Do My Fashion Choices Make Me A Bad Feminist?

Sláinte me loves!

I officially settled in in Ireland and I know this means “cheers” but this is beside the point. This week we had our feminism theme week, which had me very excited. I thought about all the different topics I could write about and to be fair the girls already got you covered with super interesting insights on their opinions about feminism in media, stereotypes against feminism or what it’s like being a feminist.

Now as you know, I am a Make Up and Fashion addict and I like to express myself through my clothes but I also strongly identify as a feminist. I believe in equality and that everyone has the right to live their life in whatever way they choose to, as long as it is not degrading or hurting anyone. At the same time, I enjoy dressing, what some people might consider, sexy or let’s just say I like tight dresses and heels.

Over the past couple of years I’ve grown from an awkward teenage girl into a kind of more confident but still pretty awkward 20-year-old and the older I got the more I identified as being a feminist but I also got more and more into fashion and make up. It just happens that people ,therefore, don’t take me seriously anymore, as a feminist and as a confident woman that has the right to be treated just the same as any man.

Does it make me a bad feminist if I enjoy wearing dresses and skirts?

To me, this is very similar to the whole rape culture topic and I loathe having to talk about it over and over again. But you know what? Why don’t I show you dresses that might be more appropriate for someone who identifies as a feminist, after all, this is a really tricky topic. You want to be seen as a serious woman and that of course depends immensely on your outer appearance as society has taught us.

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Maybe dress number one or two from Boohoo.com would be more suitable or the little black dress from tophsop? What makes them so incredibly feministic you may ask…well..nothing of course. My fashion choices do not determine if I identify as a feminist or not I also do not share the opinion that I am setting a bad example for others or that I am reducing my role as a woman to a sex object or a dumb doll. If you didn’t know already, I feel comfortable, I dress for myself

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found on tumblr

and if that is not a feminist thing to do, I don’t know what is.
It is this concept that people have in their minds of women in dresses or skirts, who cannot be taken seriously because after all, little girls like dresses, princesses wear dresses. Why on earth can’t I feel like a princess and at the same time believe in feminism, why can’t I stand up for equal rights in that dress. If I’m standing up for my rights then I want to look the part, so I will for sure rock that bodycon dress that accentuates my curves and that I feel comfortable in. It is then society, that has to change their way of perceiving feminists and women. Same goes for Make Up:

Am I less of a feminist if I enjoy wearing Make Up?

 

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found on tumblr as well

To be honest, I do struggle with this question as well as the clothing question. The beauty industry makes money off womens insecurities, kind of, and that does not really sound too feministic. On the other hand I strongly believe in the concept of us being stronger when we have the chance to truly be ourselves and discover all facettes of our being. It makes us better humans and to me personally make up plays a big part in this. It gives me the chance to make myself feel beautiful not for anyone else but for me. That is very feministic indeed and therefore I doubt anyone could ever say that just because I like to dress up and put on some fierce looking lipstick, I am less confident and cannot be a feminist.

 

My point is: Society and men like to make girls, that identify as feminists, believe they now have to give away all their clothes for charity, curse every make up tutorial ever created or let their eyebrows turn into a wild rainforest. In my opinion you should not feel like this. What matters are your believes and that you stand up for them and if you like to do that in jeans, chucks and a charity shirt, in a tennis skirt, polo shirt and boat shoes or in heels and a cocktail dress should not matter to anyone. Therefore, we as feminists also have to make sure to let people know that wearing Make Up does not determine the level of how much we are involved in feminism. We should feel free to experiment and we should always feel confident, especially as feminists.

Have you encountered any situations in which your clothes or your Make Up were used to make a point against you being a feminist? Let me know by tweeting us or messaging us on instagram, of course you can also leave a comment.

Lili xx

Twitter: @castaway_minds

Instagram: @castawayminds

 

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Body Positivity Week: My experience with the Fashion Industry and Body Image

Good day you special Unicorn,

How are you? Qué Tal? Wie geht’s? Sava? I bet I wrote the french one wrong but who cares, am I right? This week is body positivity week, a theme week that I’m quite excited about as I think that there’s way too little done about the fact that most people don’t feel confident in their own skin. Which is, if you think about pretty damn sad because that skin you live in? Well it protects you from all the bacteria and germs in the air, it keeps your body functioning and if that’s not similar to a small wonderland then I’m not sure what is.
With my focus on this blog being on fashion and lifestyle I might have it a bit easier as you are all probably aware of the way our bodies are portrayed the wrong way in fashion and media.
Therefore, I’d like to talk a bit about my experience with body image and fashion.
But first, let’s cover some facts or general knowledge, whatever you want to call it. Just a quick disclaimer: In High School I held a presentation about Bulimia and Anorexia for psychology class, so if I can’t source anything, that’s because it’s been inside of my head for quite a while. Another disclaimer: I can’t promise that this Blog entry won’t be a trigger to some of you, so please if you’re not comfortable with topics such as body issues, eating disorders and the like, then be prepared. I linked eating disorder helplines at the end of this blog so feel free to scroll all the way down 🙂

Just as a start I want to point out that, according to the „National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders“ at least 30 Million (!) people in the world suffer from some kinds of eating disorder (that includes Anorexia, Bulimia, certain binge eating disorders and obesity). Just let that sink in. 30 Million! If I’ve done my math correctly that’s 0.42% (I didn’t do the math I asked google, I mean I’m almost failing statistics 1…) and that might not sound a lot, but of all people? In that scale it does sound a whole lot.
Now I’m not saying that the fashion industry is responsible for destroying the body image of all these 30 Million people, you have to consider that there are so many reasons why someone can develop an eating disorder, but I will say that the fashion industry does play a huge part in how people, especially women (although the number of men who suffer from an ED is growing), perceive their bodies.
Now back to me, as I think it is easier to explain how I feel about the fashion industry and body image, as facts might be all fun and games but in the end you need someone you can relate to right? So I’ll try and be as honest as I can, without invading my privacy and without triggering any negativity, because after all I want to make clear that a change needs to happen and that after all we’re all diverse and all different because that’s just the fucking beauty of life! Don’t fight me on that one.

Since I was little, fashion and looking „pretty“ has always fascinated me. My mums’ uncle was a photographer and I grew up with seeing beautiful portfolio shots of her all around the house. My mum was quite the babe. She had millions of shoes and bags and loads of jewelry so I would of course sneak up into the bedroom and try on the most expensive necklaces I could find until she found out and well…gave me one of the necklaces as a present.
When I went into kindergarten my mum laid a huge emphasize on me dressing nicely and I found a liking to it. I will admit I was quite the tomboy but when it came to fashion I loved to experiment. One of my it-pieces were bright orange dungarees paired with a long sleeve in a super neon turquoise and a seahorse family on it. You see, my fashion sense has never been better.

As I grew up I loved looking at magazines and was just fascinated with all the fabrics and colors but then when I got to the age of 10 or 11 my focus went from the clothes to the models wearing the clothes. Somehow their hair looked always shinier than mine and their lips looked always a bit fuller. But instead of envying them I started to idolize them. I crafted collages out of advertisements I found and hung them up in my room, waking up every day to the sight of some model smiling at me or giving me that mysterious look.
Then with 13 I found a book series called „The Clique“ that I loved, I adored and I binge read. It was about a clique of 4 (later 5) girls, who all grow up in very priviledged surroundings in the Hamptons.

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“The Pretty Committee” in their amazing designer clothes Source

Nothing special about that you may think, but oh no, those girls were known as „The Pretty Committee“, yup that’s correct. I bet many of you know about those books. They were always dressed in the newest designer clothes and reading about them dressing in Alice and Olivia or Ralph Lauren sparked my fascination with brands. Not only did they all wear those brands they also rated their outfits on a scale from 1 to 10. As all the girls I was friends with started reading the books and since they also had a movie coming out we started to rate our outfits as well. For a quite a while even. Every morning in school we’d look at our outfits and getting less than an 8.5 was a no-go. That’s basically when my obsession about my body really started. My friends always compared me to Alicia Rivera, the Latina of the clique with big boobs and that all the boys wanted. But to be honest my boobs were non existent and the only boy I ever really talked to was my brother or my dad. I did feel quite lucky though, when Alicia Rivera in the movie was cast as a girl my age, the other girls however, despite being around 12 in the book were portrayed by 15, 16 year old girls, who wore these amazing designer clothes and no matter what always looked flawless in them.
So to compete I soon started reading magazines like Glamour or Cosmopolitan, yes, also Teen Vogue but still, as a 13 year old? I think that’s way too early. I was just obsessed with the glamour that surrounded the fashion industry, everyone was pretty, everyone always looked good.
Don’t even get me started about the Victorias Secret Fashion Show that I also started watching at 14, if you ask me a really vulnerable state for a Teenage girl. My parents never really worried because well, I always played it off as a phase of me wanting to become a fashion designer, so duh! I had to know what was going on in the fashion industry.
What no one ever told me? That Photoshop existed, I do know now and I slowly start to realize that all these years I was basically brainwashed by the fashion industry.
I know that a change is being made, as more curvy models are used for advertisements but we’re still a long way from accepting every body type as the norm in this industry.

A 13 or 14 year old girl doesn’t look beyond the picture, at least I didn’t really. Well maybe I did but I shrugged it off and to me it was like, if you want to look like this you have to fucking work for it, and if you’re failing to look like this it’s your own fault. If they can look like this, you can as well. So of course I also wanted to wear the clothes they wore, but with 14 wearing something a 20 year old model is wearing, well of course it would look ridiculous.
Additionally I never thought about that it’s their job to look like this, they’re being paid for it. A VS model has a whole team supporting her to reach that body she needs to walk the show. Ignoring the fact that I am too small anyway, I never thought that I didn’t need to look like this cause it’s not my job after all. It’s just that no one ever told me.
I’m not blaming my parents for this cause they always tried to raise me as a self confident young girl and they always told me they loved me, but as a teenager you just don’t take this too seriously.
So when social media started to become big, I did check out those Pro Mia, Pro Ana and thinspo instagrams and tumblrs. I never understood why certain clothes didn’t look good on me and I blamed it on my body shape. I won’t go into detail but I needed some time to come to terms with my body and that my metabolism just works differently than the one of others. That my body is okay the way it is and that it has always been that way and that I cannot force it to change with drastic measures. That I need to learn to love my body and react to what my body thinks is good for me. That not every piece of clothing will look good on me because everybody is different. Therefore I needed some time to find out what suits me and what not but now I actually know pretty well what I can pull off and what not without hiding me or my body or changing my personality, because after all fashion is about having fun and experimenting, not about following the trends to look like the models in the magazine.

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Source: Pinterest

I’m still a long long way from getting that perfectionist mindset out of my brain but I hope someday I’ll look into the mirror and be proud of my thighs touching, be proud that my boobs are a bit smaller, be proud that I have a big butt (and I cannot lie, you other brothers can’t deny…:D) and be proud that my body is functioning just right, that I can run up a hill without collapsing that I can pull off that bodycon dress cause it hugs my curves just right.
And whatever body shape you may have, there’s always something out there to wear for you, you don’t need to look like one of those models to look good in it. Just learn how to dress right for your body type and hopefully the rest will just come with it.
I am proud of you for being yourself, if you ever need someone to talk to please know that you can message us on our social media all day, every day.
Spread positivity and support people around you!
Loads and loads of love and positivity,
Lili xxx

Eating Disorder support and help:

US:
ANAD treating center partners
ANAD help and crisis line
Eating Disorder Hope Crisis and help line

Germany:
Beratungsangebote für Essstörungen von der BzgA

UK:
Eating Disorder Support
Beating Eating Disorders Helpline, separate ones for Adults and Teenagers

Australia:
National Eating Disorder Collaborations helpline

Canada:
Nedic helpline

International helplines

Castaway Minds Social Media:
Twitter: @castaway_minds
Instagram: @castawayminds

 

Featured Image: source

 

Jenny’s Body positivity

This week is our first theme week ever. Every now and then we want to dedicate one week to a certain topic, this week it’s about body positivity.

I wanted to start with explaining what body positivity is. So I googled it and the urban dictionary defines it as: “Accepting your body as it is and attempting to make everyone else feel comfortable in their own skin as well“. Well, easier said than done, isn’t it?

I started to do some research on this topic to really know what I’m writing about and get a better idea about everything and I landed on the heart of leadership Website. There they got a site full of facts/statistics on body image, self-esteem and parental influence. There they wrote that over 90% of girl at the age between 15 and 17 would like to change something of their physical appearance. Could we all please take a step back and think about that. Less then 10% of girls between 15 and 17 are happy with their physical appearance. I don’t think I need to address that’s basically nothing. Going along that 80% of girls at the age of 10 have already dieted. 90% of high school junior and seniors girls diet regularly. Teen girls are less afraid of nuclear war, cancer or losing their parents than of becoming fat. 13% of girls at the age of 15 to 17 acknowledge having an eating disorder

and nearly a quarter of girls that age would consider undergoing plastic surgery. 7 in 10 girls also believe that they’re not good enough or do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationship.

I guess all of the facts speak for themselves and I basically don’t want to analyse them because everybody got their own opinion on why it is it like this and if they think its right.

But body positivity is about feeling comfortable in your body and I guess I can write down my opinion in that.

I don’t want to say that I’m perfect and I’m one of the 10% that is happy with their body, but I wish I would. Since I’m little I always struggled with my look and with body confidence and acceptance, so maybe I’m not the best person to write about this topic, but I want you guys to learn from my mistakes.

Think back to when you were a little kid. When you played in the sandbox without thinking about anything beside of the fact that you wanted that sand toy that your sibling has. And when another child came up to you and wanted to play with you, what did you think about? Right, maybe what toys they’ve got. Now think about yourself now, you sitting at a Café waiting for your friend to arrive. A person asks to sit next to you and wants to start a conversation. What do you think about the person now? I bet 99% would answer about how the person looks like and certainly the majority would decide if the person could sit with them basing on their looks. But why has this changed so much? Well, because we constantly surrounded by perfect people in the media, advertisement, films and basically everywhere we go. We compare each other to famous people or even to the people around us. No matter where we go, we always want to look good. I’m no different.

A lot of times my friends tell me to shut up when I start complaining about how I would like to look like or about my newest diet plans. Well, deep down I know they’re right. We all don’t need to look like Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid because what would the world look like if we all would look exactly like them? Pretty lame I would say. The diversity we all got, makes us us. When I think about, when I think of like these people I always think about one special feature they got, and I bet every person of us got his one special feature. Somebody like the perfect person isn’t existing. And if you haven’t known it already but it isn’t physical possible to have a body of the measurements of 90x60x90. It wouldn’t even be possible to stand up, let alone to walk.

So, back to the one feature I was starting to talk about. We all got that one special feature that another person would like to have. Some people would like to have your eyes, or your mouth, or your hair, or your long legs, or the shape of your legs, or all you other body parts. I guess there is no person who is the perfect person and if you even think that Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid is perfect, I can tell you they aren’t. They also got a body part they would like to have from somebody else. You also have to remind you that they got personal trainers, stylists, make-up artists and people who edit their photos from photo shoots. So of course they look better than me when I’ve just woken up and scroll through Instagram and I see a picture of them and comparing it to how I look at the exact moment.

I think we all need to be more aware of that. We don’t need to be perfect to feel secure and comfortable in our body. We all got that one body and we need to work with that.

You’ve got that one special feature and you should make this one stand out, because people will look at this one and they won’t see your feet you’re not happy with, or your knees or your ears which you’ve hidden behind your hair.

And aren’t making these little imperfections everybody perfect?

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve got a day that I feel not like myself and I could need a bit of a confident boost, I’ve always listen to a few certain songs that makes me remind that I’m perfect the way I am and I don’t need to hate on my body. So the other girls and I created a playlist on our Spotify of songs we like to listen to. If you want go and check it out! 🙂

So, I’ve got one task for you now: go to your mirror and find the one feature you like the most about yourself. And then try and think about how you can make stand out that feature tomorrow and do so. You see you will feel especially confident tomorrow when you remind yourself throughout the day that you’ve got that one special feature that nobody else got! 🙂

Lots of love,

Jenny xxx

Picture Source