Geraldine Wharry: The Empowered Woman
Across generations, the new wave of feminism is ushering in a radical approach to how women's bodies are perceived and treated in different societies, the limitations that were placed on them and breaking free in 2016 and beyond.
This is an important movement to be reckoned with and it is going mainstream, like it or not, however uncomfortable it may make people. It is a strong emerging trend we have been reporting about at the studio, if you have read our previous report "Girl Gang".
To start with, we look at Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu’s and her SS17 punk feminist collection, inspired by the ways societies across the world have viewed women. She says (as quoted from Another Magazine) “It’s about celebrating the women’s body through different periods and cultures, whether it’s in Elizabethan England, the Middle East or Mexican gangs.”
In a more activist and don't mess with me approach, Pussy riot's video ‘Straight Outta Vagina’ is a lyrical retort to USA future president Donald Trump and his claim that when he meets beautiful women he “grabs them by the pussy”. The song is about female sexuality being something much bigger, greater, stronger than any political megalomaniac. Tolokonnikova says the spread of “patriarchal and misogynist ideas” is like a sexually transmitted disease. “Politicians are praising ‘strong leadership’. Trump openly supports the authoritarian methods of Vladimir Putin. And it’s scary. It’s not the world in which I want to live.”
In another movement echoing the rise of the empowered woman, Monki has successfully launched their campaign "Periods are cool" speaking to their younger customer's new wave feminism convictions. The goal is to end the shame associated with periods and whom better to represent this than Kiran Gandhi, the musician and activist who ran the 2015 London Marathon while on her period, bleeding freely. She chose to run with period blood clearly showing on her runner’s tights as a statement and to fight against the stigma of periods as a part of sexism around the world.
More recently the Swedish songstress Tove Lo wore a sheer orange dress featuring an embroidered Fallopian Tube at the Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards. She explained the pattern is “a vagina, or a p***y… whatever you want to call it”, adding: “My Swedish stylist who calls himself Crap Diem, he asked if he could make me a dress and I was like, yeah, whatever you make, I’m in.”
In a "cute" but nonetheless equally subversive interpretation, the Not Made in China "Vachina" takes the concept of using the vagina as a handy purse. ‘The response has been insane,’ says designer Bec. ‘It has been really positive and as one lady said to me “men get to be proud of their willies, why can’t women be proud of their vaginas?” And I think that’s an excellent point.’
Keep an eye out for the rise of pubic hair grooming products such as the "Bush Oil" by the Natural Spa Factory. As well as period underwear allowing pad free wearers to feel 'free'. SheThinx has developed a fabric absorbent technology, we need not say more. Proceeds go to helping women in impoverished countries, as do We are happy Period, supplying menstrual hygiene kits for the underprivileged.
By Geraldine Wharry | Research contribution: Sabina Samekova
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