5 Ways to Smash the Patriarchy While Still Looking Fabulous

Inspirational ideas and merchandise for the everyday feminist.

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Photo by Les Anderson

Just last week, at least four million women lined up in the streets worldwide for planned protests and feminist rallies. The Women’s March on Washington was a roaring media success, hopefully paving the way for future non-violent demonstrations.

As motivational and incredible as this last week was, we’re not done yet, ladies! Progress has been a long time coming, and now that we’ve got the ball rolling, we have to keep working hard to make sure that our constitutional rights are secure and our voices heard.

For ideas on what you can do to smash the patriarchy today (and every day), keep reading — and inspire others through the feminist outfits you can wear while you’re doing it.

#1. Read books written by women

What to wear: Jacket – Etsy | Pencil set – Etsy | “Hero” printable – Etsy | Notebook – Etsy | Mug – Etsy | “Girls” printable – Etsy

The more you support a female perspective, the more it becomes relevant, and the harder it becomes to ignore or dismiss as trivial.

So, partake in any (or, better yet, all) of the following: Start an Oprah-inspired book club. Recommend books written by women to your friends. Attend feminist book releases. Read biographies about strong positive female icons, from Simone de Beauvoir to Sojourner Truth. Buy books from underrepresented and academically dismissed female authors. Keep a blog!

Choose to fight with the mighty pen, and use the power of the written word to help support your own cause.

#2. Support and empower fellow women

What to wear: Shoe – Nordstrom | Cuff – Etsy | Glasses – Sunglass Hut | Turtleneck top – Kohl’s | Tote – Feminist Apparel

Let’s not forget that we make up half of the world’s population, girls! By banding together, we make it harder for the remaining 50% to exclude us.

First off, raise awareness for efforts aimed at improving the health, literacy, and lives of women throughout the world, and make the case for higher global female empowerment. Employers, recruit women for male-dominated fields like STEM. Leaders, please don’t forget to include ALL female points of view into the political narrative, and strive to include rather than exclude.

As for the rest of us, here’s a great idea: let’s try raising other women up! Choose not partake in vicious gossip, and replace envious remarks with words of support. We all ought to regularly compliment each other, and talk good behind everyone’s back, wherever we go. 

#3. Become politically aware

What to wear: Skirt – Lulu’s | Headband – Icing | Shoe – Zappos | Top (similar; original sold out) – Forever 21 

To truly invoke change, you have to be well informed. You can’t get far in the game if you don’t know what’s going on around you! 

This year, make it your mission to brush up on the news and become politically informed by unbiased, nonpartisan sources. Do research on your own, and find out what news outlet works for you. Don’t settle for “alternative facts“; demand the truth!

At the same time, please be considerate of other people’s different opinions. Either choose to settle arguments calmly and rationally, or don’t join them at all. (Also, if you’re posting an issue on social media that you know some family members might get inflamed about, do everyone a favor and learn how to master Facebook privacy hacks.)

#4. Say no to catcalling

What to wear: Top – Feminist Apparel | Jegging – American Eagle | Flat – DSW | Button – Etsy

Ugh, honestly, how is catcalling still a thing? 

When dealing with street harassment, there’s a bit of a gray area on how feminist women should handle it. Fear from further harassment (or possible physical violence) leads most of us to ignore it, but it’s definitely not OK to let it slide, either. I can’t say there’s a correct answer to catcalling, but I will say that there are several things we can do to eradicate the problem.

For one, we as a society can raise boys to respect girls from a very young age, and abolish the “he likes you if he’s making fun of you” argument that encourages bad behavior. We can stigmatize the act of open harassment, and even write and sign petitions to outlaw public catcalling (though the latter isn’t without its complications as well). While these are little steps to take, they’re never fruitless.

#5. Love yourself

What to wear: Feline pin – Etsy | Feminist pin – Etsy | Tea pin – Etsy | Sass pin – Etsy | Jacket – Nordstrom

Finally, to be a true feminist, you have to love yourself. 

Not in that Justin Bieber kiss-off song type of way, I mean, but you do have to come to grips with your faults, your eccentricities, and every little thing that makes you, well, you. Remember: the key to establishing this confidence is in battling your own personal insecurities and negativity, and seeing the good in yourself.

Though I believe in the powers of deep introspection and positive affirmations, you can find articles anywhere that suggest a million and one ways to develop self-acceptance and, ultimately, self-love. My personal recommendation is the following: “Why It’s So Hard to Love Yourself and How It Can Change Your Life.”

Are you a feminist?

What are your thoughts on the Women’s March last week? Do you have a burning desire to smash the patriarchy? Have any special feminist apparel you’d love to tell us about?

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