The two are often considered by society at large, as mutually exclusive entities, which means that having one or being interested in one automatically excludes you from having the other entity. But I believe that this does not have to be the case. I think that fashion and politics can safely collide without one suffering at the expense of the other. Modern society shows us ample examples of powerful, beautiful women who successfully walk the runway of fashion and politics. Having said this, my mind immediately goes to women like Michelle Obama, Catherine Middleton and Zain Asher; a CNN news reporter (and sister to Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 years a slave). While I have mentioned just a few, society remains awash with many examples of women who not only love fashion but are also equally as passionate about their work, careers and respective callings. A fashion lover can just as well be a politician, a lawyer or an activist. . Fashion and politics can co-exist peacefully like “two peas in a pod”.
That being said, where does this perception of fashion and politics being separate entities come from? While I cannot exactly trace the origins of this school of thought, it is commonly held in society, that when a woman dresses up, wears make-up and takes pride in her looks, she is automatically branded as shallow, lazy, a “gold-digger” or an irresponsible wife or mother. Why is this so? This is because many people believe that a woman cannot successfully manoeuvre the two worlds of FASHION +POLITICS, which couldn’t be further from the truth just look around you, I am sure you will find many examples of fashionistas in politics.
Personally, I have experienced the same type of “stereotypying” I discuss above. Many times in my life, when I tell people I have a masters degree in political sciences and taught politics at a university for many years, I often get in response looks of surprise or shock. Those brave enough to vocalise their thoughts often say to me “I didn’t expect that” or “I wouldn’t have guessed that”. To that I have responded, “what field of study do you think would suit me best”? to which they often fail to articulate or voice their opinions. In other instances I have had people give me looks of shock when I tell them that I can and do love cooking!
Given these experiences, I have come to ask myself one question-what should a fashionista who loves politics look like, since we don’t fit into society’s prescribed paradigm? To this, I have come to the conclusion that in order to love fashion and politics, you don’t need to look a certain way. I believe that fashion is a way of self-expression which by no means hinders intellectual capacity, morality or even value systems.
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