Dressing For A Revolution

Countess Constance Georgine Markievicz (an Irish revolutionary nationalist and suffragette) is famous for having given the following fashion advice, "Dress suitably in short skirts and strong boots, leave your jewels in the bank, and buy a revolver." This idea of dressing for a revolution has been running through my head lately. However, clothing as preparing for battle very rarely involves literal chain-mail and weaponry. Instead one thing that is interesting how in every decade that we see women take strides towards freedom skirts have become shorter--at first it wasn't an indication of sexual liberty but pure practicality. Shorter skirts give people a greater range of movement, they are physically liberating.

An argument emerged when Naoko Takeuchi started work on her now famous anime Sailor Moon; her protagonists (teenage girls) were drawn in extremely short skirts (and tall boots, I might add), male producers of the anime requested a longer skirt for the characters because the the length was seen as suggestive, but Naoko insisted that they stay short. From a female perspective the skirt was seen as "cute" and practical. Shorter hems are not inherently sexual and are often not worn with the intent of being alluring--let's also recall that the amount of skin considered appropriate differs drastically by era, an ankle in the 1800s would have been seen as incredibly sexual. So our relationship with skin and suggestion is highly influenced by culture. Naoko fought for the skirt length and wardrobe choice didn't limit Sailor Moon from being a hero. Of course, this isn't supposed to devolve into a conversation about hem-length. It's just one factor in dressing radically and being prepared for anything.

So I suppose this all brings me back to the idea of dressing for a revolution. Dressing for a revolution or to fight in some fictitious battle often requires a change in the standard wardrobe of the day. Revolutionary battles call for revolutionary clothes. Then there's the thought of how clothes are our every day armor against an insensitive and overstimulating world. Even when we're not dressing to fight a battle we're choosing clothes to help us belong in our job, or feel more comfortable when we're awkward and shy. To me it's more than clothes being used to provoke a response, but actually dressing in such a way that you are better able to achieve your goals. Just some thoughts germinating in my head lately...
*comic by madeleineishere



  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I actually find knee length skirts to be most practical at work and everyday. If you're young and/or have the legs for them, it's fun to rock the shorter hemlines. I do think the more skin one shows, the more sexually and/or sensually suggestive it is, and that's not a bad thing. We want to own our sensuality and sexuality. We get to choose how much we want to show and when. Never in history have women had this amount of freedom and choice in their sartorial expression. It's exciting!
    Men will see bare legs and skin and can't help but think about it in a sensual and/or sexual way. It's just the way they're hardwired. Women too. Thoughts aren't actions though. At our best, we act responsibly and respectfully while enjoying thoughts that give us pleasure. My 2 cents.

    You're the thinking person's babe.


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