In 2014, Whistles released a T-shirt with Elle UK magazine and the Fawcett Society. It had the slogan “This is What a Feminist Looks Like.” And while the intentions behind this are seemingly honest in wanting to illustrate that a feminist doesn’t have any specific appearance. (They are not just lesbian women with hairy armpits and a hatred for men.) And this was supported by HeforShe creator, Emma Watson on her Twitter account and many other celebrities such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Benedict Cumberbatch.
And it is great that these people make feminism something that can be accepted by a larger group of people. Except, these are white, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied people who cater largely towards those within these brackets. This still excludes the LGBTQ+ community, people of colour and those who are not able-bodied even though feminism looks to fight the ideologies that turns these people into a minority. It also makes feminism more palatable and while that isn’t necessarily bad, I do not think that it is something that should be easy to swallow. The fact is that it deals with many different and complex issues which can be disturbing and hard to grasp and so should not be taken lightly. We should not be dumbing things down and offering a simplified version of feminism just so that more people can support it because the reality is that it will be an incomplete representation/understanding of it all. This leads to non-inter-sectional feminism. And this is what most people saw within the campaign.
I think what was most shocking about this campaign was the images that surfaced after of the women who made the t-shirts in sweatshops. How can feminists promote such an exploitative industry that takes advantage of women as they are 85-90% of the workers?
I would like to do something similar to this t-shirt but create something that promotes inter-sectional feminism and is made ethically.
Cumberbatch, Benedict. This is What a Feminist Looks Like. 27th October 2014, photograph, Elle UK, Twitter, https://twitter.com/ELLEUK/status/526716463164698624/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Ftime.com%2F3546712%2Fbenedict-cumberbatch-feminist-tshirt%2F
DoSomething.org. 11 Facts About Sweatshops. Web article. https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-sweatshops
Gordon-Levitt, Joseph. This is What a Feminist Looks Like. 27th October 2014, photograph, Elle UK, Twitter, https://twitter.com/ELLEUK/status/526719841970167808
Hibbert, Craig. This is What a Feminist Looks Like. 12th November 2014, photograph, Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2827035/Scandal-62p-hour-T-shirts-Shame-feminists-betrayed-cause-writes-ROSIE-BOYCOTT.html
Watson, Emma. This is What a Feminist Looks Like. 30th October 2014, photograph, Elle UK, Twitter, https://twitter.com/emmawatson/status/527845417007218689?lang=en