Hello all! Today I thought I’d share with you a piece of writing I did for my textile history class. We were asked to analyze the way we dress. This is a section of what I came up with.
My overall style and one of the most important features in the way I dress is the feminine aspects. When talking about feminine in terms of style of dress I mean floral patterns, bright pinks and blues, skirts and dresses. By wearing feminine clothing (and pushing the aesthetic further than what is considered acceptably feminine) I am showing my allegiance to the feminine aesthetic, and standing by it as a look that shouldn’t be shied away from.
There is an idea (among feminists especially) that if a woman dressed in a traditionally feminine manner (wearing make-up, or dresses, or high heels) that she was submitting to men wanted women to look like, or that she was dressing for male pleasure. For quite awhile I was under the same impression and wore only dark colors and solids because I thought that being feminine meant I was weak or submitting to the patriarchy, but I came to realize that the preference of masculinity over femininity is a product of our patriarchal society, that wearing make-up can be just as empowering as not, that dressing for yourself (in any style) can be the most liberating action.
This is why I choose to express my femininity so outwardly; and why I choose to push the feminine aesthetic beyond the norm. In this society women are taught to be as small as possible: to be delicate and submissive and demure. But I take up space with my femininity, I wear all neon pink, I wear three different florals at once, I match my blush with my earrings with my nail polish – I express femininity unapologetically. Part of this subversion of the traditionally feminine is that I also want to present myself as queer, so I have short hair and this combination identifies me as part of the “soft femme” sub-style, which goes against the thinking that all queer women are butch. Add on the fact that I’m fat (and according to the fashion industry, should be wearing a potato sack) and I would say I express myself as not traditionally feminine, but certainly identifying myself as a woman, as femme, and as feminine.