Well, as most of you know, I’ve been summering in St. Pat’s for two weeks now. My first week was spent in the Special Care Unit, which is essentially a fishbowl filled with Very Strong Feelings. During this time, I had very little to do bar stew in fifteen and a half years of repressed rage and read the newspaper. How fortunate I was to have Martina Devlin’s exercise in double-think fall into my lap! http://www.independent.ie/opinion/ladies-let-us-not-be-judged-on-our-gloves-and-lipstick-30478270.html
I am probably the most rabid third or fourth wave feminist you will ever meet. I’m queer, internet educated and a stinkin’ pinko. In other words, ladies, gents and othered, I’m a screwed up young girl with two thirds of a BA and a persecution complex.
And I really, really love dressing up. As do all my friends, whatever their gender. There’s an artistry to it, a balance of light and shade, tailored and loose to be found everywhere from Coppers to Arcade Con. Leaving aside the blatant victim blaming and attempt to moor feminism in an irrelevant second wave past, that isn’t patriarchy. It’s ingenuity. Making a dress is “action”, and damn hard work too. The people behind the scenes deserve some credit.
This is where I see some class issues at play. Devlin praises lofty words and clever protest, the historical tools of a middle class aspiring intellectual (I’m aware that I’ve just described myself. Bear with me). I would advise the author to take a walk down Thomas Street and keep an eye out for the barmaids, the seamstresses, the stall-holders and yes, even the bloody NCAD lot. These people aren’t just preaching feminism, they’re living it. Perhaps Butler might be a better choice than De Beauvoir.
As for the proposed best dressed man competition, well, why not? Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith have made dapper cool again. Almost everyone likes a bit of eye candy. What’s missing is respect.