I THINK WHAT PHOEBE PHILO OFFERED US WAS A WAY OUT. WITH OR WITHOUT MAKE-UP, WITH OR WITHOUT DRESSES, WITH OR WITHOUT SOCIETY STANDARDS.
Society puts women in front of two paths: either you wear dresses, put make-up on and try to work as much as possible on yourself to fulfill the classical image of a woman. Or, on the other hand, you have the opportunity to wear joggers and oversized blazers, rock a suit and never even consider to put make-up on your face.
I think that most of the time women are somewhat classified in these two boxes – a feminine woman or a “manly” woman. And no matter which one some might prefer, it’s also rude to classify in those two.
The issue was brought to me with the resignation of Phoebe Philo from Céline. And of course in succession the decision to make Hedi Slimane the new creative director (of Celine 😉 ).
Phoebe Philo made woman look strong and powerful with her creations. Which were smart and luxurious at the same time indifferent if it was a dress or a pantsuit. Although or precisely because some of the pieces were extremely oversized and not at all figure-accentuating it opened a new view upon women. A view which we really needed, if you ask me.
We still see so many women suffer from society standards. A woman needs to be thin, but she also should have some boobs and a nice butt to show. And if she doesn’t meet these requirements she should at least have a nice face to look at. Maybe it also helps to put some make-up on that?
I’m trying my best to work against these standards, although I also work with them. At some point it gets messy: do I do, the things I do, because I want them like that or society wants me to want me these things?
I’m often unsure about my short and chubby thighs. And I’m really disappointed that mother nature punished me with such fickle skin. So I started to work against my nature and to work with the things given to me through cultural development and the fashion industry: sports and make-up.
In the western world women are free to choose what they want to be. We don’t have to be afraid anymore. We can stand up for our rights, we can go vote, we are allowed to have our own jobs. We are creating our future. With or without men. But although we have so many opportunities, so many ways to go, we often choose the splendidly constructed path our ancestors took before us. In our teenage years we get educated, we choose a university or a training, so we can get our jobs. Afterwards we marry that guy we met during collage, have two babies with him and die, when it’s about time.
I know this sounds harsh. But don’t get me wrong on that. I’m trying to specify what disturbs me about it. You always have to keep your eyes open for great women. And by great I mean those who changed history, those who write history right now, those who are sitting in the executive chairs, those who really want to change the world. I think it’s more important than ever to create a new image of us as women. Our mothers were the first generation to cast off the corset of restrictions. This is what our grandmothers fought for and some women in other countries still do.
The question is not about the appearance and also not if I should be allowed to show my nipples on social media. I think we really need a new perception of women. One that is free of cultural bounds and standards, which makes our minds and hearts really empty of all the varying demands raised upon us. It’s fine to have a family, it’s fine to wear make-up and it’s also fine to not make a huge career. But it’s just fine (and that’s the only condition which needs to be fulfilled!) if I myself really want it to be like that. Do I want to wear make-up? Do I want to make a career? Do I want to wear a suit? Do I want to start a family?
I think what Phoebe Philo offered us was a way out. With or without make-up, with or without dresses, with or without society standards. Her message is clear and I hope you also understood mine:
Just be yourself.
We should see the self-concept as an unclear ghost. We should drop all pretense and open the space for the self to develop. Think about yourself, about your wishes, your hopes. Don’t think about yourself as a gender. Just think about yourself as a person. And maybe if every human being, no matter the sex, starts to see their-selves like that and really questions life, we could be free of social standards and really be our-selves.