Saturday, December 11, 2010

Group 6 - Extending the Runway: Feminism and Fashion

"The things that originally attracted me to feminism, as I understood it in my naive youth, are the same elements that influence what I wear. I’ve always been a rebel, a fan of freedom, of making my own choices. That should have made me a valuable member of the movement, a model of defiance, even."(Parks, 2008). This passage from Joy Parks is symbolic toward the way in which our newest generation of males and females has found feminism in a way unlike many before. Fashion is seen as a statement of self expression and a new way of expressing individualism.

We found an exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum that really shows female empowerment through fashion. Extending the Runway is an exhibit put together by Tatianna Sorokko and her collection consists of many different dresses she collected while walking the runway. Feminism and fashion have never truly been on the same wave length until recently when many women have found feminism through fashion. Joy Parks states "But mostly I need to be brave again, I need to take a stand" then goes on to say "I am fearless, I am feminist … and I am fabulously dressed." (Parks, 2008) Joy Parks has found feminism through fashion and she has a sense of empowerment when she talks about the way she is dressed. While clothes themselves cannot empower a person, their personal pride that they have in themselves and the way they are dressed are something that fashion can influence. Fashion has also lead to a much larger focus among many young feminists, individualism. Individualism is a concept that has become a big focal point of feminism. For example, "‘Girlie feminism’ is all about the reclamation of feminism as stylish and sexy and the representation of feminist politics as a set of individual lifestyle choices."(Groeneveld, 2008) "Girlie Feminism" is something that can serve as a bridge for many young girls struggling to find an identity with feminism and it has helped many women find feminism in their own way. Finding feminism is something that is very important, not just for women in the U.S., but for women around the world. It is important for women to understand their femininity and to be proud of it, something that fashion shows us is very possible. This exhibit makes it possible for women everywhere to understand that fashion is something they can embrace, and it is something that can be used to show others that they are not afraid to express their womanhood to others. By getting involved with the Phoenix Art Museum, it makes it possible for more artwork and exhibits make their way to Phoenix, making it possible for us to support many different artists and their varying passions. Bringing in more feminist artwork will only make it possible to further educate the public about the importance of female achievements and how they should be recognized just like those of men.

Groeneveld, E. (2009). 'Be a feminist or just dress like one': BUST, fashion and feminism as
lifestyle. Journal of Gender Studies, 18(2), 179-190. doi:10.1080/09589230902812471.

Parks, J. (2008). fashion STATEMENT. Herizons, 22(1), 36-39. Retrieved from Academic
Search Premier database.

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