There has been a recent trend in fashion that has been all too easy to mock and dismiss: men and women have been wearing their fourth-wave feminist credentials on their T-shirts. T-shirts with feminist slogans have been sold they have even made it to the Paris fashion week schedule. Fashion and feminism don’t always get along, which is precisely why what’s happening right now is significant. When women on protest marches are wearing the same feminist-slogan T-shirts as models on the Paris catwalks, we have, what we call at fashion week, a moment.
“Making feminism a universal pursuit might look like a good thing,” author Jessa Crispin writes, “but in truth it progresses, and I think accelerates, a process that has been detrimental to the feminist movement.”
Crispin has written a polemic titled Why I am Not a Feminist, in which she laments the banality of contemporary feminism. Her thesis is simple enough: At some point, feminism lost its political moorings; it became vapid and toothless in its quest for universality. Feminism became a catch-all term for self-empowerment, for individual achievement.
Feminists, she believes, forsook their values for the sake of assimilation, which is another way of saying they were co-opted by the system they once rejected.