As Festival Fashion Trends Evolve, Let's Put Judgemental Commentary In The Bin
Let's try be a bit more accepting of peoples' festival wear, however out there it may seem.
Words by Michelle Thomas. Header photo via Origin Fields.
When it comes to the latest fashion trends, Australia tends to be late to the party. If you find something new during your trip to Europe, you can almost guarantee it won’t be gracing our shores for at least another six to 12 months. The most recent of these trends can be seen in women’s rave wear. If you have been to a festival this summer season I’m sure you have seen it; the fishnet stockings, sparkly booty shorts and pasties. New rave wear styles have been showing a lot more sparkle, spandex and skin.
This fashion statement might be a little more recent to Australia but is nothing new to most parts of the world. Festivals throughout Europe, Canada and America have been featuring the rave wear we are seeing now, for years.
It seems this new fashion statement might be moving forward, but there is one major thing that remains incredibly outdated; the judgemental attitudes towards women choosing to dress this way.
Over the Australian summer festival season I have beared witness to some of the most atrocious attitudes by women, towards women choosing to adopt this new style.
“How does she think that looks ok, it’s disgusting.”
“I’m sorry but going to a music festival doesn’t give you an excuse to wear lingerie in public.”
“She looks like a hooker with no self -respect.”
“Wearing underwear to a festival is just wrong.”
There is nothing that gets me riled up more than hearing a woman judge another woman about her clothing choice. Mainly because a person’s choice of clothing is completely redundant to the opinions of others (unless of course you’re culturally appropriating). It especially
pisses me off when the clothing in question is festival attire.
Festivals are more than a place for people to enjoy live music. Festivals are a space for everyone to creatively express themselves where they otherwise may not have the ability to in conventional life. In the ‘real’ world of obligations and professionalism, festivals have become a rarity outlet in which people can embrace the fringe, let their hair down and enjoy.
In judging people for what they are wearing at a festival, you are promoting unhealthy rave culture. You are inviting negativity into a space where everyone has arrived with the same goal – to have a good time. Whichever way a person choses to do this, if it’s not harmful to
themselves or others, is no-one’s business but their own.
In other words; How you feel about what another woman wears to festivals doesn’t matter. It doesn’t fucking matter. End of story.
Being a woman, you are subject to scrutiny at every level. Society gets to dictate how long our skirts are, how ‘on fleek’ our eyebrows are, and how smooth our skin is. The world even seems to get a say in how our vaginas look, dictating down to the last pubic hair, some
women are even sourcing surgery to have that porn-perfect pussy.
Don’t wear anything too short, you’ll look slutty. But don’t wear anything too long because you’ll look prudish, geez don’t you want to look good? But you can’t try too hard, people will be able to tell. You need to put in a lot of effort to look effortless. You can only have one thing out at one time; boobs, bum or legs-pick one. Otherwise you’ll look like a tramp. Honestly, some girls just have no idea.
It’s exhausting to feel like every single move you make will be looked under a magnifying glass and picked apart by your peers.
It’s hard being a woman, and it really bothers me when I hear/see women giving other women a hard time. Like, fuck, isn’t it enough the whole world is hard on us? Do you really need to take a piece of the big shitty pie that is female oppression?
In the last year I have had the privilege to experience festivals from all over the world. I have seen women in unicorn onesies, fluoro furry leg cuffs and lingerie. I have seen women in catsuits, in pasties and even completely nude. There is so much beauty in the festivals I have attended, not because of what the women were wearing, but because of the overwhelming acceptance that comes with it.
Image via Mosh In The Big Smoke.
When we practice acceptance, compassion and understanding at festivals some awesome things begin to happen. We create a safer space for people to enjoy themselves, ensuring everyone is feeling their best and most comfortable. In not passing judgement we create a
positive culture, less prone to violent and unsocial behaviours. In keeping a healthy festival culture, we are contributing to the longevity of music festivals in Australia.
But we don’t even have to go that big, practicing non-judgement has enormous benefits at the individual level. In deciding (because it IS a decision) to negatively judge someone, you have already written the narrative for her story. She could work in the same industry as you, she might also love performing arts, burritos and hiking. You could both laugh at the same jokes and watch the same movies, this girl could be your dearest friend. But you have royally cut that interaction short, solely because she’s wearing something you don’t like.
See how dumb it sounds now? Good.
Even if you don’t find any similarities, I know 100% that she experiences the same displacement and hurt from judgement as you do. Because, well, she’s a woman, she’s human. That alone should be enough to stop this tiresome social commentary.
How about next time you see a fellow raver in clothing you don’t like, instead of automatically assuming she is “out for attention”, perhaps maybe remind yourself that everyone is entitled to choose the way that they dress. That it’s fine if how she wishes to express herself is different to how you do. That if we all lived in a world where everyone looked the same, it would be boring as shit and that perhaps your opinion on what is acceptable works for you, but doesn’t translate to anyone else.
More importantly, next time you are feeling the urge to judge someone who feels comfortable enough to freely express them self, perhaps take the time to consider why you are feeling that way. Could it be a form or transference, where it upsets you to see what you lack, in someone else? Maybe this could be an important learning piece for you, to unpack some personal insecurities.
Photo by @ariana_visuals.
It shows true integrity when you choose to look within rather than externally blaming others for your own insecurity. You could even ask someone how they came to learn to freely express without fear of being judged. You could learn a thing or two, and make a friend in the process.
If that is doesn’t resonate with you, then follow this simple rule; If voicing your opinion would humiliate, offend or hurt the person you are speaking about, then keep that opinion to yourself. It’s basic human decency.
In a world where women are constantly scrutinised, objectified and suppressed, a little bit of compassion, acceptance and understanding can go a long way.
Support your fellow woman, we are all battling together.