With the AW17 Scandinavian fashion weeks behind us there is a trend I think should be discussed. I don’t know how many press releases and interviews I have read where the inspiration and targeted group is the “strong and independent woman.”
What does this mean? Of course women are strong and independent! Maybe not every minute of every day, but really, who is?
The debate about feminism has long been a hot topic and we have pretty much seen it all when it comes to depressing devalued representations of women. But society is changing. Now, brands, designers and anyone with a voice can’t get enough of telling me how strong and powerful women are. We now experience a lot of “empowering women” rhetoric. If we just compare the SS17 Swedish and Danish fashion week with the AW17 one, you can see an increase in designers that make explicit statements about the “strong and independent women”. Don’t get me wrong, in many ways this is GREAT! But, I do have some concerns!
Damn I’m powerful when I’m wearing my pink dress with hearts on it.
First! Can we just agree that you can be powerful in whatever you wear. The editorials in countless magazines with the title “Powerful women” and its pictures of model after model wearing a suit and slicked hair is gorgeous – but also a bit cliché. You can be just as powerful wearing a dress or in your PJs with your morning slippers on. It’s not a progressive development to just refer to women as powerful, while wearing a suit which is still strongly seen as a male attribute.
Everyone is pretty much everything at some point
By using the phrase “independent” or “strong” or “empowered women” you’re indirectly saying that women really are NOT all of those things on an everyday basis. Why would you need to refer to a woman as strong? You never refer to men as strong or independent. It’s just “common knowledge” that they are.. Why put an epithet that refers to half of the worlds population? We are not all the same, and we don’t feel the same things, and we can not all be described with one quality. Looking at it from this perspective you could just as well refer to the woman as “the friendly woman,” or “the loud woman,” or “the woman that needs to pee,” because we are all those things at one point or another. Everyone, man or woman, are at some point strong or weak or loud, or need to pee, and maybe we don’t need to announce that.
Consume ourself to empowerment?
Another aspect to reflect upon is when the statement of “empowered women,” are becoming a trend factor. When the phrase is just shoved in a press release or printed on a shirt in order to be trendy or trying to feel “up to date”, it kind of loses its meaning. In this notion the movement of “Girl Power” is dangerously close to becoming just a profitable piece on the chessboard of capitalism. If the expression is just used as a sales-pitch or in a way to be seen as trendy, it will soon lose its core value, and the fact that we actually want to create change – not just turn into a ” GIRL POWER” product-making-profit-machine.
I can’t say if this movement in fashion, where designers as J.Lindeberg opens his show with a little speech about “how powerful women are and that they are the ones that should run the world”, is gonna be beneficial for the representation of women or not. Nor when Emelie Janrell presents her dresses with uterus prints at her AW17 show (although, personally I really liked that collection).
Maybe today’s society hasn’t come far enough in order to just look at people as individuals, everyone with strong and less strong qualities about them. Maybe for now, what we need is for everyone, with the power to influence, to refer to women as strong, empowered and independent until that becomes common knowledge.
With all this said – I’m not saying that anything is wrong or right! That’s not up to me to decide. But everything has pros and cons and, as an individual trying to position oneself in today’s society, it is important to remember that things have more than one side.
So for now – maybe we can just agree that everyone is strong and everyone is weak. And that, sooner or later, everyone needs to pee.
Photo credit: Lana Prins
Tags: emelie janrell, feminism, girl power
Linnea is a creative character from Sweden with a constant fashion fever. An energetic hurricane located in Stockholm. You can find her at various cafés, drinking coffee with way too much milk, sketching or just observing the social life around her.
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