I believe style is a form of protest and speaks to issues that go beyond vanity and decorum. The right to represent yourself the way you choose is as inalienable as any other. Fashion no doubt can be superfluous and material, but the immateriality of style can lend itself to resistance, revolution, and change. At the cross section of politics, women’s issues, and human rights, there is a medium through which women have been silently protesting for decades and it materializes at the most basic level in the way they dressed–or did not dress. Society still grapples with the policing of female bodies and beauty standards created largely by imperialism and patriarchy, but clothes represent a message about who you are and what you stand for.
You may be a member of the trans community and wore whatever you wanted today, knowing that being visible to the world is a risk and that you may receive verbal and/or physical abuse simply for dressing in a gender nonconformist way.
You may be a hijabi girl who did not hesitate to wrap her scarf this morning, knowing you may get some weird looks as you go about your day. Only because you worship God differently.
You may be an educated woman of color who went to work today wearing your natural hair and embracing your skin.
Or you may be a woman with a body that does not fit society’s norm of what is attractive or beautiful, but today you decided to dress for yourself and not for them.
The point is these exterior facets of style serve as a symbolic representation of identity and act in silent protest against the powers that keep us from being who we have the right to be. #WomensMarch created solidarity among every axis society, recognizing that democracy is still alive and we have the power to make change. And while I believe style is a form of protest, in order to create lasting change, we must do more than just be visible. We must educate ourselves and others and use that knowledge towards creating a dialogue of inclusion & respect. We must engage in change.
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Sweatpants: Forever 21
Shoes: Franco Sarto