You can be a feminist and still like fashion.

I really like this talk by a teenage girl who started Rookie Magazine.  She talks about pop culture and that there needs to be stronger female roles that are more diverse.  She also talks about why she started Rookie Magazine.  Have a watch below.

I decided to study Gender & Women's Studies in University for a few reasons, but one of the reasons I believe is because I was trying to find a voice.  I don't hate men, I've never hated men, in fact, I really, really, like men, especially one in particular.  I'm not lesbian, I don't have daddy issues and I'm from a very conservative family.  I suppose I'm quite different from what the stereotypical feminist is, which is sad, because so many people miss the point of what feminism really is.  

Feminism is about equality.  Not just for women, but for men, too!  Feminism is about supporting and giving voices to the minority (which covers everything from immigrants to people with disabilities to sexual orientation).  Feminism started as a women's movement during a time where women were the minority and were not given equal rights.  In a lot of countries, this is still the case.

I was fascinated to learn that my main professor did her masters in Feminism & Fashion.  "Feminism and fashion?" I thought.  I still know little about it other than the fact that there is a link between the two.  It's something I am still exploring and trying to work out.

I started photographing women because the majority of my friends are all women, and so it was easy.  I was learning how to take photos and getting my friends to pose for me.  Over time, it became natural to photograph women, and as a woman, I can relate to them.  I love women, I think they are beautiful, and I love photographing them.  I think they are so key to human development and deserve to be educated just as much as men.

Tavi Gevinson (in the film above) briefly states how a lot of people think you can't be a feminist and like fashion at the same time.  It was such a relief to hear this, and realize this stereotype as it's something I've been struggling with a lot lately.  Fashion can often and easily sexualize women (and men).  I've questioned my own work and at times been ashamed of some of the images I've produced when I've felt they've crossed this line and turned from beauty to sexualization.  How do I portray women as beautiful without sexualizing them?  How do I promote fashion without promoting materialism?  How much photoshop can I use while still making the women look natural?  

The last thing in the whole entire world I ever want is for some teenage girl to look at my photographs and wish they looked like the girl in one of my photos.  Don't.  Be you.  Be proud of you and how you look.  Understand that every single image you see in a magazine is photoshopped and is fake.  They aren't that skinny, their breasts aren't that big, their asses don't look that smooth, they have wrinkles, they have tummies, they have everything that you and I have.  And it's because we are all women, and these are the bodies we've been given, and we need to be proud of them and treat them with respect.  

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Tip for photographers when using photoshop: Someone once told me that they will only photoshop out what is not naturally a part of that person.  Meaning, if someone shows up with a cut on their face that isn't normally there, they'll photoshop it out because it's not normally a part of that person.  If they have a permenant scar on their face, they won't photoshop it out because that's a part of who they are and what makes them beautiful.  I try and stick to this rule as much as possible.