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Are we all bad feminists?

The release of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist got me thinking. Aside from my concerns that yet another great book title has been taken, I think it’s really interesting to see the ‘bad feminist’ epithet being turned on its head. The label has gone from being a pejorative term bandied around by holier-than-thou feminist purists to something positive, something to be embraced. This speaks volumes about where we’re at in 2014 in terms of feminism — are we beginning to cut women some slack?

The recent Women Against Feminism Tumblr movement raised an important issue: that people don’t understand what feminism is. The movement suggested that individuals believe that feminism is a bunch of rigid rules that must be strictly adhered too, and that aren’t open to interpretation. With such a false misconception of feminism, is it any wonder they don’t want to be a part of it? I was horrified at yet another anti-feminist social media campaign, but I couldn’t help but think that — hidden deep inside this well of misunderstanding — there was a clear message about feminism: pressure. What do I mean by this? That we women have put so much pressure on themselves to be ‘good feminists’ that we’ve lost sight of what feminism really means. Have we tried so hard to be good feminists that we’ve become bad?

Zosia Mamet’s essay for Glamour magazine really resonates here:

As women we have internalized the idea that every morning we wake up, we have to go for the f–king gold. You can’t just jog; you have to run a triathlon. Having a cup of coffee, reading the paper, and heading to work isn’t enough—that’s settling, that’s giving in, that’s letting them win. You have to wake up, have a cup of coffee, conquer France, bake a perfect cake, take a boxing class, and figure out how you are going to get that corner office or become district supervisor, while also looking damn sexy—but not too sexy, because cleavage is degrading—all before lunchtime. Who in her right mind would want to do that? And who would even be able to?

When I read this, I am reminded of myself a few years ago. I had become so caught up in the idea of being a good feminist, I had forgotten to have fun. At parties I would roll my eyes when boys would chat me up, and I placed so much pressure on myself to succeed that became a recluse. Looking back, I find this totally crazy. Perhaps it’s a strange thing to say, but I’ve become more relaxed about feminism. I take it just as seriously as before, but I now know that being a ‘good feminist’ 100% of the time is just not sustainable. I also acknowledge that I had mistakenly interpreted feminism as being a rigid life model; one to be adhered to at all times.

I think it’s wonderful that women can now publicly admit to being bad feminists. This is certainly a progressive step, and symptomatic of fourth wave feminism, which places choice and the freedom to choose at its heart. Assuaging the pressure on women is now another wonderful addition to the feminist agenda.


It’s all about the Peter Pan collar

Call me a heathen, but I’ve never been a fan of blouses, or collars for that matter. I’m sure I’m not alone in associating these pillars of wardrobe stapledom with my school-going days, along with frumptastic sweaters and long socks. Oppressive, uncomfortable and far from stylish, I grew to loathe the blouse + tie combo. St Trinians my school days were not, but I’m happy to admit that I may have been wrong about blouses.

Lately, something’s happened to the collective blouse-wearing community (which I had erstwhile not been a part of) and I’m fairly certain that ‘thing’ is the Peter Pan collar. You can style it up with a ribbon, wear it under a sweater, or even just go collar commando — it will always look good.

A few days ago I stumbled upon a blouse with a Peter Pan collar and puff shoulder while on a window-shopping-can’t-spend-money lunchtime. I was in love. I needed it.I reserved the blouse, and returned to the office empty-handed. My work BFF told me to stop spending money (but she secretly loved the blouse.) Later that day, my mother aka style adviser assured me that a white blouse is an essential wardrobe item and a very sensible purchase. That settled it. I bought the blouse.

Here it is: 

The Edwoth Blouse | Jack Wills
The Edwoth Blouse | Jack Wills


Here are a few more to whet your appetite:

ASOS shirt with Peter Pan colla
Boden Peter Pan collar top
Southbrook Oxford Shirt | Jack Wills