2015: Pussy Power & Commodity Feminism

Raise Boys and Girls The Same Way

This past year, we saw a substantial rise in the support of gender equality. From students defying to have their bodies dehumanized from archaic dress codes, to defying gender roles in the tech industry, to Target’s daring move to eliminate gender-based signage in stores, there were countless feminist moments in 2015.

In my outfit pictured above, I found a cute vintage-looking scoop neck tee that reads, “Raise Boys and Girls The Same Way.” It has a nostalgic feel to it, reminiscent to the graphic tees that were popular when I was in middle school that read things such as, ”Girls Rule, Boys Drool.”

The slew of clothing and other products centered around positive female messaging has left me both ecstatic and confused. I’m elated that we can unite and support each other’s ideology through fashion and pop culture. But, it also leads me to wonder, why did all this clothing come out recently?

Feminist issues have taken unprecedented popularity in our younger people more recently. It would seem that somewhere in 2014-2015, feminism has become more commodified than ever.

A play on Karl Marx’s commodity fetishism, commodity feminism is the appropriation of feminist ideals in the market place. In this sense, feminism is reduced to products which are packaged and sold. This reaches beyond tee-shirts and cropped tops with feminist messaging, but campaigns such as Dove’s Real Beauty and American Eagle’s Aerie Real. As with any exposure, there is good and bad. It is good that women’s equality has gained so much attention, sparking about change. My personal criticism for most of these campaigns is that the women advertised still very much retain an ideal hourglass shape for the male gaze, large breasts with a small pinched waistline. A little contradictory when we are trying to say that all bodies are good bodies.

As for cropped tops that scream “Pussy Power!” and “Ain’t No Wifey”, I hope that the consumers whom purchase them understand the meaning behind them instead of slapping on things that sound “cool.” 

I own a bomber jacket that reads, “Fight Like A Girl.” An man once asked me, “Shouldn’t that read ‘You Fight Like a Girl?'” 

“Nope!” I answered, “Girls can fight just as good.”

I suppose with any attention there will always be some negative, but exposure brings about awareness, and from awareness there can be change

Outfit:

Top- Brandy Melville

Bottoms- American Apparel