Topic Introduction and Thesis
Although the fashion industry is often viewed as a rather superfluous area, the clothes that people approve for wearing in public can be considered as a direct representation of societal attitudes and philosophies. The specified phenomenon becomes especially clear when considering as simple an item of a woman’s everyday wardrobe as a skirt. Having undergone significant changes, the identified garment incorporates polar ideas that range from female empowerment to the sexualization of a woman’s image in the contemporary media.
The changes in the vision of a short skirt is a graphic representation of the scenario in which an item used initially for a powerful statement has lost its shock value and, thus, currently does not represent women’s struggle for equality but, instead, promotes the objectification of women.
Miniskirts as a Feminist Statement
On the one hand, there are reasons to believe that short skirts represent a rather powerful feminist statement. At the time when skirts of a specific length were considered a taboo and a solid reason for shaming its owner, wearing one could be interpreted as the manifestation of complete disregard for biased social opinions about gender. Therefore, at a specific point in time, short skirts represented a social taboo, disregarding which implied challenging social norms and questioning hypocritical and misogynist social standards.
As a result, on the specified time slot, wearing a miniskirt could be regarded as an attempt to challenge societal standards and question the authority of the people that defined these standards (Stadius 198). A miniskirt became the representation of a rebellion against the suffocating environment in which women had no right to choose which item of clothing they could wear without being labeled negatively.
Miniskirts and Sexualization
Although being viewed several decades ago as an important feminist statement, miniskirts have lost their identity as tools for rebellion and, instead, are coded as tools for objectifying women. Modern media often portrays overly sexualized images of women wearing revealing clothes, miniskirts being one of the most common attributes (Tumusiime and Kiguli 31). The specified images have a detrimental effect on the promotion of feminist ideas since it subverts the image of a woman as an independent person. Furthermore, miniskirts, among other clothing items, are used to dehumanize women in media, turning them into objects of sexual desire. Thus, the connotation behind the image of a miniskirt has changed drastically over the years.
The fact that the specified phenomenon can be observed among not only young women but also girls can be interpreted as a rather troubling sign. The disturbing messages that the specified image of women sends to young girls have a destructible effect on their self-esteem, self-worth, and their perception of self, in general. As a result, they accept the idea of being a commodity before they can learn to question it (Stadius 199). Thus, miniskirts gain the distracting effect that makes their owners support a statement that women have to conform to a sexualized image that is portrayed nowadays in media.
Comparison of Evaluation
It is remarkable that, even though the connotation of the image that a miniskirt represents has changed drastically, eventually becoming the polar opposite of itself, its function as a societal marker has not changed in the slightest. Instead of viewing a miniskirt merely as a clothing option, people treat it as a manifestation of a particular point of view, be it a feminist or a misogynist one.
Therefore, the alterations in the perception of miniskirts signify that women are still unable to make a fashion choice without being attached forcefully to a particular side of the argument. Instead of viewing a miniskirt as a piece of clothing, people still consider it a social marker (Stadius 199). Thus, changing people’s mindset has little to do with an actual miniskirt and, instead, requires a conscious effort in subverting stereotypes that have been in existence for decades and, possibly, even centuries.
Therefore, it can be assumed that it is not the interpretation of a skirt as either a blight upon feminism or an important social protest that defines the presence of feminist attitudes and mode of thinking in society but the opportunity for a woman to choose between wearing either of the two options. Until a woman can choose between a miniskirt and a long skirt on the grounds of what she sees as comfortable as opposed to what makes her less submissive, feminism endeavors need to continue to transform the current perception of women and their representation in media.
By considering the alterations that the connotations of a short skirt have undergone over the past few decades in the society, it will be reasonable to assume that what used to be shocking finally lost its power as a feminist statement due to the changes in its meaning and the propensity toward sexualizing women in short skirts. Thus, being worn out to death, the image of a miniskirt no longer evokes any ideas about feminism and female integrity but, instead, implies rather chauvinist undertones.
It would be erroneous to assume that the concept of a miniskirt will remain the same over the next few years and will no longer change. Quite the contrary, it is expected that, much like the image of a woman, in general, the concept of a miniskirt as part and parcel of the female culture will inevitably gain a new shade of meaning. Therefore, it is not the item itself but the ideas imbued in it my people that makes the specified piece of clothes either sexualized or feminist and provocative. However, since the very image of a short skirt has been used extensively in both traditional and modern media to popularize a sexualized image of a woman, changing the specified perspective will require a substantial amount of time.
Despite being discussed quite often and addressed in all types of media, the concept of female clothes, in general, and the dichotomy of a miniskirt and a long skirt, in particular, deserves closer attention. Seeing that the changes in perception of the identified items of clothing have not been researched well, a scrutiny of the subject matter may be required to understand how the image of a woman in contemporary culture is affected by fashion and especially skirts. Thus, the roots of some of the gender issues that can be witnessed in the modern world will be explored. Herein lies the significance of the subject matter. By exploring the changes in the perception of miniskirts and long skirts in the society, one will determine shifts in the dynamics of gender relationships.
Stadius, Peter. Communicating the North: Media Structures and Images in the Making of the Nordic Region. Routledge, 2016.
Tumusiime, Amanda, and Juliet Kiguli. “Unmasking Women’s Sexuality?” Contested Intimacies, edited by Derrick Higginbotham. Siber Ink, 2015, pp. 31-45.