My two favorite things! Well, and soccer. Two out of three.
Anyway, my friend and all-time favorite writer, Jill Filipovic, wrote a piece for the Guardian giving a feminist case for Fashion Week that is AMAZING. Run and read it now if you haven’t already (I obsessively tweeted and facebooked about it when it was first published) and then let’s talk about the best parts:
“It’s New York fashion week, and there’s a lot to hate about it. The crash diets. The extremely skinny, disturbingly young runway models who are held up as “ideal”, and all the ways they’re exploited. Then there’s the extravagant cost of the clothing, where a shopper may drop in one trip what many Americans make in a month.”
Very true! I hate all of these things. I hate them so much that I avoid them at all costs through AuH2O. But let’s acknowledge that not all stores can be secondhand shops (and thanks Jill for saying such nice things about me):
“There are of course some extremely talented women who excel at perusing the aisles of thrift stores and second-hand shops, and who balance loving fashion with a dedication to social justice (no sweatshop labor) and the environment (recycled clothing). My friend Kate Goldwater, the owner of New York’s AuH2O boutique, is one of them. But stores like hers aren’t nearly as ubiquitous as designer shops, and women who work in places that demand business wear usually can’t get away with only rocking vintage and thrifted finds. And unlike men, women can’t recycle through the same three high-end suits and be considered ‘well-dressed’.”
I admit, we don’t carry much in the way of work-wear. In fact, when I’m stocking and come across office attire, I skip over it. BO-RING.
I don’t judge women who need or want to shop retail, and I do it myself occasionally - and always love it - it’s fun! While the industry itself is fucked up and needs to change in many ways (sweatshop labor, excessive waste, body image, etc), the consumers aren’t at fault for enjoying clothing and shopping. But we always hear that woman who like fashion are shallow, vapid, stupid or silly:
“Displays of pure consumption to signal social and economic status are not exactly progressive, but it’s hypocritical to single out women for being shallow in their wardrobe spending. Men spend money on things that are just as unnecessary and just as intended to signal class and social tribe. For men, items like bespoke suits, fancy cars or innumerable electronics somehow signal a James Bond image, not a shallow one.”
YES! Go on:
“There’s nothing that makes an afternoon of shopping any sillier than an afternoon watching football; there’s nothing inherently less useful about a handbag than a new video game. But because fashion and clothes are stereotypically feminine pursuits and sports are stereotypically masculine, fashion is frivolous and sports are awesome. Women who spend money on themselves are self-involved. Men who do are either dapper or early adapters of the gadget du jour or just “that guy with the boat”.
Men, in fact, spend more money on consumer products than women. They spend $11 a day more on average, and they’re less likely to be the kind of smart shopper who compares prices and returns items they don’t like. But men aren’t considered frivolous spenders, because the connotations of the very word “frivolity” are feminine.”
Preach, Jill. I loved the shit out of this. Next can you write a piece that includes soccer? Just kidding, unless…