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FASHION| Hairdos of Famous Feminists: Dismantling Patriarchy in Style

By Sarah Hudson
Fashion Columnist

I am proud card-carrying feminist. Although this article focuses on these three influential feminists’ hairdos (rather than their incredible contributions to feminism), it is in no way meant to demean their work snub their accomplishments. I simply like hairdos, and I like feminism—why not discuss them both?

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton is one of the O.G.s of American feminism. In the mid to late 1800s, Stanton was kicking ass and taking names in the early women’s movement. Her hairdo of choice: the butt-part with side pin curls and bun. This signature ‘do clearly served Ms. Stanton well because not only did she get married, pop out seven kids, and ignite the suffragist movement, she was also an influential leader in both the temperance and abolitionist movements. And let’s not forget about her girl Susan B. (whose butt-part trumps them all). Stanton and Anthony managed to make time for a little suffragette on suffragette action. (It was probably all those late nights drafting the Declaration of Sentiments and putting in pin curls that did it.) Although these butt-part rockin’ ladies didn’t live to see the realization of their suffragist dreams, their contribution to the movement and their hairdos will be permanently engraved in feminist history.
Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem

Maybe it’s because she worked undercover as a Playboy bunny or because of her influence on the 1970s women’s movement, but either way Gloria Steinem is my favorite feminist. Steinem rocked a bangin’ bouffant complete with face-framing highlights as she combated patriarchy. She demanded legal and social equality for women and looked damn good while doing it. Steinem worked tirelessly for women’s reproductive rights, marriage equality, the passage of the ERA, and much more. Her theories and commentary on liberal feminism were vital in shaping the issues of the movement, and her humor and bluntness attracted budding feminists across the country. Though her bouffant has slightly deflated in recent years, her vivacious feminist agenda is still in motion. At 75 Gloria is lookin’ good and posing big problems for patriarchy.

What famous feminist was a commie, a fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, a member of the Black Panthers, AND rocked a bodacious afro? Why Angela Davis, of course! Davis’ no-nonsense approach to issues of racism and patriarchy made her a force to be reckoned with in the 1970s and 80s. Her unapologetic kinks made her an icon, and her incredible contributions to the women’s movement made her a legend. Capitalism, racism, and sexism were no match against Angela Davis in her book Women, Race and Class. While Davis and her ‘fro have evolved over the years, she still remains a prominent feminist and one of the pioneers of the global feminist movement. With style and street cred to boot, Davis is an ideal role model for any budding feminist eager to take a stand.

Angela Davis

Angela Davis

All three of these fearless feminists played a critical role in claiming the rights for women that so many of us take for granted today. Even when they were pinning up curls, teasing their crowns, or picking their ‘fros, these feminists were constantly at work against patriarchy—and damn did they look good.


About wesleyanword

The Wesleyan Word is the official student newspaper of Wesleyan College. Operated and produced by students, The Word is printed twice per month during the fall and spring semesters. Online editions are released every Wednesday throughout the school year. Wesleyan College is a 4-year private residential college for women in Macon, Georgia. Established in 1836, Wesleyan College is the first college in the world to charter degrees to women.


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