Germaine, Julia and jackets: Does being a feminist mean you can never comment on another woman's clothing?

March 20, 2012

So, Germaine Greer made a comment on Monday night's Q and A about Julia Gillard's clothing, more specifically her jackets, and the size of her bum. The next day Miranda Devine typically jumped to attention and wrote an article about it hoping to convince the Australian public that Germaine, and therefore feminism, is a sham. I yawned as I read it; I've come to expect such hogwash from the not-so-Devine.

 

Now, as shocking as Germaine's comments may seem, I don't believe she said anything wrong. Of course the comment was somewhat of a surprise to many because Germaine, of all people, shouldn't speak of another woman's fashion or dress sense - she is a feminist and therefore not allowed to discuss such things.

 

 

 

Well, I happen to agree with Germaine's comment, and I consider myself a feminist. I work in the fashion industry so I discuss what a woman chooses to wear all the time, and I have very strong opinions about it too. Should I not? If a woman asks my opinion about about whether an outfit makes her bum look big, should I lie? These women are paying me to tell the truth, and if Julia asked me, I would tell her that the cut of some of her jackets do indeed accentuate her buttocks. I don't think there is anything wrong with having a big bum, that's her shape - and the beautiful shape of countless other women too - and if it doesn't bother Julia then we'd keep the jackets and move forward.

 

It seems to me, that the people who were offended by Germaine's comment about Julia's big bum themselves inherently believe that there is something wrong with having a big bum. Isn't that why they think it shouldn't be pointed at or mentioned? Perhaps they should stop and think about that for a moment.

 

And, there is a difference between someone having an opinion about a woman's outfit and, judging a woman's character because of her outfit i.e. 'she's obviously a liar look at what she's wearing' or 'I wouldn't trust a woman who wears shoes like that' as opposed to "What I want her to do is get rid of those bloody jackets." Can you spot the difference?

 

Germaine did not use her comment to disparage Julia because of what she was wearing, she only had a personal opinion about what she was wearing, which she signified by the 'I'. Surely a woman can have a personal opinion and speak it? Isn't that what Germaine and all the feminists have been fighting for all these years?

 

What Miranda and other outraged viewers are attempting to do is lump Germaine's comment with those that have been used to discount and belittle women based solely on her appearance and clothing. They are profoundly different, please learn to distinguish between them.

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