why only a small minority of models have come forward with their accusations? Is it because the others are the new true feminists of our time? Are they harnessing their sexuality to gain exactly what they want? To witness the number of females that offered themselves up for American Apparel’s Best Bottom in the World competition was evidence enough of people taking ownership of their own gender dominance. No-one forced them to offer up pictures of their derriere, no-one offered them obscene amounts of money – the recognition of their rear’s prowess and some A&A goodies were all that was at stake.

I’m really interested to know what your thoughts are on this matter. Who is the feminist of today for you? Are there any females you admire, look up to and would hold in high esteem to anyone that asked? I am left confused and worried and no clearer on who she is.

7 Responses to “Feminism” — Comments (RSS Feed)

  1. MadeleineAyers Says...

    Needless to say I made it past line 45 :D Late night ramblings are the best!

    To avoid the orange ugg boot army, have limitless battery & free wifi I suggest travelling on eastcoast trains..they have plug sockets next to every seat!

    Oh…and to Actually answer your question, I don’t particularly have one female I admire…but the idea. Women who are successful in their own right, powerful women, who still prioritise other peoples well-being (ie. children…not being anti feminist here, I still believe this is an equal job)…I’m thinking of my mum right now. She works a full time job (pharmacist in a hospice), regularly remaining until 7pm, & up until last year spent every free second taxiing ballet sister round the country for ballet lessons (with fatherbear aid of course), & has taken up karate! What more can you admire?! I admire the anti-damsel in distress.

    Madeleine x x

    p.s…Cheryl Cole?…have nothing against her, but did reprimand motherbear when she brought home the Lorèal ‘weak, limp, lifeless hair’ set…apparently it was on offer. If she said it was then that’s good enough for me :D

  2. Isabelle Says...

    YES! Thank you for writing this post, I am now spurred on to pour out the femi-thoughts on my blog.

    I am totally feminist and not afraid to call myself one, I think the feminist of today is someone who is on control of their own life and feels comfortable (enough) in their own skin, whatever that may manifest itself as.

  3. Sasha Says...

    LOve this post and the piccie. Also read the Elle magazine article but felt it a little….weak.

    Women seem more and more judged on how they look – you are what you consume: the hair, make up, clothes, shoes, handbag. Personality, integrity, brains, isn’t so important. I’d much rather read an interview with Kate Winslet or Salma Hayek than Cheryl Cole or Kelly Brook but we don’t seem to value talent as we used to.

    There are certainly pressures that our mothers didnt have – they didnt dye their hair or get their bikini lines waxed. I’m pretty sure they werent all on crazy diets or dreamt of cosmetic surgery.

    Maybe the problem is we have too many options, too many choices, to change the way we look – we can see someone like Jade Goody become an idol and think if we just diet, and cut our hair, and get a spray tan, and get our nails done, we too can be popular and famous and WORTH something.

    Very sad :(

    Sasha @ The Happiness Project London

  4. Fashion Junior at Large Says...

    Great post! I’ve actually been contemplating blogging about feminism myself.

    I consider myself to be a feminist of sorts, and I love that ELLE (and Random Fashion Coolness) have been brave enough to touch on a topic that sometimes provokes unnecessary defensiveness. Inequality is still a huge issue, whether we want to accept it or not. Besides unequal pay etc it also manifests itself via a culture that distracts women by feeding their insecurities surrounding the way they look (thanks for your comment on my post by the way!)

    I think Beyonce is a bit of a feminist icon for me. Strong, very successful, determined, and most importantly she’s a girl who loves other girls. There’s not enough of that these days.

  5. Frivolous Says...

    I love this post. Its really true about females this day and age. As a high schooler in America I get hundreds of those kind of girls running into me all the time!

    I respect Lady Gaga the most out of alot of women today. She has really forced herself to do the most radical and high end thing and I think all women could learn from that

  6. Linds Says...

    I agree the feminist role model seems to have disappeared. Those who have families and careers are seen as heartless and self serving. Those who don’t are seen as weak.

    There are far too many women who believe, you need a face full of make up and a man with money to be something. They are also the women who will put down an a independent woman. (independent does not mean single!)

    We women are our own worst enemies…Our feminist forebears made up believe we can do it all..and many women out there are killing themselves trying. We need to re-define the feminist role. We need to start by stop bitching and back biting. Take the high ground girls. We will get further with the feminist cause in the long run! Anything that challenges stereotypes is all good!

    The women who rock my world are my Nans and Mum. Nan was a working mother from the 1960′s (unheard of!)My other Nan was a single mother in the 1970′s (bloomin rare!) and my mum was 18 when she had me and has worked, completed a degree and raised to children and had a successful career!

  7. Kashmirstorz Says...

    Great Post..In today’s arena there are lot of female icons who have showed the way for others to follow…

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