May 7th, 2017, 11:47 PM

Feminism Has Become the Superficial Fashion Trend of the Decade

By Sabrina Aguirre
Even Dior has joined the feminist movement with a white tee that reads “We Should All Be Feminists”.

Today everyone, it seems, is a feminist. Practically every female pop icon, actress, and model has proclaimed herself to be a feminist. 

Once a movement dedicated to improving the lives of women of all shapes, colors, and sizes, feminism has gone commercial — and upmarket. Indeed, feminism today is more a fashion statement than a political cause pursuing equality for women. Just ask Dior. For its Spring 2017 collection, Dior joined the feminist movement with a white tee that reads “We Should All Be Feminists”.

Going mainstream has meant that feminism is now banal and non-threatening. Yet feminism has become so non-threatening that even the fashion industry uses the movement to boost sales, printing millions of white tees and handbags with slogans like “The Future Is Female” and “Feminist as Fuck." The ambiguity of the label itself has become so obscured that it is easy for anyone to claim it.

The commercialization of feminism, in my opinion, is detrimental to the entire movement. Feminism has abandoned its core values and transformed into something that can be defined and customized differently by each woman, depending on her purpose. When women define what feminism means to them, they tend to forget it's about equality for all women. They are focus on themselves. It has become like buying a luxury T-shirt.

Dior's “We Should All Be Feminists” tee, incidentally, cost $710 — and is currently sold out. It was only after receiving criticism, however, that Dior made the decision for an unspecified percentage of proceeds to go to the Clara Lionel Foundation, Rhianna's non-profit organization. Bernard Arnault, the French billionaire whose LVMH luxury giant owns Dior, will be the primary beneficiary from the sales. Yet girls don’t seem bothered by this and flock to buy their feminist tees because, hey, they’re cute and make a great pic.

As feminism is spun by celebrities, CEOs, and beauty companies into self-serving brands driven by glossy marketing strategies, young people have followed the trend towards focusing on the superficial.  have also adopted their own take on feminism. However, the center of the conversation has turned from subjects like the wage gap to the politics of bikini waxing and how women need to “Free the Nipple.”

 

Often, feminist youth label such acts as “empowering.” I have difficulty understanding what is empowering when a gender pay gap still exists; when women have to work harder to prove themselves to achieve top positions; when domestic violence is still tolerated in certain cultures; and when women still have to fight for proper paid family leave and child care in developed nations like the US. If feminism has become so popular, why are we still fighting the battles for gender equality? What have the celebrities done to change this? In the search for universality, feminism has clearly lost its fundamental purpose.

All the hype and celebrity endorsements surrounding universal feminism do not represent the critical issues women face every day. The media has shaped mainstream feminism, undermining the fundamental purpose of feminism and ignoring the realities of working women, poor women, rural women, whose voices are not heard, and who live outside the cultured metropolitan areas where mainstream feminists live. Sadly, the voice of feminism has become a link on social media, an article in Huffington Post, a brand or celebrity trying to sell a product or support a movement. Feminism has become not so much anymore about seeking equality, but more about self-empowerment and personal gain.