This is what a feminist looks like–literally.
This past summer I decided to try a little wardrobe challenge: wear a feminist t-shirt every day for seven days in a row.
Luckily, I happen to actually own seven feminist shirts (yay no repeats!). My biggest worry about this challenge was wearing these outfits to work–wearing a band tshirt to the office felt like one thing, but wearing my political and philosophical beliefs on my sleeve 9-5 seemed like an entirely different affair.
There was some strategy for this–I was careful to wear my more wild shirts for the weekends, like the VDAY tank I wore on the first day of the challenge (see first picture above).
I had actually been planning to do this challenge for a while, but was waiting for a stretch of warm, sunny weather–it would have to happen during the summer. My rationale here was I wanted people to actually see my shirts. If I had done the challenge during colder months, I would probably cover up the shirts with sweaters and cardigans in effort to stay warm, which rather defeats the purpose. Plus, practically speaking, its wayyyyy easier to take outfit pics when its not freezing outside.
I admit, I was a little nervous about how people would react in my day-to-day life. I’m happy to report though that absolutely nothing bad happened at all. Nobody even questioned me (“soooo feminism, eh?”). I get tired of answering the “why feminism?” question, so largely, I just don’t do that anymore–I leave that up to my allies. Wearing the shirts was a quick, easy way to signal (as if its not already obvious) ‘hey I’m a feminist’.
I’m assuming that no one talked to me about my shirts for a few reasons:
- I’m always dressed up. Wearing a colourful outfit and fun tshirt that happens to be relevant to feminism really doesn’t change my general wardrobe aesthetic
- They couldn’t be bothered–in talking to me, it’s obvious I’m a feminist–what difference does it make if I have a shirt on that declares it? It’s like wearing a religious jewellery, like a cross necklace. It indicates part of your identity, but most people aren’t going to bother to ask you about it.
- The privileges I enjoy (visibly mixed race, thin, cisgendered, etc) tend to effectively guard against any particularly invasive questions with regards to my wardrobe
Since all was fine, I’m thinking I will do it again this summer (different outfits, naturally). If I’m being honest, I only actually enjoy wearing a few of these shirts–the others are uncomfortable, don’t fit right, etc–specific notes below.
- I Love <3 My Vagina tank – got this at an actual Vagina Monologues performance years ago, so I can’t offer any current purchase details. I looove this tank top, fits so nicely. Wear it often as a pajama top.
- Women In History tshirt – I love this tshirt! I especially love how diverse it is, and where else would you see these women being honoured in such a fashion? You can buy it here, but they only ship within the US (boooo!)–I was only able to get mine via my girl ST who lives in the states right now. I will say though–it fits really long and covers my butt which is kinda annoying
- …And I’m Not Sorry tank- this one was made for me by my sister-in-law! I love it, and wear it often on the weekends (the super-thin straps make it a little unprofesh for work and necessitates layering). It’s about taking up space and not being sorry of course.
- Women Belong In the House…of Commons! tshirt – I’ve had this one for years, and while I think the graphic is clever/awesome, I hate the fit–its that thick, ribbed cotton tshirt material that bags easily after too many washes.
- feminism tshirt – While I love the simplicity of the statement, this shirt also fits poorly–too small, so its rather uncomfortable. Also, it says ‘humanism’ on the back which I didn’t picture because I don’t like that aspect of the tshirt–I’m a feminist, and don’t identify with humanism.
- Feminism tshirt – This one is so comfy, plus I really like it because it is made by Only Child Apparel, which is a local, Vancouver-based line!!! Also, this was probably my favourite outfit of the week.
- got consent? tank – This one, like shirt #4 is that unfortunate fabric. Also, it has shrunk over the years so it doesn’t fit well–neckline is too high for my taste, and its short on my torso. I got this while I was at UBC while I was working for the campus sexual assault support centre, but it looks like they are no longer for purchase.