Dior's feminist T shirt is a load of wank

I'm not keen on gatekeeping. if someone wants to be a feminist, I'm not going to be the clipboard girl denying entry to the club because 'you're doing it wrong'.

I'm not keen on gatekeeping. if someone wants to be a feminist, I'm not going to be the clipboard girl denying entry to the club because 'you're doing it wrong'. Each to their own. We have to allow people to make mistakes while exploring feminism or we'll set the bar so high no one will want to get involved. But...

But. 

Does anything scream glib, privileged, tone deaf intellectualised feminism like a Dior T Shirt emblazoned with the slogan 'we should all be feminists'? Like the one that went stalking down the runway at Paris Fashion Week featuring the uncredited title of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's famous Ted Talk? Well? Does anything? Can you think of ANY SINGLE THING which encapsulates the cynical commodification of a political movement more totally than that? I can't. And it's so brazenly, self-defeatingly hypocritical I want to scream myself inside out. 

Hang on I need a tea break I just can't anymore I need a second to rant at my kettle. 

Ok I'm back. And here's why Dior's feminist T shirt is a shameless load of utter wank and not to be shown any respect under any circumstances whatsoever. I'll try to be succinct. 

Ehem. 

YOU CANNOT CLAIM TO BE FEMINISTS WHILE FLAGRANTLY PERPETUATING ENDEMIC BODY SHAME BY USING ONLY ONE VERY THIN BODY TYPE IN ABSOLUTELY ALL OF YOUR WORK LIKE IT'S NOT EVEN A THING. 

You just CAN'T. It's RIDICULOUS. It. is. absurd. 

You also can't claim to be feminist and exclusively use models who look under 20 years old in both your shows and your advertising, thereby perpetuating a highly damaging erasure of older women from popular culture. You CANNOT. I WILL NOT ALLOW IT.

DO NOT TELL ME YOU ARE ON MY SIDE WHEN YOU ARE SO CLEARLY NOT. IT IS INSULTING TO MY INTELLIGENCE, DIOR. AND TELL ALL YOUR OTHER LITTLE FASHION HOUSE FRIENDS TO GIVE IT A REST TOO. 

In recognition of how damaging the above is to the collective female psyche, there have been efforts made to stop fashion houses from using only very young, very skinny models, but they have resisted these measures tooth and nail because FUNDAMENTALLY THEY DO NOT GIVE A F*CK about women's wellbeing if it impacts profit margins. They do not care about their models and they do not care about their customers. How feminist is that?! 


You know what would be more feminist than slapping a slogan on a t shirt with a 1600% profit margin?

- Signing up to the longstanding and widely adopted Responsible Jewellery Council, which ensures diamond and gold supply chains are ethical and environmentally sustainable, so that women in the countries which mine for Dior's precious stones aren't disadvantaged by their European counterparts' desire for shiny things. (Dior has never done this. Woo ethics)

- Sending one single solitary model down the runway who is the same size as the average French woman (still smaller than the UK average, but a lot bigger than their current models). It would be a token but it would also be a start. 

- Sending one single solitary model down the runway who is the same age as the average Dior customer (ie over 18)

- Using one single model in an ad campaign who is the average size of the women in the country in which that ad campaign will run. 

- Using sample sizing models who are not so underweight they have to be hospitalised and administered intravenous fluids on a regular basis.

- Move beyond tokenistic use of models of colour in runway shows and editorial campaigns. 

Dior has not done any of the above, because, as I said, they fundamentally do not give a f*ck. These are literally the absolute bare minimum most tokenistic gestures I can think of and they haven't come close to any of them. That is how much they care about women. They are preaching, but not practicing. They are only now touting feminist ideals because they are trending. They are not the good guys. This T shirt is pure marketing and it makes me so cross I need another cup of tea I swear to god I cannot with these people. 

Uuuurgh. Sigh. 

We should also talk about price. Because slapping a feminist notion onto a t shirt in the name of marketing is at best extremely cynical, but when it's a really bloody expensive t shirt, it may actually be detrimental to the cause. 

Why? Because it commoditises the movement in a way which is not only glib as all hell, but also elitist and exclusionary. To sell an extremely expensive item of casual clothing as a badge of feminism is essentially to usurp a political movement which already suffers from elitism and whitewashing, and package it up in such a way that it is only accessible to very privileged very very rich girls. How helpful. 

Dior's T-shirt creates a stronghold of the existing - troublingly white and rich - feminism-as-popular-culture in-crowd. It acts as both membership fee and uniform. They won't see it that way, of course. To them and many others it's just a bit of unproblematic fun that you don't have to think about too hard, but so are lots of things when you're white and rich and in the cool gang. 

Don't believe me? Here's what one fashion blogger (who shall remain nameless) had to say on the subject of buying a knock off version purely for the sake of spreading the message

'Who cares if it’s a knock-off; the sentiment rings the same – no? Except it doesn’t. Because it isn’t Dior. It feels like an emulation of something, rather than the original thought (even that thought is, actually, a TED talk) and even though the thought is still valid, still scrawled across the t-shirt in an almost exact replica, it’s suddenly not as cool. Sad, but true.'

Very sad indeed. Very sad that Dior has so seamlessly been able to position itself in ownership of 'the original thought' with seemingly no objections from the fashion in-crowd. The unthinking, tone deaf acceptance of high fashion as feminism is an absolute embarrassment. It actually makes me cringe. 

I rest my case. 

So congrats Dior, you've successfully converted feminism into something you can now buy into, but only if you have enough ca$h. You don't need to actually do anything for the cause though. Just fork out the cash and give yourself a pat on the back for unquestioningly propping up a flamboyantly, systemically misogynistic industry. Brilliant. So feminist. 

Yes, we should all be feminists, Dior is right on that count, but they should start with themselves. 

What I Wore, IssuesMaddie