I am often baffled when I am asked, “How is it that you can be a feminist and be interested in fashion?” To that I respond, “How can I not be one?”
Many people think of fashion as trivial. At times, I, too, become frustrated when I read magazines telling me how I NEED to dress if I want to be considered stylish— I find that writing style too narrow. But still, fashion isn’t trivial at all.
Fashion isn’t just about the visceral pleasure I get from wearing pins I found at garage sales or a Mod Squad dress I won in a bidding war on eBay. Rather, I look at fashion with an anthropological lens: race, religion, and gender, are all important components to this multi-billion dollar industry. So, in that way, I think it’s hard to dissociate feminism from fashion. The fact that I put a lot of thought into what I put on my body and examine what others choose to put on their own shouldn’t belittle my stance that women deserve the same rights as men.
Jenn Rubin, a student pursuing a Masters degree in Humanities and Women’s Studies believes that “wearing the change,” is one way to change the stigma. After listening to and partaking in some controversial discussions in her graduate program about the place of women in the media, Jenn was inspired to become an activist and began printing pro-feminist t-shirts as her vehicle. “JRScience,” Jenn’s online Etsy shop (named after her thesis which looks at women in science fiction) is filled with controversial juxtapositions of different statements on tee shirts. Jenn’s first creation she printed was History/ Herstory, as much of the world’s accounts of history have been by men. Other slogans include “Jesus Loves A Feminist” and “Woman President,” ideas that should be commonplace but obviously are not. However, the shirts are meant to empower; they come in an array of colors and are generally printed on neutral fitted styles, so that not only can men can wear them but they can also join the conversation.
Jenn’s most recent t-shirt slogan for sale is “Vagina Can’t Say It,” in response to the censoring on the house floor of Michigan D-Rep., Lisa Brown, who used the word “vagina,” when speaking on behalf of abortion rights. Then Jenn wore the shirt proudly to a protest on the Capitol Hill lawn in support of women’s rights. So, if you want to speak your mind on feminist issues through your dress, check out the rest of the JRScience merchandise here.
Images courtesy of Jenn Rubin from JRScience on Etsy