Are we confused about the ideals of feminism? - Women's Agenda

Are we confused about the ideals of feminism?

I eavesdropped on a twitter conversation this week between a couple of self-proclaimed feminists and it disturbed me. The crux of the matter seemed to be that if a child is attracted to beautiful shoes then it makes it harder to raise her a feminist.

Excuse me? There is a feminist uniform? I had no idea that my feminist ideals were in any way linked to the shoes that I wear or my hem length. And as I wrote about my love for high heels just recently there’s no way that I can now pretend that I don’t love beautiful shoes. Although I have to say that if Westpac CEO Gail Kelly can wear a pale pink flippy skirt suit and beautiful heels to work (as i spied her wearing some weeks ago – she looked incredible) then there must be some wriggle room in this feminist fashion manifesto. If not, she’s sitting on the sidelines with me.

It makes me worry for my nieces, all of whom love shoes. They are strong, independent young women with career goals, but damn it they are attracted to beautiful shoes. The 18-year-old wears seriously high heels that could rival mine.

Based on the feminist conversations I read on twitter, I know that beautiful shoes are out, especially high heels. And you clearly can’t wear jackets that show off your big butt. That’s annoying to a feminist so rule it out. Do we ditch big butts while we’re at it or will changing our preference for jackets do? Anything that can be categorized as ‘whorish’ is a no, no. God you wouldn’t want to be judged a whore by a well-meaning feminist. Especially if you believed you weren’t one up till that point.

What about getting your hair done? Are you allowed to do that? If not, Sarah Hanson-Young will have to join me on the sidelines as she clearly has mentioned that she frequents a hair salon.

I follow Tara Moss on Twitter and her views on feminism are so well argued that it makes me proud just to be a reader of her books. But how can she be a feminist? She wears makeup, clearly gets her hair styled, wears fashion like the model she once was and has an incredible wardrobe of high heels. If we close our eyes, can Tara be the exception to the rule?

I have lived with the misconception that feminism was about giving women the freedom of choice. Pre feminism a woman’s behaviour and activity were determined by others. But then a whole bunch of daring and inspiring women joined forces in the sixties and pushed back. Some burned their bras in protest, others just chose to go bra-less as an expression of free choice. Have we replaced the shackles of a patriarchal society with a new style of handcuffs of our own making?

And why are we still wearing bras anyway? Didn’t a man create them?

Do you think there is confusion with the term feminism? What does it mean to you?

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