This is old but I’m trying to be braver with posting written words.
My mini skirt is pieced together from jeans I’ve had since I was 15. The holes were made hopping fences and fucking in the backseat. Seven summers have bleached the denim from indigo to baby blue. I stitched the sides up in colours that suffragettes wore when they put bombs in churches and were force-fed by the state. When I wear my skirt, the women who did everything they could so that I could be heard walk with me. Timed with my heavily placed DMs, Gran’s tales from Greenham Common echo in my head, and my mum’s own brand of Dworkin feminism makes me shake my head. When I wear my skirt, I wear the prom dress that Flo handstitched for Angie one evening and the dungarees that broke Lynn’s housewife cycle. I wear the sequined cardigan that Cathy hid behind and the sharp suit that gathered dust on the knees as Julie crawled across the floor during dark times. I think of the women who have given me life and how they used fashion, or denied it, to make themselves, hide themselves, save themselves.
My heart was sandblasted when this skirt was jeans; it’s reincarnation hangs low on my hips after eating disorders and depression. I awkwardly pull the waistband up and over my empty stomach and people bemoan my skinny legs. And then men wolf whistle and though I shout, “Fuck you” in return, what I really mean is: I have a life and a history. My body has been weathered by rape and abuse and I carry the injustices of the women who made me. Women are born out of the emotional, physical and institutional oppressions of their mothers and aunts and sisters and all other women who have battled sexism into a struggle of their own. Like my skirt, I‘m a collective of fragments, only it‘s tattoos and muscle and the accumulated fury of generations of women who have been downtrodden that hold me together as opposed to patches and thread. That is something sacred; that is something deserving of so much more than your stupid kissy faces, so much more than your ridicule, your abuse, your rape.