The Truth About How Women Use Fashion to Feel Empowered
How does fashion make women feel empowered?
- Fashion as a form of self-expression
- Fashion brings out creativity
- Fashion reflects confidence
- Fashion transgresses social norms
Time and again, institutional sexism has forced women into many situations which eventually subjugate their entire womanhood. Such patriarchial structures contain socially designed expectations which women are forced to adhere to, or risk being the subject of ridicule and violence. For this reason, the truth about how fashion empowers women needs to be reinforced now more than ever.
In earlier as well as contemporary times, one can see the lively dynamics between fashion as an instrument of oppression against women, and also, as a way by which they can break the social barriers they are met with. Now, many women have been utilizing fashion to empower themselves and each other to regain a form of confidence that was once lost within them.
Though society has come a long way in offering women equal opportunities in many aspects of living, there is still much to be done. Nevertheless, women have since reclaimed their own agencies through their different fashion styles.
Fashion as a form of self-expression
When we plan out our outfit for the day, we have many considerations — comfort, practicality, or even occasion. Though this might still ring true in earlier times, the significance of fashion itself is constantly changing, what with the various feminist movements dedicated to enabling women to feel more empowered by it.
In the past, fashion has been used to define and determine a woman’s modesty, or acquiescence. Women were expected to dress up a certain way, or else they would be called out for being “too inappropriate” for example. Nowadays, in a much more liberal society, women have been breaking glass ceilings and have been using fashion as a means for them to express their identities.
One way by which women achieve this is by mixing and matching different pieces that aren’t conventionally considered to be put together. Depending on the woman’s preference, a floral dress can be paired with a pair of black boots, for example. Combined with other elements of progressiveness, women have also begun utilizing fashion as a means for them to express their sexualities. Gone are the notions of gendered clothing – women have the freedom to wear as they please.
Fashion brings out creativity
Fashion is arguably one of the best mediums for creative expression. With a limitless number of fabrics and prints to choose from, women have been able to combine clothing pieces to create ground-breaking fashion ideas.
One way by which this is done is through the incorporation of traditional elements, with modern and contemporary elements. One such clothing is the baro’t saya. This type of Filpiniana wear has traditionally been worn in the past as a reflection of the values expected of women – modesty, “appropriateness,” and timidity, just to name a few.
Nowadays, clothing companies like Tygie have begun incorporating this traditional element of clothing as a beautiful addition to modern styles which can be paired with denim jeans, short skirts, or even shorts.
Ultimately, women have creative control over what they wear. With their inventiveness, they have been able to repurpose old clothing in order to turn it into something new like that of distressed jeans, or makeshift tank tops.
Fashion reflects confidence
Another way by which fashion helps women to feel empowered is that it is able to reflect their confidence. This quality is perhaps most observable in a workplace setting.
As mentioned before, women experience inequality in many aspects of their life. This is no less true in the workplace, where many cases of sexism are constantly evident. We see many situations wherein a woman who is objectively more qualified for the position has lost the job to a man simply by virtue of her gender. Aside from this, double standards also exist in the workplace — when women are outspoken, they’re considered to be “bossy.” But when the same man displays the same trait, he is considered to be assertive.
Though fashion is not the only way, it is highly influential in the way that it restores the confidence of women in this type of setting. Samples of clothing pieces that can project confidence in women include a blouse, black blazers, combined with a pair of black slacks and heels.
Wherever the woman derives her sense of confidence is entirely dependent upon her, but she can always ensure that when she walks into the workplace, she is able to command an air of authority as well as the attention of everyone in it with the way she dresses.
Fashion transcends social norms
As mentioned before, women have been prejudiced simply because they are women. They have been historically deemed to be the “inferior” sex by the very same men who have established the patriarchal society they live in. Instead of dismantling the pillars of such an oppressive institution, women have been using societal norms towards their advantage by the way they dress up.
There have been societal-defying instances in which women have begun wearing suits which are traditionally considered to be for men. Not only are they able to execute the look well, but they’re also able to outshine the men in this regard.
A common misconception about women’s fashion is that they dress to be the subject of attention, which is something that is only half the truth. The fact of the matter is that women dress for themselves. They wear progressive pieces of clothing, or statement shirts because it is a reflection of what they believe in, as well as, the things which should change in society.
Fashion has both been the gatekeeper and the gateway for women to break social barriers put between them and their aspirations. Women have been influenced to create their own sense of style; they no longer have to be dictated by anyone to dress in a certain way.
Fashion is truly one of a woman’s most powerful weapons in gaining a heightened sense of empowerment. It has paved the way for women to gain more access to equal opportunities that have been previously considered a privilege for them.
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