Fashion has been used to restrict, politicize, and sexualize women’s bodies, contributing to a complicated relationship with feminists who feel that women’s clothing trends and the fashion industry are oppressive agents that negatively affect women’s sense of self. As feminist dress scholar Elizabeth Wilson attests:
Fashionable dressing is commonly assumed to have been restrictive for women and to have confined them to the status of the ornamental or the sexual chattel. Yet it has also been one of the ways in which women have been able to achieve self-expression . . . to discuss fashion as simply a feminist moral problem is to miss the richness of its cultural and political meanings.
In a global context, the recent police intimidations in Iran, as well as state-sponsored fashion shows that encourage traditional Islamic dress, illustrate the connections between what a woman wears, her body, and sense of belonging to one’s self. Fashion and feminism (includes human rights) are inextricable from one another.