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LITTLE FEMINIST BLOG:
HOW IS INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISM RELATED TO SUSTAINABLE FASHION? 

Check out Little Feminist Blog, an incredibly diverse and essential set of discussions and exchanges, centering around Feminism. As she honorably fights against the patriarchal system, our blogger Lina shares her insights on the fashion industry.

Words By Sophie Badaoui

20/04/2021

@littlefeministblog

Intersectional Queer
Feminism

Born and bred in Berlin, Laura Melina Berling, commonly called Lina, is the brain behind Little Feminist Blog, an online platform serving to educate and discuss social and political topics related to feminism and the problems generated from patriarchy. As she also works at a youth center for girls, the Mädchen Kultur Zentrum, she recalls “I wanted to make struggles and different stories visible. Aligning with her background in social science studies and her strong advocacy for gender equality, she cultivates her passion for an “intersectional queer feminism” and channels her thoughts in various articles on Little Feminist Blog.

The idea came to her mind on her 30th birthday, as she wrote her first article regarding a tinder date with someone who turned out to be very sexist. Let’s admit it, most of us could relate to her! As her writing was shared by her friends, it rapidly gained attention, which encouraged her to start her amazing blog.

You might wonder how writing about feminism and intersectionality can be related to sustainability, more specifically in the fashion industry. Lina explains, “when it comes to fast fashion, lots of women have to work and they don’t get paid well. They don’t have secure working spaces and they get exploited. It’s not only women, but it’s mainly women.” Indeed, most of the garment workers are women who get unbearable treatment, may it be emotional, physical, mental or psychological. Lina considers capitalism as the biggest challenge to overcome in the fashion industry regarding human rights, reflecting, “everyone has to produce within capitalism and to survive, you have to make money. And if you want to make money in this world, you have to use and exploit people. It’s a system in which people are rich because other people are poor. That’s how it works.”

Laura Melina Berling

Laura Melina Berling

Sustainability is strongly correlated to the respect of the human race, and therefore to work towards more ethical and respectable working conditions, such as fair wages, gender equality in salaries, equal opportunities, and good treatment for both men and women in the supply chain. In this sense, fast fashion is a women’s rights issue. It is a form of disrespect towards them and their efforts in labor work. As Hayat Rachi wrote, “you cannot exploit women in one country to empower them in another”. 

Moreover, fast fashion poses another problem to feminism as it is usually an extremely sexist and racist industry. As a matter of fact, Lina highlights that “if you talk about body image, even if brands are accepting more types of bodies now and everything seems super diverse, it’s not always true. It’s like greenwashing. So they show people different kinds of models, but in general, it’s still the super skinny women and mostly white women who get featured. There are transgender women and black women, but they always have to talk about their stories.” Focusing on this last point, the matter of diversity doesn’t seem to be always genuine in the fashion industry. Why do larger women, women of color, or transgender women have to prove themselves when they’re supposed to be equal to white, skinny women?

Embrace
Imperfections 

Lina adds, “There is still a gender pay gap, there is still catcalling, there are women sexualized in advertisements and there is still a rape culture.”
In this perspective, fast fashion is extremely racist and sexist. When asked about how to improve the fashion culture in regard to this topic, Lina shares “I think we need larger sizes”, and although admitting that it requires adaptation and higher costs of production, she insists “I think this would be important.
So lots of different people with different body types and shapes can wear the clothes.”
Also, she expresses her hope to see, – without having to read or hear their story – more women of color, more transgender women, and more bodies with stretch marks and dimples, as it would promote genuine diversity and denormalize what is considered perfection.
After all, perfection is not human. What makes us truly and authentically human is our imperfections and we should embrace them!
Actually, she links this idea to sustainable fashion, admitting, “I think I see it more in a sustainable fashion.
Brands that show diverse bodies with body hair and stretch marks. I think they are linked because they show similar political goals. Sustainability and equal rights go hand in hand, so showing bodies that are realistic is sustainable to me.”

Olly Lingerie via staiy.com

Throughout her blog and her work at the youth center, Lina strives “to fight for equality, against racism, against sexism, and for the inclusion of people with disabilities.” She wishes to transmit a fundamental reality, that “gender doesn’t define us as much as we think, and people can have different identities.” With that thought in mind, she aims “to keep on fighting for people who don’t fit into the binary system and the ones who get discriminated against.” 

 @littlefeministblog

 @littlefeministblog

Expressing oneself

Not to forget, her blog illustrates the very notion of self-empowerment, entailing body celebration and sex education: for example, as portrayed in her “Soft Ass Bitch” article, celebrating and accepting one’s own body is crucial to one’s mental health and self-emancipation. As she writes about many topics related to sex and body acceptance in her blog, she sees fashion as a form of self-expression, more specifically an expression of one’s sexuality. As she collaborates with a Berlin lingerie label, she feels sexy and feminine in their pieces, but she insists on the fact that a woman can be feminine or masculine if she wants to, as again, fashion and personal style are simply ways of expressing oneself.

Inclusive Fashion

Last but not least, as many women still feel discriminated against by the fashion industry’s unattainable beauty standards and strict range of body measurements, she suggests, based on her own experience, to get surrounded by positive, respectful people, and a supportive and inspiring community, whether on social media or elsewhere. In the end, fashion should not be a form of bullying and a symbol of exclusion. People should not adapt to fashion, fashion should adapt to people, and their needs. It should represent inclusivity, featuring every gender, shape, form, color, size, ethnicity, age, or sexuality.