Last week my housemate wrote an article for feminaust in which she carefully dealt with the inevitable feminist challenge of criticising a woman for criticising a woman. SO in the great tradition of carry-ons here at feminaust I’m going to dive right in and do some criticising of my own and possibly make it a regular spot, coz you know it’s always fun to get your criticism on!
Recently I’ve been overhearing, reading and drawn into, conversations about how leggings really aren’t pants and that women shouldn’t wear them as pants. During these conversations a lot of hyperbole has been thrown about concerning it being a federal crime, causing an epidemic of camel toe and the general distaste and disgustingness of the trend. In the interests of keeping the peace, I have to say that many of the people who have been participating in these conversations are people for whom I have a great deal of respect. Sadly however, I have absolutely no respect for their choice of language when it comes to the question of lower, outer garments. So, in much the same way that I would stand up and denounce or refuse to accept the validity of a racist or sexist comment, I’m going to start attacking the trend of attacking women’s wear. I stress however, that I’m am attacking the behaviour, not the people doing the behaviour. I am a strong believer in “playing the ball not the woman” to use a bad sporting analogy. Or in other words, this is not a personal attack on anyone. It’s a response to a concerning social trend which I think needs to be addressed.
- No one, not anyone, has the right to tell anyone else what they can and can’t wear, do or don’t look good in or what is or isn’t appropriate clothing for doing the shopping. This is a fight feminists have been having since before the word existed. It continues to be the key element of debates about issues as diverse as fat shaming, sexual assault, workplace discrimination and sexism in politics. If you don’t think leggings are pants, then don’t wear them as pants, but don’t tell anyone else that they can’t choose to.
- Women, should be the last to start the criticism game and yet so often are the first (um, perhaps this article is a case in point!). Late last year on feminaust we kept linking to great articles about the importance of more girl love and less of the jealous and unnecessary girl hate that goes around. There’s enough awesome-sauce for everyone, no need to get protective of yours!
- Shouldn’t we be celebrating the diversity that we see around us? If I said something along the lines of “someone needs to head down to Sydney Rd to let a lot of these ladies know that a hijab is actually not a hat” there would undoubtedly be either deathly silence or my friends would tell me they thought it was a bit inappropriate. We hear about “political correctness gone mad” and “reverse racism or sexism” but in my mind this is [insert mainstream cultural group here] bashing, just like bogan bashing. And I think it stinks.
- Lastly, and this is basically my personal life mantra. Does my comment add anything positive to the universe? Does insulting women at Prahran Market and their choice of outer leg garment improve the world, make it more interesting, create further understanding or improve chi? And will it hurt me to not say it? If not, is it really worth it?