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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Posted by Parveen Hassan
| 06:57
The controversy surrounding wearing a feminist T-shirt is hitting the headlines, but does it affect the way we protray ourselves through gesture politics and campaigns for change? We have all done it, intentionally or not: ice bucket challenges, hashtags such as #bringbackourgirls, breast cancer awareness month, make up merchandise, and for climate change switching off our lights and phones. 

Image credit: Elle This is what a feminist looks like 
Where do we draw the line from coventional campaigning? The traditional methods of petitions for change are soaring via e-petitions. Even the Daily Telegraph article by Emma Barnett, highlighted the recent T-shirt sloganeering from the opposition leader of the House of Commons Ed Miliband, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman Deputy Leader of the Labour party. They all wore the gestured “This is what a feminist looks like” T-shirt for Elle. Fashion and politics has always been hit and miss, we saw the successes, I’m not just a plastic handbag my Anya Hindmarch and Vivenne Westwood’s climate and war T-shirts. 

As the Prime Minister, David Cameron swiftly refused, there was a statement provided for Elle Magazine, missing the photo opportunity, remaining dignified worked on this occasion. The T-shirts are currently being investigated by the Fawcett Society if they are made in sweat shops under poor working conditions for women.  

The article points out the flaws of quick campaign messages, how effective are they long term for making progress for women? Dr Pankhurst stated; 

“Pulling on a T-shirt is far too easy a gesture to make.”

The women editor further stated; 

“It is far harder to address what Dr Pankhurst points out is the grim imbalance in the House of Commons, for example, where only 22 per cent of MPs are female.”

As we give women campaigns the focus they require for the correct reasons and develop what we see are a cause for concern, we need to be in the long haul. The drivers for change start with us and keep reminding us the complications of gesture, quick fix politics can back fire and take us back years. 


The campaign e-petition for #FreeGhonchechGhavami, the British Iranian imprisoned for protesting to watch a men’s volley ball match. She was working for a charity, teaching literacy to street children in the place she is now captive. The e-petition outlined below; 
Many have called for her immediate release, a staggering 700,000 urging the authorities to free her. Further information noted:

I hope politicians and change makers work tirelessly where real issues are addressed and make a difference like the one highlighted to #FreeGhonchechGhavami.