Pink, fluffy and totally feminist
by Laura Pedersen
The pink cashmere sweater has the unfortunate responsibility of typifying my understanding of the word 'feminine'. Up until recently, I saddled this article of clothing with conveying what pearls, pumps, and pantyhose manage to do just as well. This sweater I imagined to be some subtly form-fitted article, perhaps with rhinestone buttons, gracing the front of an hourglass cut of cotton candy fuzz. For a while, the poor thing was also subject to my deep derision. Feminist shouldn't garb themselves in frivolity, I reasoned. If you're going out in the world to battle stereotypes, wear something that reflects the power-woman image you're crusading for; at the very least, an androgynous t-shirt, power pants, and a Rosie the Riveter bandanna.
Some deeper reflection, though, has brought me to a place of reconciliation with the pink cashmere sweater.
The feminist movement, the feminism for which I work, calls for a society in which neither the sucrose sweater nor the power suit is considered the proper uniform of a lady. The feminist movement for which I work means that a woman wearing a pink cashmere sweater is taken just as seriously as a woman with Hilary's wardrobe.
Clothing will always be read as a representation of the wearer. Feminism wants to be sure that feminine garb is not assumed to represent weak or undesirable qualities in the wearer. It's not about living in androgyny (which looks suspiciously like the male wardrobe, actually: pants, t-shirt, sneakers), but living respectfully with the differences.
I plan to swear my own pink sweater with pride.