I am a Feminist Fashion Blogger

feminism

Up until this past summer, I didn’t really advertise that I was a blogger, especially a fashion blogger. Yes, most of my friends and family knew about the blog, but I didn’t really show it off. I feared the repercussions – folks finding me superficial, jobs finding me unprofessional, acquaintances feeling uncomfortable around me if they weren’t dressed in their very best.

The Summer of 2010, I had some very deep thoughts about blogging and my life in general. After having Emerson, my priorities have changed, and my “me” time has nearly disappeared. It seemed stupid, selfish, ridiculous to continue blogging. I hated my body, hated clothes on it, and cared more about things like expecting women being educated about their childbirth rights than what colors were hot for the season. I remember I hosted my monthly women’s circle, I was sitting on the floor talking to them about my blog, stating how I felt more passion for women’s rights than I did about fashion. One of my friends looked at me with a face that I knew was true compassion, understanding, and a bit of concern and it hit me. She was looking at me that way because she knew I loved to write, I loved to blog, and if I stopped blogging I would stop a passion.

That look reminded me that my blog was never about the latest runway style or how to get the look for less. It was always about women – empowering women, helping them see their true beauty and majesty. I wasn’t a fashion blogger, or a style blogger, I was a feminist blogger.

At first, I didn’t really want to write about feminism. To many, this is a dirty word, an outdated word, a word associated with women who hate men, hate fashion, and just plain hate. Over the past five an a half years I have gotten to know my reader base, and I know that we don’t all share the same political or religious or cultural beliefs. I respect your personal beliefs, and don’t want my personal beliefs to stop you from finding benefit to my blog. I have tried very hard to keep my opinions to myself so that I won’t offend or anger anyone.

However I think that the word feminism has a negative connotation because many do not really understand the term. As that the goal of Wardrobe Oxygen is to help fellow women find their personal style and realize how gorgeous they are, it really is a feminist fashion blog. Clothing can be a way to suppress women, but it can also be a way to empower them. I often call a wardrobe a suit of armor because it is a way for a woman to express herself, to feel confident in social situations, to define herself without having to say a word, to feel and be strong.

As a feminist, I believe women should be treated as equal human beings (see my post last week about being a feminist). Women are not men, but women have the same intelligence, creativity, ingenuity, business savvy, quick-thinking, resolve, and ability as men. We should have the same opportunities available to us, and be given the opportunity to decide what we want in our life, instead of having it be decided for us. I think Wardrobe Oxygen is a perfect platform for educating women on the true meaning of feminism, and how one can be a feminist without going against one’s personal beliefs (or hating fashion).

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  • Well said! I am constantly dismayed by the fact that so many young women think that feminism is some outdated, unfashionable concept – or that the work has already been done. Taking back the word and its real meaning is important, across all contexts. Style and fashion are self-expression and feminism is absolutely relevant …

  • Right on! I love your post! While many people think that fashion is superficial, the way you present yourself to the world speaks volumes. I’m an “older” reader,and being in the position of hiring professionals (in a predominately woman’s field), I can certainly say that the clothes that interviewees wore to the interview basically got them the job, or not. That’s not to say that they had to wear the latest color or hemline, but the care that they took with their presentation was what mattered, not just to me, but many times to the men that were involved in hiring. One candidate comes to mind, she came to an interview for a pretty responsible position wearing chinos, a casual sweater with her hair in a ponytail. (This was not a last-minute interview so she had plenty of time to prepare.) We hired the person who wore a suit, business-like pumps, and had her hair neatly arranged.

  • Jen

    I love your blog! It’s my new favorite. I’ve been looking for something like this for years. Style for real people. Keep it coming!

    Also, what is your women’s group? I want one. Please explain.

  • nikki

    thank you allie for this most important entry. i would have been very sad had you decided to stop blogging. while the designs on the runway are fun and tangible expressions of art and creativity, that does not always translate into the wardrobe of most women. and given the body image insanity that pervades the fashion magazines and modeling industry, you are a refreshing, almost necessary antidote. it’s comforting to me to see a woman with a real body, with relatable issues and a normal salary get dressed and be beautiful, confident and self-assured (and even if every day you don’t feel all of this, at least you project it!), all without having spent a fortune that could feed a small country on an “it” bag or pair of shoes. you’re correct, that is empowerment. kudos to you!

  • I never considered your blog to be a fashion blog in the sense of look what I’m wearing today. I always looked on it as a lifestyle blog and I thought you were incredibly brave for posting pictures during and after your pregnancy even if you did feel at odds with your body. Most women would refuse saying oh, I’ve gained weight, oh I look terrible… For what it’s worth, I believe that is female empowering all the way. Not willing to be conformed to society’s norms on body image and you still looked gorgeous because your lovely illuminating personality.
    So no, not a ‘superficial’ blog about the latest fashion week trends!

  • Yep. Being a feminist is not “in” or “hot” judging by the looks on my students’ or friends’ faces when I use the word. Their lack of awareness of the changes feminism has wrought in their lives is sad… or great, because they take these freedoms for granted (unlike our mothers!).

  • Kat

    Thanks for saying this, and reminding me that I can be smart, sucessful AND stylish. I work in higher ed, and there’s some odd feeling here that if you dress too well, you must not be working hard enough. Keep on rockin’ it!

    Kat
    gingerandthegeek.com/kitty-corner

  • Amen!

  • I echo the comments by everyone here. You have changed my life! How? By showing me that you can look great, have confidence, and be beautiful no matter your size/shape. As an “older” reader (I’m 47), I feel more fashionable, which equals more confident, than ever, and it’s because of you! Your blog is part lifestyle, part fashion, and ALL necessary. Keep on posting sister!

  • Linda beat me to it – Right On Allie! it’s especially fantastic to see a person of a younger generation continuing the work. I’m behind you all the way!!! steph

  • I’ve been reading your blog for several years now, and I feel like lately you’ve been growing so much as a blogger…I feel like I really KNOW you. I have a very limited clothing budget as my husband and I are in a season of living quite frugally, and your advice has prompted me to look objectively at my body and the clothing that flatters it, and buy only those items. I truly think I’ve saved myself a lot of money and heartache this way, I find your blog so inspirational, empowering, and helpful. Thank you for all you do!

  • Very interesting post Allie. I have been thinking alot about this lately and it’s great for bloggers to know what type of blog they have, mission, vision etc… I do consider my blog a style blog but its not just fashion..it’s all things style and it’s my personal style. And what I love about your blog (and I focus on mine as well) is style and topics for REAL EVERDAY women. will definitely check out the site you suggested.

  • I enjoy your blog for all the reasons stated above. Feminism has been so demonized that it has an almost toxic image.

  • Very interesting post Allie. I have been thinking alot about this lately and it’s great for bloggers to know what type of blog they have, mission, vision etc… I do consider my blog a style blog but its not just fashion..it’s all things style and it’s my personal style. And what I love about your blog (and I focus on mine as well) is style and topics for REAL EVERDAY women. will definitely check out the site you suggested.

  • I echo the comments by everyone here. You have changed my life! How? By showing me that you can look great, have confidence, and be beautiful no matter your size/shape. As an “older” reader (I’m 47), I feel more fashionable, which equals more confident, than ever, and it’s because of you! Your blog is part lifestyle, part fashion, and ALL necessary. Keep on posting sister!

  • Kat

    Thanks for saying this, and reminding me that I can be smart, sucessful AND stylish. I work in higher ed, and there’s some odd feeling here that if you dress too well, you must not be working hard enough. Keep on rockin’ it!

    Kat
    gingerandthegeek.com/kitty-corner

  • This is a really interesting stand on femininity and fashion. I have to agree that I have a fairly negative bias against the word “feminist”…in my opinion, it does have strong associations with hate and intolerance for menfolk. I personally like to consider myself a “humanist” in that I want the rights of all people protected.

    However, as someone who as an adolescent struggled with body image, I totally advocate the education of women to love and respect their minds, bodies, and abilities.

    And about women and men. I have accepted the fact that men and women are intrinsically different in many respects, but both out-do each other in different arenas. We’re different, but our individual strengths make us equal. The fact that we’re human makes us equal. And that’s my two cents!

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