The Problem With T-Shirt Feminism

The Problem With T-Shirt Feminism

A recent trend in armchair activism is making people think they're doing a lot more than they actually are.

"This is what a feminist looks like," "Feminism: the radical notion that women are people," GRL PWR." I've seen these on t-shirts, pins, tote bags, hats, bumper stickers, etc. There's absolutely nothing wrong with showing the world that you're a feminist, in fact, I encourage it, but there's been a recent surge in feminist apparel tied to the mindset that wearing a t-shirt with the dictionary definition of feminism is the same thing as activism. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for those who promote women's rights, but armchair activism is not true activism, and buying an enamel pin is not the same as donating to Planned Parenthood.

Feminist t-shirts rock. In fact, I own three of them. One is from a school organization, one is from the time I worked with the Hillary Clinton campaign, and one is from the Newseum. So the Newseum tee with the Margaret Thatcher quote didn't exactly save the day, but it highlights my own initial naiveté and need to work on conscious spending. Awareness is a step in the right direction.

Maybe instead of buying the graphic tee from Forever 21, check out Feminist Apparel, who support local artists and donate proceeds from certain lines to three different organizations that empower women. The large retailer may be cheaper, or more convenient, but ironically, it's most likely made by women in sweat shops. It sounds harsh, but true feminism is standing up for all women.

It's not entirely the shopper's fault, clothing brands are co-opting feminism for sales, the idea has become a commodity in such businesses. H&M, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, all profit from feminist clothing and accessories whilst taking advantage of cheap, unethical labor or "fast fashion."

For instance, when the "Nasty Woman" t-shirt trend surfaced during the election, more and more people began selling their own version, and it was hard for me to find a shirt whose proceeds actually benefited the campaign or any other women's organization. It would have been so easy to make my own shirt or buy the first one I found, but if I was going to wear the shirt I wanted to be all in. Samantha Bee, host of "Full Frontal", made her own limited edition "Nasty Woman" shirt whose proceeds 100% benefited Planned Parenthood. Bingo.

I understand that it's not easily accessible for everyone, but if one is going to buy a feminist t-shirt they should do so with the best intentions; seek out brands that are against fast fashion and actually benefit women. Or, if the "girls just wanna have fun-damental rights" shirt from someone's Etsy shop is too cute to resist, consider setting aside a day to volunteer or donate supplies/money to a women's shelter or an international organization. Simply wearing a feminist t-shirt is not hypocrisy, it's promotion for a good cause, but we are easily swept up in trends and must not forget what we are fighting for.

Make 2017 a year of giving after so much was lost in 2016.

Cover Image Credit: Elysse Vernon

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I Don't Refrigerate My Ketchup And Neither Should YOu

No this isn't really an article about ketchup

DISCLAIMER: If you expect to read an entire article about a bottle of Heinz, you are about to be severely let down.

You read the title right, I, nor does my family, refrigerate their ketchup bottles. It always kind of had to do with the concept of not liking col Look it up people! Contrary to popular belief, a ketchup bottle is not required to be refrigerated. Just think about all those room temperature bottles sitting on the tables of restaurants legitimately EVERYWHERE. So you may think I'm a weirdo (I mean, in part, you're not wrong), but to each their own. Maybe I do things a little differently, but just because it isn't your way, doesn't mean it's wrong. That doesn't mean you shouldn't carve your own path.

We hear it time and time again; you can be anything you want to be, as long as we work hard to get there. We'll even hear that it may be difficult to get there, but sometimes we aren't clued into the concept that the destination we strive to reach may not have a path associated with it yet. Perhaps it is you who has to create it. A linear path is boring, so go explore, go design, go make the most of this world. In doing so, you are shaping yourself and your own character, your own identity. If we followed the same path as the person before us, we would be stripping ourselves of innovation. In short, we'd be really freaking boring.

Why are we so quick to follow the leader? Why do we take the shortcuts? Why don't we trust ourselves in discovering some really amazing things in this life? I invite you to take a step out of your comfort zone and see this world from a different vantage point. I encourage you to trust your gut and go after what you've had your eye on for all this time. I applaud you for knowing that any journey will take time and great effort and that what you put in is what you get out, but that has not seemed to stop you yet. Along the way, you may turn heads; people may question your motives, some may be envious of your courage, but whatever you do, do not second guess the fact that you are not a sheep in the herd. You are leading the way to so much more.

Attached to this is appreciating that other people are carving their own paths as well, that we cannot get everyone to be on board with our ideas. In attempting to do so, I'd absolutely be dispelling what I've written about sticking to your guns for the past three paragraphs. So yes, there are a million ways to get from Point A to Point B. Some may seem practical, some may seem longwinded, some may require creativity, and some may be difficult to envision, but each invites us to take on a new perspective, to see life through a different lens. This breeds the opportunity to learn from human beings, see what sets their heart aflame. This is where we take a step back from our routines and our sense of normalcy and see the world through the eyes of someone else. This is where we master the art of compromise, put away our stubbornness for awhile and see how two ideas can merge together to create another innovative opportunity.

In my short 22 years, I learned early that if my options are slim, I can create my own. If my values are not matched with the world I am surrounded by, make a change. If my path and your path cross over and we don't get along, tell me about it, so I can learn and gain more understanding for this big, vast, place we live in. So really, try this whole ketchup thing. Be your own person. Don't be afraid to slip away from these hypothetical standards that we hold ourselves to. Set yourself a part and go after whatever it is you've been eyeing. You'll only be mad at yourself if you don't. And on the real, try not refrigerating your ketchup, it really is quite liberating.

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Time's Up: #WhyWeWearBlack

What to Know About the Movement

One in 3 women ages 18-34 have been sexually harassed at work. 71% of those women said they did not report it. #TimesUp

Nearly 1/2 of men think women are well represented in leadership roles and 1/3 of women think women are well represented in leadership roles. The reality is, only 1 in 10 senior leaders are women. #TimesUp

Exploitation is higher among those working low-wage service jobs. When the federal minimum wage is raised, sexual assault + harassment gets cut in half. #TimesUp

The 75th Golden Globes red carpet was less red than it was black. Both women and men attended the awards in black to protest the sexual misconduct happening in Hollywood. Brought up by the allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, there have been many allegations of sexual harassment and assault against men in Hollywood and other industries.

The movement was created by the new organization Time's Up, an initiative to eradicate sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace along with the creation of a legal defense fund. The group has raised over $15 million already for the fund, and the number is only increasing.

Time's Up also supplied pins to be worn on the red carpet and almost every attendee showed up in black. The organization's open letter, with the support of over 300 actors, actresses, directors, writers, producers, etc was released January 1st and is now on their website.

There has been a lot of talk of controversy over the movement and the way they chose to go about it. The goal of wearing black was more than ruining the best-dressed competition as talk of the pre-show is often about the dresses, jewelry, and hairstyles.

The goal was to take this talk and steer it towards the movement's agenda; to create equality for everyone in the workplace. Many women spoke about their personal reasons and experiences that impacted their choice to wear black to the awards.

The timing is also notable. As of January 1st, it has been exactly a year since the historic women's marches took place.

#WhyWeWearBlack has been talked about both controversially and in positive light, and this was ultimately the overall goal of the movement, to get society talking about the sexual abuse happening in the workplace and we need to make a change. Time's Up is only the beginning, and this demonstration was a huge step in the #Metoo movement as well as a large victory for feminists overall.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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