It’s an ideology, not a fashion statement
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
Seeing people wear clothes with the word “feminist” on them has become more and more frequent in my experience—a trend that irks me. Not only is it tacky, it cheapens the word and trivializes everything I feel the movement stands for.
Wearing clothes like these is turning feminism into a fashion trend, which is not a good thing. When something becomes a trend, people tend to buy things for the sole reason that they’re popular. People who buy these clothes because they’re considered stylish at the moment may not necessarily agree with the ideology or even fully understand it. I worry that people who buy “feminist” apparel may not hold feminist values or may be in the realm of feminism that tends to come across as anti-men, which is not reflective of the whole movement at all. In fact, it gives feminism a bad name.
It seems like feminism has unfortunately become more of a fashion fad than a set of meaningful beliefs. Many celebrities have been seen wearing “we should all be feminists” shirts. It has even been used in a fashion runway for Dior (and can be yours for only $710). Trends also come and go. It may be fashionable to wear these shirts now, but soon enough they will go out of style. An important political movement should not be diminished to a fashion statement that will eventually become passé.
I can also see how people would think that wearing this apparel is important. It makes the word “feminist,” a term that has so many negative connotations, normalized and more accepted. While I do think it’s a good way to get feminism normalized and to push the conversation into the mainstream, to me it’s another example of slacktivism. Wearing a feminist T-shirt is not the same as volunteering, educating people on sexism and double standards, or making a positive difference. This normalization can also be an unfavourable thing because once a word is printed on too many beanies, shirts, or jackets, I think it loses its vigour and its impact is diminished. It becomes more than just a political ideology, it becomes a label without necessarily keepings its ideological connotations.
You shouldn’t have to literally wear your political beliefs on your sleeves. A movement that you believe in should not be reduced to a price tag in a store. I think it’s okay to wear clothing that expresses yourself and your beliefs, but you shouldn’t have to make it so blaringly obvious. It’s shady that this apparel is being sold in the first place. Clothing companies know how mainstream the movement is right now so they’re capitalizing on it for their financial gain, which is not what feminism is about. In fact, aren’t most branches of feminism against capitalism?
People can wear and express themselves however they want, but I can’t take this kind of clothing seriously. Being a feminist should not be a fashion statement, so why must people treat it like one?