Amidst all the spray tans, vajazzling and hair extensions, vintage-loving women tend to stand out with an aesthetic that evokes glamour, individuality and femininity. Could the vintage girl then be a new form of feminism, an antithesis to the blingtastic, porn-star style that influences female identity at the moment?
I don’t quite know how it happened or when but far too many women around me seem to want to look like a porn actress these days. Or why else would they wax off their pubes, slather themselves in Fakebake and state Page Three Girl in their career goals? There is something about the passivity of this particular idea of femininity – there to be stared at, cum onto – that I find deeply infuriating. It’s just sad that we’re all meant to look like little plastic sex dolls – fake eyelashes, fake hair, fake tan, fake boobs.
To my relief (no really, it is!) there is a great big social group of women out there who don’t buy into this image – the vintage girls. Although the vintage scene is splintered into smaller subfractions of particular decades, musical styles, dances and activities, the one thing all these vintage-loving women have in common is their embrace of an altogether different femininity, one that’s individual, one that harks back to a time when glamour was exotic and empowering.
Although these girls look back at past style icons they don’t become carbon copies of their idols, they mix and match their style, they construct their own image, they don’t simply buy into a ready-made identity. And often they take inspiration from those pioneers of feminism, the smoking, partying 1920s garconnes, the sports-playing, car-driving women of the 1930s, the home front workers of the war years, the 1950s office workers slowly edging their way into the work place and the sexually liberated dollybirds of the 1960s.
some of my vintage-loving friends
It’s no co-incidence either I think, that there is such a wide variety of body shapes – from really slim to really curvaceous – in the vintage scene as well as a much broader range of age from teenagers to women in their Fifties than any other social scene I have come across. It’s like the vintage girl has somehow managed to embrace her body rather than radically reshape it into the accepted norm, and I am convinced that wearing vintage is playing a part in this, because you don’t shop for it by size but by fit. I myself have gradually weaned myself of the idea that I am a certain size (I never really was anyways, given the vanity sizing issue) – instead I go by my measurements. If a vintage dress happens to not fit me I simply put it back, I don’t see it as a comment on me being too big, it doesn’t give me that feeling of horror when I couldn’t fit into my size on the highstreet, where it felt like every too-small dress was the entire clothing industry laughing at my failure to be a size ten with perfect breasts.
There is no doubt to me that ‘opting out’ of the whole female fakery is in essence a feminist stance, perhaps not knowingly so, but feminist none the less. What do you think – is vintage a new form of feminism?
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