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The Evolution of Feminist Fashion

Empowerment looks good, but feels better

Photo via Pexels under the Creative Commons License

Photo via Pexels under the Creative Commons License

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Trousers, shoulder pads, short hair, no bras. What do these all have in common? Well, despite being stereotypically viewed as men’s fashion, all of these articles of clothing — or lack thereof — have been significant to feminist fashion in decades past.

  The feminist movement has always revolved around the desire to eliminate gender norms and promote equality for everyone. Naturally, the fashion related to this movement is no different.

  Trousers were first brought into mainstream women’s fashion by Coco Chanel during the first-wave feminism movement. She believed that trousers would “give women their bodies back,” and keep them from being constrained by dresses made of layers and layers of fabric.

  Following trousers, the introduction of shoulder pads for women during the second-wave feminism movement in the 80s created waves in the workplace. This style was comparable to men’s fashion at the time, thus giving women a more robust figure and emitting an aura of power comparable to men.

  Most historical feminist trends have origins in menswear, even high heels. However, not everything empowering to women is a result of men’s fashion. Take flapper and mod fashion — while forty years apart, both looks were representative of women pushing back on societal standards, avoiding the extremely modest looks of their predecessors.

  Today, feminism represents something different to everyone, and there is no real way to pinpoint how a feminist dresses. Feminism is all about what makes one feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. It doesn’t matter if one choses to wear a mini skirt or baggy jeans, shave their body hair or not, or don a dress or pantsuit; feminist fashion today embraces the ideology that if you feel good about yourself, then that’s what makes you empowered.

Now, it is more important than ever to stand with the feminism movement. Recent changes in the United States and changes to come may challenge the rights of minorities, but it is important to keep your head up and stand strong. Really think about what feminism means, and keep those ideologies close to heart throughout this four year presidential term.

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The student news site of El Modena High School
The Evolution of Feminist Fashion