F Bombs

Wonder Woman is a feminist fashion icon if there ever was one: the bustier, the hot pants (or is this a romper?), and of course her best accessory, her Golden Lasso of Truth.

“Is fashion feminist?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions I hear when someone finds out that I write about fashion.  And I have to admit that I find the question tedious – not because it’s not important but because it’s the wrong question. It may be why we’ve never directly answered this question – though all our posts are informed by a critical feminist perspective.  A better question to ask is: How is fashion an instrument of gender oppression and how is it a means to feminist liberation? I’ve compiled a short list of mostly popular, mostly online texts that address this question – some, more successfully than others. It should go without saying – but in case it doesn’t – this is hardly an exhaustive list of texts. Note, for example, that I haven’t included any full book-length studies on the topic and only a few scholarly texts. It’s meant to be a quick reference list, a pocket-sized digital guide to beginning a conversation about this topic.

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And finally, here are a few posts we’ve written on the subject of fashion and feminism in relation to, among other things, queerness, popular culture discourse,  and academia:

Feel free to add on to this list in the comments!

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13 Comments

Filed under (AD)DRESSING GENDER & SEXUALITY, IN THE CLASSROOM, LINKAGE

13 responses to “F Bombs

  1. Check back later for PDFs of Showalter’s “The Professor Wore Prada” and Raine’s “F Word”!

  2. Thanks so much for bringing these all together in one place! I look forward to visiting the ones I haven’t read yet between semesters.

    You have plenty of Showalter here, but I also wanted to share “Fade to Greige,” in which she works through her own thoughts on feminism/fashion as well as several of the texts you’ve already linked above.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v23/n01/elaine-showalter/fade-to-greige

  3. Thanks for this! The timing seems especially ripe when a flurry of young women are staunchly declaring themselves non-feminazis.. but carving out huge spaces of privilege for themselves in universalizing the resilience/experience of women, or blanket statements about media representation (‘man i hate feminists/feminism but i think it rlly sux how the male gaze portrays us’ (who is us?)

  4. What an amazing list of resources for your readers. You are truly the BEST!

  5. Good Morning Midnight does it again, a response, an elaboration, a feminist-femme-queer fashion testimonial: Is Feminist + Queer Interest in Fashion Possible?

  6. I’m definitely a feminist and I love fashion and style. Shopping, advertising and editorials are often degrading and counter-productive, so I avoid those things with very little effort. I also feel too much emphasis is placed on those latter three things, when the construction and creativity of the clothing and the designers is strangely overlooked, on most fashion blogs, anyway. So I really appreciate sites like this one that don’t regurgitate the gossip and mindless consumerism that is so prevalent elsewhere.

  7. Thanks for posting all these resources together. It’s a question that troubles me (as well as a topic I know almost nothing about) so i’m really looking forward to delving more into these!

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  9. every time i read anything by elaine showalter, i can’t help but think of michael schowalter humping mother nature in that Stella sketch.

  10. I blush every time y’all link to me! Thanks for including me and psyched to read the links here which I hadn’t come across yet.

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  12. I’m a feminist who loves clothes. My son’s kindergarten teacher–a snappy dresser herself, once complimented my outfit and sort of general style, and I said, “Well, I love clothes, they’re my weakness.” She responded, “Not at all! it’s an art form!” Since then I’ve felt less defensive and more embracing. If Teacher Polly says it, it must be true. I’ve never emphasized fashion on my own blog, but I read lots of clothing blogs, including this one. Sometime I plan to do a week of fashion posts, just to try out being a fashion blogger.

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