w/r/t this whole thing (people getting mad at natalie dee for saying cupcake-baking housewife-drag 50s revival is kind of weird and stupid and antifeminist)
Does anybody remember the time that super-annoying fashion blogger Gala Darling or whatever her name was was out in public in ostentatious 50s fashion? Nipped waist print dress with a circle skirt over a crinoline and stilettos and that rockabilly kinda hair. It was the crinoline that took it over the edge, in my opinion.
And an older woman came up to her and was like “why are you dressed like that?”
Darling: “Because I like it, I think it’s pretty, I wish people still had that sense of decorum.”
Practically crying older woman: “What are you doing? Do you even know what it means to dress like that? Do you actually want to go back to that time? You can’t know what it was like. You young girls have no perspective. It makes me so angry.”
And darling blogged about it being like “lol some people just don’t get it” and it was gross, but there is a larger point here, which is:
If you are a young woman who has not actually lived through a time that was in many ways worse for women than today, and in any case certainly a very different context, you need to have some thought about what it means to dress like you’re a time-traveller from there, thought beyond “it’s so pretty”, or “I’m wearing this but I’m a feminist, it’s so subversive”. And you need to be prepared for many women to feel that nostalgia for or reappropriation of that time is insulting, if not dangerous. It’s pretty dismissive of the strength and courage and activism of many 50s women to assume that just by being your feminist self in 50s garb while baking you’re participating in some kind of radical détournement. Also I think it’s weird, frankly, for a bunch of predominantly white women to want to look like they’re the bosses from The Help.
If you listen to older women you might feel pretty uncomfortable making a dress-up game out of their youth, and that has nothing to do with distaste for femininity.