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Is there a meeting ground for fashion and feminism?

Fashionable Feminism

I had attended a panel discussion on “Fashion and Feminism—Navigating a Knotty Terrain” held on the sidelines of the India Fashion Week 2016 at the Godrej India Culture Lab in Mumbai. I know as much about fashion as my Doraemon-obsessed two-year-old niece. I am one of those sceptics whom the moderator of the panel discussion aptly described as people who think the clubbing together of “feminism” and “fashion” is the intellectual equivalent of the coming together of “malpua (small pancake) and “nuclear disarmament.” She explained that for some sceptics feminism is equivalent to nuclear disarmament, while for others feminism is akin to malpua. Personally, I think the uttering of malpua and feminism in the same breath can only be the result of you breaking off mid-sentence while rattling on about third wave feminism to order yourself a malpua. Having said that, I was greatly intrigued by the prospect of hearing and watching the panellists attempt to navigate this admittedly “knotty terrain.”

I came away from the talk with my mind tingling with observations. Some of them I want to share here so I can unpack what I understand to be the nexus between the fashion industry and “choice feminism” (a term that was first used by Linda Hirshman to describe the tendency to reduce feminism to the ability of individual women to make different choices in their lives without critically examining them), promoting blatant individualism and badly cloaked consumerism.

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Updated On : 24th Mar, 2017

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