Feminism Meets Fashion

[Image Above: http://tavi-thenewgirlintown.blogspot.com]

We’ve been talking about feminism a lot lately. Many people don’t learn much about feminism or the women’s movement until college – however, one of today’s youngest and most prominent fashion bloggers has decided to dip her toe into the feminist pool!

After the jump, find out what style blogger Tavi has to say about feminism…

Most of you already know Tavi and her blog Style Rookie. She’s not only a style prodigy and icon in her own right  – and it’s not often that someone comes along who manages to be both at once – but, she’s also an articulate, intelligent, funny gal.

Aside from her fashion endeavors (check her out in our Weardrobe dress!), Tavi recently took up a new subject – feminism. In her post, she very briefly recaps Marisa Meltzer’s Girl Power, choosing instead to focus on the profound impact that reading about what she calls the “(r)evolution” has had on her. Quite frankly, these few lines brought a tear to my eye:

“Never before had I felt that feminism was something I could be so much a part of … The history of it, and the fact that it even existed, makes me very excited, and proud, to be a girl, and to be who I am … I really do think it’s something everyone – whether or not you identify yourself as a feminist, whether you’re a boy or girl – should read. It’s something I’ll remember maybe the way Marisa remembers her first issue of Sassy. The day after I finished, I proposed the idea of a feminists’ club to our grade principal, and after writing up a formal proposal I hope it gets going.”

After reading Tavi’s post, my heart was bursting with pride. The feeling of unity that comes from not just sharing a gender, but also appreciating the struggles women have faced and the progress that’s been made, while acknowledging that there’s more to conquer is incomparable. Seeing a new generation not only embracing, but also being inspired by that is thrilling.

The face of feminism is ever-changing and always evolving. When did you first learn about it? What do you think it means to be a feminist today?


About Natalie

As the owner of three small, fluffy dogs, Natalie has accepted the fact that dog hair being everywhere and on everything is just part of her lifestyle now. She cannot stop decorating (and redecorating) her home, and lives by Robert Venturi's words, "Less is a bore." Fresh flowers, floral print dresses, and a good gin and tonic are just a few of her favorite things.

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  1. Avatar
    Jennifer (ModCloth) 02/04/2010 at 3:03 pm #

    Young women like Tavi make me so happy and excited about the future of feminism in fashion! Contrary to so many stereotypes, feminism and fashion are by no means mutually exclusive. I love that an intelligent and stylish lady like Tavi is pioneering this frontier!

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    Jayme 02/04/2010 at 3:04 pm #

    I read the book Kiss My Tiara in junior high, and loved it – there were chapters about the beauty ideal, double standards about men and women and sex, sexual pleasure and empowerment, reproductive rights, and gay marriage, among many other issues. I found myself either nodding enthusiastically and feeling like I could have written certain chapters or going “Oh my gosh how could I NOT have realized that?”

    That was my very first introduction to feminism, and I immediately embraced it and happily called myself a feminist. My perspectives on feminism and what it means to be feminist have obviously evolved a great deal since then – I’m getting my MA in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, and a good amount of credit for the path that I’m taking is due to the writers of some of those books that began fostering my feminist consciousness. Others include Manifesta, and (though it’s received tons of criticism, a lot of it rightfully so) The Feminine Mystique.

    At its heart, feminism is about recognizing that oppression on the basis of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, age, and ability exist, connect and profoundly affect people’s lives; it’s about wanting to end that oppression and work towards equality for everyone.

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    Hanna 02/04/2010 at 3:05 pm #

    I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate to say that people don’t learn about feminism until college – most people don’t learn about feminist theory until college. I think feminism however, is learned about through personal experience before that though. There are a lot of teenage feminists who just don’t have a super popular blog to earn them recognition for their views. I learned about feminism through my mother at a young age. I still have the National Organization of Women shirt she bought me when I was 7 years old. My mother and sister both influenced my interest in feminism as well as the blog Feministing throughout my adolescence (I’ll be turning 20 in April). I think today being a feminist means that you believe in equality among genders, sexualities, races and other things that divide us. It means supporting the rights of all people to make their own choice and live their lives without discrimination.

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    Kim 02/04/2010 at 3:37 pm #

    Feminism is a tricky subject. I think anyone can be a feminist that is for equal rights and opportunities for all, really. I mean I don’t really “call” myself a feminist in my everyday life or anything, but I like to think I practice it in what I think and do and say. I really think it can be as simple as that, you don’t have to be a member of an extreme group or anything – in fact I think those extreme groups give feminism a bad name and make people as a whole take the subject less seriously. I’m very proud to be a woman, especially in this day and age, but I do still feel we have a long way to go in terms of equality. I don’t think we have come as far as we think we have, unfortunately. Well, individuals have, but some aspects of society still needs to catch up.

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    mar 02/04/2010 at 3:56 pm #

    kim, i don’t agree, i think some of those “extreme groups” you mention are the ones keeping feminism alive by not allowing it to be captured and domesticated by market forces (like, for example, “punk” is now something you buy at hot topic and not the defiant, violent attitude it originally was in the 70s). but, i do see your point 🙂

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    Elizabeth 02/04/2010 at 4:18 pm #

    When I was studying, I found it frustrating that some of the girls in the class were anti-feminism; these girls perceived feminisms, as feminism (singular) – that feminism being radical feminism. I think this stereotyping of what “feminism” represents, especially in the media, holds back the cause. Unfortunately, extreme views are more likely to hog the limelight and stick in people’s minds than the more even and measured discourses.

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    Mimi 02/04/2010 at 4:29 pm #

    I’m so glad to see that ModCloth is talking about fashion and feminism! (I teach and write about both –at Threadbared, plug plug– so it’s nice to find others who can hold the two together.)

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    Jennifer (ModCloth) 02/04/2010 at 4:46 pm #

    Hi Kim, I just wanted to say that your comment really tugged on my heart strings. Why? Because I was like you for a long time. Even though I believed in the social, political, and economic equality of women, I was unwilling and afraid to identify myself as a feminist. Feminism (the other “f” word) is so devalued, stereotyped, and stigmatized by our society that it is no wonder so many women and men are apprehensive about identifying themselves as feminists. I’ve come to realize, however, that this word is crucial. Until we embrace this word, until we use this word not with fear but with pride, feminism and the equality it so tenaciously strives to uphold will continue to be devalued and denied. That is why today, I am proud to call myself a feminist!

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    Natalie 02/04/2010 at 5:38 pm #


    I am with the other commenters – I hate how we shun the word feminism…. it is in all honestly simply the believe in equality of the sexes. It doesn’t mean that you have to be democrat or republican or liberal or conservative. Or a fashion granola. We can certainly dislplay feminsit attitude with syle

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    Katie 02/05/2010 at 7:08 am #

    Feminism is not something to hide, nor is it something that should be considered “radical”… and if you practice the principles of it and really believe in it, you should be proud to call yourself a feminist! The bad rap it’s gotten falls not only on the “radicals” that have gotten a lot of media attention, but I think it’s also partially because that’s what our patriarchal society would want, and thus disseminate.

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    Animator Girl 02/05/2010 at 6:07 pm #

    Depends. Do you mean small-f feminism like believing women should be free to make their own choices, be that choice traditional or nontraditional, or do you refer to big-F Feminism that states that the only accepted definition of freedom is sexual liberation and related practices?

    I’m proud to be a woman who makes her own choices and takes responsibility for them, but I would never call myself a Feminist. And men are great, too: I love men!

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    eM. 02/06/2010 at 11:54 am #

    sorry to break it to you animator girl, but you ARE a feminist, even if you don’t call yourself one.

    i don’t know where you got that distinction of big f and small f feminism. the only thing there is is history and the changes it brought to feminism in its many incarnations.

    p.s. being a feminist doesn’t mean you hate or blame men, just that you are against a patriarchal structure that assumes that the masculine is the universal while the feminine is the other.

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    Andi 02/06/2010 at 5:27 pm #

    @Animator –

    As you put it, big-F Feminism isn’t about trashing men, or placing women on a pedestal. It’s about equality all around, for every gender, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic level, etc. It is not about placing blame…it’s about learning our history and taking pride in how far WE (men, women, young, old) have come to creating a world that is accepting of all of us, without regards to differences.
    And what’s wrong with a little sexual liberation? 😉
    All joking aside, only a small part is devoted to casting off any gendered “double standard” in sexual practices. Feminism is so much bigger. Unfortunately, that’s usually the only part the media presents or that people take notice of.

  14. Avatar
    Kat 02/07/2010 at 11:02 pm #

    Amazing post! I’m a Political Science/Women’s studies major, and it’s exciting to see such a young lady talking about feminism with such optimism and pride. Thank you for posting this and bringing this young woman to my attention! I will be showing her blog to my Women’s Studies class this week.

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    Jill 02/08/2010 at 9:26 pm #

    For anyone not willing to call themselves a feminist, he/she should read Jessica Valenti’s “He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut….,” and if you identify with at least one chapter, then you’re a feminist! Also, http://femininsting.com, is great for daily dose of feminism.

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    EllieMae 11/21/2010 at 11:10 am #

    Feminism is at fault for most of the downfall and destruction of the American culture over the past 50+ years. It is feminism that has contributed to the skyrocketing divorce rates and out-of-wedlock birth rates. Abortion, the murdering of innocent lives, became legal and acceptable under the banner of feminism. Little girls have been reprobated for dreaming about being rescued by Prince Charming. The age-old girlish joys and fancies have been discarded and shattered all in the name of feminism. Feminists are hurting their world, their culture, and their future generations, but they’re also doing no favor to themselves. There is a sweet charm, grace, and feminine dignity that comes with embracing the role of a woman. It is a beautiful role and can be relished to the full without stepping into the feminist mindset. I loved being a girl – playing with dolls, acting out house, dressing-up and having tea-parties. I love being a woman – cherishing and nurturing those around me, cuddling babies, and bringing joy into the world through a peaceful and content spirit. Women have great power, but they don’t have vie for equality with men to wield that power. The truth is that no matter what, women will never be equal to men and men will never be equal to women. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Women and men compliment each other, but they aren’t each and never will be. I have found true joy in embracing the grace and loveliness of femininity. I am secure in who I am and know with certainty where my identity lies. I hope that little girls will once again be encouraged to dream tender dreams, look to boys for protection, and revel in the beauty of being a girl.

    “Womanhood is a wonderful thing. In womankind we find the mothers of the race. There is no man so great, nor one sunk so low, but once he lay a helpless, innocent babe in a woman’s arms, dependent upon her love and care for his existence. It is the woman who rocks the cradle of the world, and holds the first affections of mankind. Womanhood stands for all that is pure and clean and noble. She who does not make the world better for having lived in it has failed to be all that woman should be.” -Beautiful Girlhood

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    Someone 06/17/2011 at 1:52 pm #

    EllieMae: you’ve been brainwashed, and you are a collaborator. And you’re completely WRONG. It’s sad to see how many women in this world are still so ignorant and willing to causing damage the way you are.

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