Feminism and lingerie, are they linked?
I have been thinking about this for a long time. And when I mean long, I mean years. On the eve of International Women’s Day, I am feeling inspired to write about women’s rights and lingerie. And why not? After all, I am a multi-faceted female that demands equality and pretty lingerie at the same time. Does that make me less of a feminist? I think not.
To quote Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “I derive power from my femininity. And any attempt to make femininity trivial or unimportant is an attempt to take away my power. So I’m going to wear the red lipstick.”
Let us replace lipstick with lingerie and you get the point.
Reducing feminine interests such as lingerie, make-up, and fashion as superficial is an exercise in reducing the feminine. Therefore labeling her inferior.
Throughout history, the Patriarchy has demanded beauty as a mark of a women’s worthiness. Over time women have had to trade beauty in exchange for a little bit of power. Due to the history of these ‘superficialities,’ practicing any of these beauty rituals has consciously or unconsciously made women feel guilty and like a bad feminist. We spent our childhood hearing and internalizing gender discrimination; “You look like a girl…you act like a girl… you run like a girl”. As if the feminine was inherently wrong and inferior. Combined with feelings that our value was only as beautiful or perfect as you could be, many women have felt confused and lost when navigating beauty and feminine superficiality. Speaking from experience I have often felt the very subject of lingerie as trivial and superficial, coming from unconscious bias, I have at times been embarrassed to say I work in the lingerie industry and let alone run a lingerie blog in case of been labeled frivolous or worse, a loose woman.
The lingerie industry has much to blame for sexualizing and objectifying women, continuing that old sexist agenda. Lingerie has for most of history been attached to the idea of the boudoir; seducing men or entertaining men. Nowadays as we move away from those sexist notions and towards female emancipation, women are seeing lingerie as a tool for personal empowerment. Woman and society are finally finding value in the feminine, and as more women find authority through their own feminine divine, society will have to learn to not trivialise and sexualize women. The very act of sexualizing or objectifying female bodies and lingerie in a non-sexual, consenting context is a telltale sign of sexism. Removing the stigma of shame around female sexuality and the female body will further enable us to have a more gender equal and body inclusive society. When the very nature of a woman is no longer labeled as inferior or trivialised then we will have true equality.
As I think about it more, putting lingerie on and feeling empowered is a revolutionary act. Here I am, imperfect and all, rejecting the beauty standard and loving myself whole. Wearing lingerie, owning my sexuality and femininity empowers me. I adorn my body with beautiful pieces of fabrics because I want to, not because any man has asked it of me or do it for their viewing pleasure. I am taking back my trivial femininity and owning it. I practice self-love and worship my feminine divine. For other ladies it may be make-up, or those killer heels, or getting their nails done, whatever our society may deem superficial, if you find power in the act of doing so, do it. I am generally not gendered stereotypical. I spent my whole twenties rejecting gender stereotypes at work and in my personal relationships. However, I cannot ignore some things are uniquely feminine, whether it be nature or nurture I cannot reject the inner need to adorn myself; my inner goddess demands it. As I experience my body and become more accepting of my feminine preferences I can not help feeling a certain identity and power within owning these inherent qualities.
“Mentors of mine were under a big pressure to minimize their femininity to make it. I’m not going to do that. That takes away my power. I’m not going to compromise who I am.” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
I find myself sitting here writing this piece while wearing a silky number with matching lingerie and I remind myself; “I refuse to be part of the system that trivializes the feminine and promotes personal anxieties. Instead, I choose to be empowered through my feminine divine. I embrace all aspects of myself that make me uniquely feminine, including the ‘superficial’. Until the feminine stops being reduced to any of the male counterpart women won’t have true equality.”
In the meantime though, I’ll be wearing lingerie and the red lipstick.