From the most exclusive designer shows to high street fashion, and from Lean In and #girlboss to all these websites about female entrepreneurship, feminism is undoubtedly hot.
But how was this issue rekindled, what does fashion have to do it and why is feminism still relevant today?
From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx Euston talk in 2012 and its publication in 2014 and Beyonce’s Flawless, featuring Ngozi Adichie’s words, to the already iconic We Should All Be Feminists T-Shirt Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s first female artistic director in the house’s 70 years presented, feminism resonates loudly and clearly.
Many magazines devote articles as well as editorials to this new wave of feminism, Wonder Woman and Amazons are the new superheroes and major brands, such as Inditex, are following the feminism trend. Stradivarius features a whole line of these bold type T-shirts and you can find many shirts or hoodies with empowering messages even in brands that have been so far itemising girls, looking at them solely as objects of desire. Instagram is also full of #girlboss quotes and accounts and female entrepreneurship is on the rise.
With a woman candidate President in the US and a German lady ruling over the finances of Europe, as well as more women than ever in successful start-ups and 30 under 30 (or 40) lists, why are we still talking about feminism and why do we still need it if gender equality has supposedly been achieved.
Because it clearly hasn’t. A lot of actresses have spoken up about the pay gap in Hollywood, such as Lena Dunham, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence – and if these super stars face inequality what happens with ordinary people?
Even though a lot of high profile positions are no longer reserved for men only, in theory anyway, it is undeniable that companies, as well as societies, have double standards and completely different expectations from men, compared to women.
It is the stereotypes we have grown up with and internalised so much that when I wrote an article about Sophia Amoruso and How to be a #girlboss the reactions I got were “the term ‘boss’ is negative because it has been associated with men, and we shouldn’t want to be bosses” and “we are not girls, we are women”. This is only an example that instead of getting over these stereotypes we are unconsciously repeating them.
The new wave of feminism discourse, however, makes us realise that we don’t have to let go of our feminine, female sides in order to succeed nor is a feminist angry at the world and arguing for the sake of the argument.
Feminism in 2017 means identifying the gender stereotypes and doing your best to fight them in the best way that you can – man or woman.
According to Adichie:
“We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently…”
“Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.”
“Some people ask: ‘Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?’ Because that would be… a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.”
So what do you think? Is feminism relevant today? Is it a good thing that it has been taken on by fashion?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has also written beautiful fiction and has been shortlisted for many literary awards.
Photos of me: Anna Antoniadou – Via Dell’ Anna
Athleisure pants: Rana Fashion Spot Rhodes