If you are anything like me, every time Emma Mcilroy & Wildfang come out with a campaign or article, I can’t help but say to myself, “They get it! They get me, and fuk they’re cool!”
When I saw the most recent shoot they put together highlighting the many faces of feminism. It was no different! As a woman studies major who’s been steeped deep identity politics, their “this is what a feminist looks like” the series, had me wanting to throw out some serious high fives all around.
ALICIA, MISS ARIZONA, MODEL, SINGER, & SUN DEVIL.
I bet when I say the word Feminist the first image that comes to mind isn’t this smoke show.
“I probably get judged for being a beauty queen, but being a feminist isn’t about what job you do or how you look, it’s about treating each other with respect and allowing each person to make their own choices without being held back or restricted.” Feminism is about choice.
ERIK: DAD & HUSBAND, BIRD & BIG GAME HUNTER
“I am a Republican man so some (false) stereotypes might suggest that I cannot also be a feminist, but I thoroughly support the idea of equal opportunity for all women. The term feminist has picked up ‘radical’ connotations in the past, but to me equality isn’t radical.”
JEREMY: TRANSGUY, TYPEWRITER TROUBADOUR, ADVOCATE
“Calling myself a feminist helps me to redefine what it means to be a man, how to be an ally to women, people of color, LGBTQ and other marginalized groups of people.”
FATMAH: AFRO-ARAB, MUSLIM AMERICAN, SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVIST, STUDENT
“I think some may be surprised to hear that I identify as feminist depending on how they define it and whether or not they see my hijab as a symbol for feminism or oppression. Feminism to me is being able to remove all the checked boxes that ‘define’ a person based on cultural expectations and societal norms, and being able to define yourself based on your own values and ideologies. We live in a time of injustice, inequitable access, and hatred towards different identities. As a country that constantly talks about equal rights and justice, we’ve failed, and we must change that.”
How juiced up are you after checking that out?! Just wait, there’s more. Emma was cool enough sit down and give us a little more scoop on the project and her dreamy politics.
Emma CEO Wildfang
Emma, tell me about how you came up with the idea for this super cool shoot?
We actually sent out a short survey to some friends and family asking them if they would call themselves a feminist and why? The responses were incredibly insightful. Some people felt shame in the term, some people were afraid of the term, some people didn’t think they were allowed to use it and that all really bummed us out. We wanted to create discussion around the word and show that the term could be owned by more than just women.
It’s incredible just how much controversy surrounds the word “Feminism” still today. Was there a particular moment or situation in your life recently that made you think: “Hey there is a lot more work to do around gender equality!”
We have made incredible progress but I think the recent restrictions on women’s healthcare and the commentary of the lead Republican candidate have been hard to swallow. We felt strongly about having a voice on the topic of gender equality and feminism. Now was the time.
It’s really so rad how central politics are to Wildfang’s brand. Were there any particular subjects in the shoot that really stood out to you? and why?
Honestly this was one of the most inspirational group of individuals we have ever shot. They felt so passionately about the subject of gender equality. Additionally many of them are fighting for those rights every day – like Fatmah, who is heavily involved in social justice work, and Michael who was a founding member of Occupy Wall Street. They were wildly inspirational to work with.
What an awesome climate the shoots must have been! You’re a branding tycoon! Obvi. What do you think about the discussion that feminism is currently re-branding itself into a more palatable and marketable movement?
For me it’s not about branding. It’s about accessibility. For a movement to grow and be successful, many people need to be able to access the term and support it – not just those directly affected. We’ve seen large movements and activism succeed in the LGBTQ community/marriage equality and also in Black Lives Matter movement – because others who weren’t directly affected were invited to join and support and raise their voices. That’s the key to a successful movement.
I love how you laid that out. So often movements are too exclusive in the identity politics of participation and loose their ability to appeal to a broader audience because of it. Would you call yourself a “feminist”?
LOVE it! How would you describe your feminism?
I 100% believe in gender equality. Feminism is an intersectional issue – gender must be considered alongside sexuality, ethnicity, income – and people can be marginalized by a number of factors which intersect. That said I still believe we have a long way to go before your gender does not play a role in your treatment or opportunity. A huge part of the gender inequality in today’s society centres around representation – young girls growing up don’t see female CEOs, or female film directors, or female leaders on their $50 note. One other thing – probably the group who suffers most because of gender equality is the transcommunity and again, the sooner we all realize that gender equality is ALL of our problems the better.
How cool is Emma Mcilroy?! I know, her politics give me heart eyes too! Emma isn’t just the CEO of Wildfang and seriously savvy brander, but a down ass chick who is NOT fronting. The proof of that, we just saw here. Emma is the real deal and Wildfang isn’t just another tomboy brand, it’s feminist culture. It’s a movement sweeping through the hearts and minds of a generation, creating discourse on gender equality issues and making feminism cool AF.
Emma via Wildfang is engaging an audience. Not just to promote products, but to promote real change. The coolest part… it’s not in a cheesy 10 cents of every sale goes to charity way, that we can all see through. Wildfang knows it’s girl and is doing her an actual service by changing the climate she lives in first, creating a community and serving up the cool wear we want on the side.
So class what did we learn today from Emma and Wildfang?
- Feminism is about empowering each other to make choices we might not necessarily make for ourselves.
- Feminism is about gender equality, and is for everyone.
- We all have a crush on Emma.
For the rest of the F-Word series check it @ blog.wildfang.com
Featured Image c/o Wildfang
F-Word series images: by: Jules Davies