I know this is a fashion blog. I also know it is fast becoming just another liberal preaching to other liberals like Ricky Gervais at the golden globes. But sitting in this Cafe, a Pecan vegan brownie and soy latte to my left and a Times newspaper to my right (Its not mine but Im using it as a prop to visually represent duality and balance so I'm not letting anyone take it) I'm about to do a deep dive into the colour pink and its link to internalised misogyny, thus tying fashion and feminism together.
If you have seen any of my instagram posts, or indeed any pictures on this very blog you are currently reading you will be well aware that pink is one of my most worn colours, coming second only to a lovely light beige/cream that reminds me of my mothers hazelnut meringue I force her to make so that she can eat just a slither and I can take the rest home. I'm very specific about the type of pink I like, it needs to be a neutral pink, a dusky rose or a light warm pink. I'm not particularly fond of pastel or neon pinks. But nonetheless I love pink. But I wasn't always this way, you wouldn't know it to look at me but I did have a (thankfully short lived) tomboy phase. Picture 8 year old me, with short brown bob dressed in a t shirt with a skateboard on it over a long sleeve striped top. This was the age I decided that anything 'girly' was stupid. 'Girly' became synonymous with idiocy, drama, shallowness and unlike-ability to boys.
Now theres nothing wrong with dressing tom boyish! It's all about the reasons why. Maybe you just like the way it looks on you, god knows I love a bit of androgynous power dressing. But 8 year old me was doing it for all the wrong reasons. It was internalised misogyny that was making me equate traditional feminine appearances with all the negative things we still think about women. Women are shallow, overdramatic and incapable of intelligent thought. Mix all that with 'I'm not like other girls' and 'pick me' culture and 8 year old me was ready to switch my ballet slippers for high tops. I didn't want to be thought of as all the things 'girly' represented, (and I wanted boys to like me). Now I don't think I wanted a boyfriend at this age but I definitely wanted them to like me so I could have a nice ego boost and be the girl that all the boys fancied, which is just more misogyny, I wanted to be 'better' than other girls and at the young age of 8 I was already aware that the best way to be considered 'better' was with male attention. So I dressed like a skater and did the whole 'I'm not like other girls, I like sports' routine. Thank god it turned out that still no one fancied me and I quickly returned to my fairy princess ways. But I continued this whole 'I'm better than other girls because *insert stereotype*' thing into a ripe old age, and I admit I do still catch myself doing it, it has simply evolved to be more about other women's personalities and life choices rather than if they wear pink or not.
The worst thing I do is judge women who choose to sleep around. I genuinely support any choices of sexuality women want and I will never try to police other woman's life choices especially when it comes to sex. But I still have this awful voice of the patriarchy in my head saying 'You're better than her because you've never had a one night stand, you are purer, men will prefer you, you are more marriage material than her, she is worth less' Now I don't really believe any of this but it still crosses my mind (I blame catholic school). But its still all about how appealing you are to men, it all supports that a woman's worth is directly linked to how men see her. Its total bullshit.
But we all have these thoughts, its about whether or not you choose to recognise them within yourself. I've compiled a short list of some of the main things we judge other women for:
1. Wearing makeup: I don't know about you ladies but I can only watch university challenge when I'm bare faced, as soon as I put some lippy on my brain stops working and can't understand anything Jeremy Paxman is saying!
2. Thinking you're better than other women because you have more masculine qualities: I like drinking beer with the lads and playing playstation, I'm basically one of them, other girls are so superficial, obsessed with shopping and their looks! Men should pick me instead because I'm just one of the guys! (This I like to call Wild Child syndrome, I love that film, however, it contains a classic trope of internalised misogyny when they make her under, get rid of her blonde hair, put her in frumpier clothing and suddenly she is magically less shallow and less of a bitch.)
3. Stalking your boyfriends ex on Instagram and feeling relieved that you're prettier: Thank god I'm more attractive than her, that means I must be worth more, he will prefer me to her just because I'm prettier, I'm 'an upgrade'. (Or similarly, feeling like shit because you think you aren't prettier, see: Jolene by Dolly Parton)
4. Thinking you're a better partner because you're less assertive: I'm such wife material, I never complain, I'm the cool girl, I hate feminists, I love when men compliment me on my boobs I don't know why other women think this is harassment, I understand this is just how men are! I wont make a fuss and be difficult like those high maintenance girls. Pick me!'
5. Similar to no.4 this is the Instagram try hard: I am every mans dream woman, I clean in lingerie, I cook in lingerie, I greet you at the door in lingerie when you come home from work, dinner on the table and the game on. I post on instagram about how much i do for you, how i live to be the perfect wife, all your friends are jealous that you have such a great wife, none of their wives do this for them. You need to make the effort for your husband so they don't stray. If your husband cheats its because you didn't try hard enough to be the perfect wife like me!
Don't be these girls. Get out from under negative stereotypes about women's appearances and life choices, make decisions on what you want to do for the right reasons, and realise that what other women choose to do is none of your business. For me, that means I'm wearing PINK.