Why does the high street think feminism is a brand?

Why does the high street think feminism is a brand?

It would seem feminism has never had it so good, with glamorous figure heads like Lena Dunham and Caitlin Moran its never been cooler to be a hashtag #feminist. And don’t get me wrong, its great! I like how it is breaking down barriers to feminism, opening a new generations eyes to equality, and tiring down dusty stereotypes of old, hairy, men hating women with 17970674098609458093 cats.

Whether its the rise of Donald Trump, or powerful female figures in the media. The advertising industry, once solely focused on selling us sex is now selling us its disgust with the patriarchy. Like Doves ‘real women campaign’, and #thisgirlcan trending campaign on twitter.

Fashion companies are now also capitalising on the “femvertising” trend. Using feminist slogans and empowerment phrases to sell t-shirts. But how can the advertising world actually claim feminism as a trend.

My worry is that young women will start to see a ‘feminist’ t-shirt in the same way as they see a nike or adidas logo. While most will want to wear the t-shirt because they actually believe in the cause. There will be some who just think it looks good and, whist i’m sure it will go perfectly with your high waisted jeans, this should not be a reason to buy one. This isn’t a hipster band tee you can pretend to be a fan of to impress. People died for this shit. It should not be a trend that will go out of fashion.

There are many concerns with our modern fourth wave of  feminism becoming ‘lite’ as it focuses on an individual choosing to make feminist choices around fashion, beauty and social media. However, this focus on individuality stops us dealing with the bigger socio-economic problems that are actually affecting women around the world. Which in turn, stops us from creating wider movements that actually make a difference, as previous generations did. So while yes, you do look fabulous in your ‘femme’ t-shirt selfie on instagram, but how much benefit is this really having to women rights?


  • Nosheen Iqbal, The Guardian, 12th October 2015

  • The stylist web team. Stylist.co.uk