What is Feminism?
Unfortunately, a lot of people confuse the concept and ideology of feminism with a perception which is ugly, misconstrued and certainly doesn’t reflect the beliefs and ideas of most individuals who consider themselves to be feminist.
There are a wide number of common misconceptions about feminism, and so I thought it was time to recognise and then dispel some of these. Shoes by Shaherazad is based on the concept of empowering women and so it seems like the right time to share some of the things I've heard about feminism.
Feminists Can’t Be Fashionable
There’s an odd notion out there in the scary big wide world that if you are a feminist, then you are completely against fashion, which is of course nonsense. This idea seems to stem from a mis-founded idea about feminism. This is that female fashion is solely based around the idea of making women attractive to the opposite sex. While there is no doubt that some types of women’s fashion are designed with men in mind, it is hardly ever the actual goal.
Fashionable clothing can be empowering, sexy and revealing or conservative and classy. Some fashionable items are able to tick all these boxes at the same time and feminists are not typically opposed to women choosing on trend and fashionable items. And if a woman chooses to wear clothing with the aim of attracting the male gaze, then that is her choice and therefore feminist in itself.
I also hope that when women buy my heels that they feel they are investing in a luxury piece of fashion which will bring them many years of happiness. My brand is about empowering women and helping them to stand tall with poise, grace and elegance. And what better way to do that than in fashionable any elegant heels?
Feminists Hate Sexy Clothing
Some people think that feminists are against women wearing sexy or revealing clothing and hate women that do. Again, this is not true, and if you are a feminist, you believe that women should be able to wear whatever they like. There are no boundaries on how you can dress and what you can wear as a feminist, so long as it is driven by your own personal choice and doesn't offend or hurt others.
The beautiful lady in the photo below looks amazing. She is also an empowered parent and solicitor who took the time to kindly model her 18 hour heels for me. Feminism is about being real. That's why all the women in my photography are "real" in the sense that they are normal women who have not been photoshopped.
Feminists Never Wear Hijab
So not true. Whilst it is a sad fact that some women are forced to cover up by family members and communities, many women the world over choose to wear a headscarf as a sign of liberation.
Hijab is often not oppression for women but a symbol of empowerment. Many women live in a society where they feel they are subjected to sexualisation and objectification and consequently they feel that the hijab de-sexualises women. They believe that it gives them recognition for who they are and not for what they look like, and that it is a reflection of their inner modesty reflected outwardly.
They are choosing to say, “appreciate me for who I am, not what I look like”. I recently visited Kuwait where a the majority of women wear hijab. I was so pleased to see the spirit of empowerment in every woman that I met. You can find out more about my Kuwaiti adventure here.
Feminists Are Man Haters
Feminists don’t hate men. Rather, they are opposed to the ideologies that uphold men as superior to women, or women as superior to men. Feminists are eager to dispel this notion and help people to understand that women can and should be able to take on any role in society that they desire without being held back, either by other men or by other women.
Feminism is about equality and yet there is not a single country in the world where women have gender parity with men. Not one. Therefore, it may often sound like feminists are berating the power of men in society, but what they are intending to draw attention to is the imbalance of equality. Shoes by Shaherazad supports a number of equality projects worldwide to actively redress the equality imbalance.
It’s A Girl’s Club
There are those who believe that to be a feminist you must be female. More importantly, some people think that if you are not female you can not relate to the cause and therefore your support will not be accepted.
Feminism is the idea that women’s rights should be equal to men’s and of course men can support this idea too. It is important that women empower women, and it is equally important that men also empower women to help redress the current imbalances which we see in society.
It’s Belittles Men And "The Male Role" in Society
This is a misinterpretation of feminism as misandry. In actual fact, one of the key ideas within feminism is that women aren’t tied down to taking specific roles in society, and it also suggests that men aren’t bound by certain roles either. Feminism supports the notion that men don’t have to be the main breadwinner of the household or the muscle-bound beast that Hollywood stereotypically showcases.
Instead, the feminist movement argues that both men and women can be whatever they want, regardless of gender stereotypes. The leather bag below is marketed as gender neutral by Voyager Leather.
It’s A Push For A New World Order
Others believe that feminism is about achieving matriarchy and the eventual goal is to actually oppress the male population. This idea is often mocked or dramatised through entertainment media. Again, feminism only has one goal, and that is equality.
Feminists are not fighting for women to rule the world but rather to be seen as equals and have an equal place. Women make up 50.8 percent of the world population, but they are still fighting for an equal number of seats at the table in business, in politics and in the home.
Feminists are pushing for a new world order. But it is one of equality and not a world without men!
Feminists Are Fragile
Another idea is that feminists aren’t strong at all but rather weak and the sexist slightest comment will send them into hysterics. Interestingly though, constantly belittling someone's reaction as over the top or unnecessary is widely recognised as a way to psychologically control and oppress an individual. As well as this, most feminists aren’t active on social media 24/7 responding in verbal combat to every offensive tweet. They are out in the world, campaigning for women’s rights or just working to forward their career or their home life and gain the respect they deserve.
Feminists Aren’t Feminine
This ties back into the idea that feminists are a group of people that hate fashion and as such can’t be stereotypically feminine. Some people have an image in their mind of what a feminist looks like. They picture women who don’t wear makeup, don’t bother to style their hair, would never dream of wearing high heels and hate glowing skin.
In contrast, the truth is that anyone can be a feminist. Some feminists are the most beautiful, sexiest women in the world with a great sense for fashion who work to have an amazingly healthy figure. Not necessarily to attract a partner but rather for themselves so that they feel confident and empowered by who they are. As stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson and Jessica Chastain have shown, feminists can be bold, beautiful, stylish, elegant and sexy.
Feminists can, by definition of their ideology be whatever they want. At Shoes by Shaherazad, the heels I sell are certainly "feminine" and they are also feminist.
Feminists Only Care About Their Career
Again, this idea completely negates what feminism is about. Feminists believe women can be whatever they want which means they don’t have to be career oriented. They can choose to stay at home with the kids and focus on raising a family if they desire. They can be the typical ‘football mum’, or they can be a Chief Executive. They can even be both and feminism aims to give women the freedom to choose without being judged.
Feminists Hate The Idea Of Marriage
No, they don’t. Whether or not you believe in the constitution of marriage will be completely separate from whether or not you are a feminist. Feminists simply believe in equal marriages where women aren’t tied down to a certain role like the automatic cleaner and nappy changer of the household.
A number of my heels have empowering names linked to romance, such as "Equally Ever After".
Feminists Are Crazy
This is again tied into the idea that feminists are crazy, violent, touchy, man haters which isn’t true at all. However, if you want the best evidence that feminists aren’t crazy, you only need to look at the definition of the idea they fight for. Feminism is the advocation of women’s rights regardless of gender. All feminists want is to be treated as equals in society, and that is certainly not a crazy idea but rather a basic human right.
There’s A Feminist Rule Book
Arguably one of the most damaging ideas of all is that there is a certain way to be a feminist. It fits into the misconception that feminists look and act a certain way. Feminism is such a broad notion that it’s almost understandable why there are so many misconceptions.
But the main idea to remember is this. A feminist can be whoever and whatever he or she wants. The only ideology that bonds all feminists together is the belief that women must have equal rights to men in society. Aside from this they can be completely different in how they dress, look, think, feel and act.
There's lots of other misconceptions I've heard. I'd be really interested to hear about views you've come across. Let me know in the comments section below. And if you're a feminist who wears heels, you can grab an empowering pair right here.
Interested in treating yourself to a pair of feminine and feminist heels? There's plenty to choose from such as these beauties which are appropriately called, Dream then Do: