Fashion Beauty Friend Friday: Feminism

The Friend Friday group by Modly Chic is a way for fashion bloggers to share more about themselves and join a friendly community of bloggers.  Join the fun by checking out the  Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group. And definitely read Modly Chic - it's such a great blog!

1. Do you think there is an incompatibility between feminism and a love for fashion?

Some would argue that there is definitely an incompatibility between fashion and feminism. If you examine the development of fashion trends throughout history, it seems apparent that women have dressed and presented themselves to conform to standards set by the patriarchy (i.e corsets, push-up bras, the demurring fashion of the 1950's.) With the emergence of the fat acceptance movement and plus-size advocates, this mindset is beginning to change. “Feminist writers have consistently argued that a woman’s attempt to cultivate her appearance makes her a dupe of fashion, the plaything of men, and thus a collaborator in her own oppression… Though this wisdom has seldom been open to question as a matter of principle, it has always produced discord at the level of practice,” says Linda Scott an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois in her book Fresh Lipstick.

In addition, the fashion industry is largely about money.  Cosmetics, clothes, and other beauty tools are a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Particular brands and styles are promoted because there is money to be made, and profits to be enjoyed. Often there is zero connection between comfort, figure flattery and fashion trends (hello, stilettos.) We live in a culture where for women beauty, success, and glamour have a very high price tag attached, and that to be an accomplished, modern, sexy woman, you have to look the part—in a $4,000 dress and $400 shoes, of course. Some women buy clothes to communicate class and power over other women, establishing competitiveness between them. Our capitalist society encourages this behavior.

However, I believe that embracing femininity is about embracing everything about womanhood, both outside and in. If wearing make-up, flattering clothing and expressing my own unique style through fashion is a way I express my femininity, that's empowering. And isn't that what feminism is all about?

2. There is more to each of us than a love for fashion. How do you incorporate every aspect of yourself into your blog?

My blog is a truly honest expression of who I am. I discuss topics that I'm interested in and that I feel others can relate to as well. In my blog, I'm been open about my eating disorder, role as a mom, and importance of fashion and authenticity in regards to who I am. My blog is about embracing our own unique sense of style and shaking off the "should's" - what we should wear, how we "should" present ourselves. It's about being courageous through fashion and style, and that's how I live every day.

3. With the fashion industry still being a male-dominated profession, how do you think it would differ if women played a larger role?

I strongly believe that if women dominated the fashion industry, body acceptance would be a priority. It would bring the end to the ultra-thin models that walk down the runways and appear in magazines.  Fashion might become more about comfort and utility than restriction, and about self-expression and individuality rather than trends.

4. How is your self-image and the way you carry yourself informed by your beliefs?

I work really, really hard to accept my flaws, especially in the context of my eating disorder. A large part of my recovery concerns body acceptance and embracing the womanliness of my figure. For years I struggled to restrict the curves I was meant to have. I dressed to hide my figure. Now, I try to not only accept how I look, flaws and all, but show off my curves in a tasteful and flattering way. I believe that establishing a stronger sense of personal style not only permits me to express my femininity, but also makes me feel more empowered and self-confident.

5. Do you think clothing/makeup/hair helps communicate the truth about yourself or are those things superfluous add-ons?

Fashion is something that makes me happy. Through thrifted and vintage clothes, I can create a unique sense of personal style that I find deeply gratifying. As I continue to examine fashion and beauty as an individual choice, the more apparent it becomes that these things help communicate the true me.


  1. thought-provoking and well-written as always, elissa! love the economic angle you took in the first question. i answered the third question really similarly to you, too!


  2. I love your answers.
    You're kind of a genius.
    Let's be friends.
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  3. elissa, you beautiful thing, what wonderful, well-thought-out answers. i especially love your answer for #2, but all of them, really, are giving me some serious food for thought. thanks.

  4. Isn't feminism supposed to be about women having more choices? So who's to say that someone's choice to embrace and enjoy fashion is less legitimate than someone else's choice to burn her bra and stop shaving?

  5. I agree with Bonnie. And I'm happy we're friends. Except you are a better Friend Friday participant than I am. You win.


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