Five Hidden Ways Fashion Was Used to Subtly Say “F*** You!”13.12.2021
Natalie Portman is not a stranger in the world of award shows, nor is she unfamiliar with making a powerful feminist statement at one. If there were a Calm meditation that had her saying “Here’s the all male nominees at the 2018 Golden Globes,” we wouldn’t need melatonin anymore. Natalie Portman was adamant about pointing out the lack of female representation in the Oscars 2020 nominations.
Portman had the names and addresses of women powerhouse directors that were not included in Best Director nominations embroided in gold on her Dior cape as a show of solidarity. Fans and media loved her subtle criticism of the industry. She had the names of women powerhouse directors who were overlooked for Best Director nominations embroidered in gold on her Dior cape in a couture display of solidarity.
The British Monarchy is well-known for their jewelry collection. Although tiaras are the most obvious, the Queen’s brooch collection is the most interesting. Although the British Royal Family is supposed to be neutral or apolitical, Queen Elizabeth has shown her disapproval through her brooch choices on several occasions.
After Donald Trump’s 2018 state visit, the drama around her brooches arose because Queen Elizabeth wore three brooches that had significant meanings that reflected her disapproval for the former Commander-in-Chief. The first brooch was a simple moss-agate flower with gold accents and diamond accents. Twitter users spotted that it was actually a 1950’s brooch, which had been gifted to Queen Elizabeth by the Obamas during their 2011 state visit. Trump’s second day across the Pond, Queen Elizabeth wore a seemingly innocuous accessory: a snowflake brooch. Twitter users quickly pointed out that this was not an accident. The brooch, called the Sapphire Jubilee snowflake brooch, was a gift from Canada’s governor-general in the previous year. Trump made inflammatory comments on Twitter a month prior to his state visit. He blasted Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, for making these remarks following the G7 summit. As Donald Trump walked beside her, the Queen wore a brooch in the shape of a diamond teardrop. This brooch was also worn by her mother at her father’s funeral in 1952. It is immortalized in the haunting photograph, “Three Queens in Mourning.” Trump’s shrewdness in wearing a brooch that is famous for appearing at a state funeral is both elegant and indicative.
The Queen wore her Burmese Ruby, Diamond Tiara and Burmese Ruby to the state banquet in his honor. Burmese people believed that the 96 rubies could protect against sickness and repel evil spirits, so they gifted them to her. The Queen received the rubies as a wedding present. Some believe that she wore the tiara in honor of her husband. However, Queen Elizabeth’s past sartorial choices make it difficult to conclude that she wore it because it has sentimental value.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, wore the classic Little Black Dress during Donald Trump’s impeachment trials. This ensemble was worn twice to the impeachment hearings for Donald Trump. Pelosi’s tenure as a Congressional Representative means that she is not unfamiliar with political messaging through clothing. The black outfit sent a warning message to Trump’s administration, to signal an end to its reign terror. Pelosi’s LBD was paired with the Mace and Republic brooch and a gold necklace at the first impeachment proceedings. The mask and gold necklace combination were used at the second impeachment trials. Nancy Pelosi used color theory to show contempt for Trump on several occasions, including when she wore suffragette white to announce that the House would be writing articles of impeachment against him, and again at the State of the Union address where she was joined in the practice by her Democratic colleagues.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late Justice, was a strong advocate for women and a pioneer on many fronts. But one of her most significant achievements is still in fashion. Ginsburg used fashion to communicate her opinions on court opinions, elected officials and her peers. Ginsburg’s famous “dissent collar”, which is inspired by ancient Spartan armor, seems appropriate as Spartan women are known for having unprecedented freedoms in ancient Greek society. They were also known for being outspoken, and this is what Ginsburg looks like. Ginsburg was given a gift bag containing a Banana Republic necklace in the form of a “dissent collar”, which she actually received as a gift from the 2012 Glamour Women of the Year Awards.
In a similar fashion, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wore a Stella & Dot in the 2018 portraits of Supreme Court justices after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Dot collar that looks like a lot of silver layers, with details that resemble many layered feathers. These details could be taken to mean feathers that are similar to the Stymphalian or Greek mythology metal birds. They were pets of Artemis, the protector of young girls and women. These birds were mythologically man-killers, with bronze beaks. Their feathers could kill their prey. It’s a joke, but we would also wear a collar that represented the protectorate goddesses of killer birds if Brett Kavanaugh asked me to pose for a portrait. He had a lifetime appointment that could endanger my life.
Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State wrote “Read My Pins”, a book about her political fashion. It describes how she used her jewelry to communicate her views and thoughts to the American people. After Sadam Hussein’s comments about Albright as an “unparalleled snake” in his state-controlled media, Albright started her journey into fashion. Madeleine Albright used pins to fill the gaps to communicate what she couldn’t say publicly as a diplomat in America since that 1994 incident. Albright wore a bejewelled bug when Russians bugged the State Department. Albright’s accessories were not liked by one world leader, despite being charming to the public. In a 2010 interview, she spoke out about an incident that occurred at a summit between President Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin. She wore three monkey pins to comment on Russia’s “see not evil, hear nothing evil, speak not evil” policy in relation to their conflict with Chechnya. Albright didn’t fumble when Putin asked about her pins and said, later, “He wasn’t amused.” “I probably went too far.”
Our voices as women have been muted for many generations. We are reduced to physical items, regardless of our achievements in almost every area of life. These women used the one-dimensional schematic to show what they couldn’t state. Fashion allows leaders and powerful people to communicate messages of empathy, disdain and unity when explicit statements can lead to conflict. This skillful art form was used by women like Natalie Portman and Queen Elizabeth, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Madeleine Albright, and Nancy Pelosi to express intense discontent to those outside the entertainment or political spheres.