Written By: Annegret Maja Fiedler
Illustration: Skye Galloway
Is shaming women’s fashion choices what high-school bullies are up to nowadays?
I desperately hoped that by the time I finished reading Shane Watson’ Telegraph article The 7 Women’s Fashion Items that Men Hate , I would discover that the title was in jest. Unfortunately, I was mistaken – the content of this online publication is, in fact, not satirical.
This article, tagged under “Women”, “Lifestyle”, and “Politics”, begins by making fun of Theresa May’s flared culottes. These are a type of loose cropped trousers, which Watson groups in the category “Clothes Men Will Never Like (excepting architects and people working in fashion)”. The Tories will never be en vogue in my books, but I still question the necessity of mainstream media judging how attractive May’s trousers look to men. Discussing the looks of female politicians is a sexist recurrence mainstream journalism tends to spiral into.
Watson also seems to have figured out exactly how men think. She wrote that men “have a fixed shortlist of things that provoke a visceral negative reaction, and another list of things they like, without knowing why”. I am sure men are far more complex than this. After all, are they not also humans with compassion, respect, interests, style, and well-developed thoughts?
The main part of this text is a “not-for-men” list, which includes clogs, mom jeans, leopard print, leather trouser, laddered jeans, oversized Aran jumpers, and giant padded shoulders. Some of these items are worn by my own peers on a regular basis, and I have never felt bothered about what they choose to wear. Other items I have never heard of before. After I conducted a quick Google Image search I decided that I do not care about who does or who does not wear these items. I am fully aware of everyone having their own sense of unique style.
The article ends after criticising a make-up free Jennifer Garner and then mentioning something about the Obamas’ date night. This section does not relate to the main topic of the overall article. I have actually attempted to read this article multiple times, but these last two paragraphs seem to make no sense.
Everyone should wear whatever they please without negative judgment. The way politicians dress should be less of an issue than the policies they endorse, regardless of a politician’s gender. Watson managed to police women’s fashion choices and dehumanise men into simple organisms with no acknowledgement or appreciation for unique individual styles. Even if Watson’s article is supposed to be humorous, it still contributes to the normalisation of toxic behaviour. It does not require much effort to respect different tastes in clothing. No one should care about what men, journalists, and other living creatures find attractive, especially if they feel comfortable in what they wear. So, slip into those leopard print clogs and mom jeans, drape that blazer with the padded shoulders over a simple crop top. Never let anyone cramp your style.