The exploration of an aspect of EDM culture, through the lens of a Women's Studies major.
How a body is adorned and dressed is a mere reflection of a culture's ideals. These adornments define a society's perception of what must be accentuated, covered, exposed, and what is ultimately deemed beautiful or grotesque. Clothing is intertwined in our daily livelihood, and is deeply rooted in our identity; it enables us to express who we are within the boundaries of confinements that are set from unspoken societal restrictions. Deciding how to dress is sometimes, in a way, an option for us to have the power to resist (or conform) to these societal decrees.
EDM Clothing Trends
Before reading this article, I think this slideshow
gives a great mini history on EDM clothing.
Nonetheless, EDM culture has had a huge change in clothing attire since the 1980’s. Clothing at raves was all about comfort; people wore baggy clothing and bright colors. This trend shifted in the early 2000’s, when the kandi culture was born, including the rise of furry clothing and female doll impersonations, mixed with the use of go-go dancer costumes. Now the clothing that the EDM culture brings about has a wide range; it encompasses individuals who spend hours planning and decorating meticulous outfits, all the way to individuals who run around half naked with nothing but pasties and a thong.
Why am I writing this?
This article is going to focus on the current debate centered around whether or not EDM culture brings about clothing trends that liberate women, and allows them to express who they are... or if this new attire subjects women to become mere objects of display.
My Female Perspective
As a woman in my twenties, I feel like I have a pretty solid understanding as to why I wear certain things; I feel like after graduating college, I also have a strong understanding of who I am as an individual. I feel that when a strong, confident woman wears exposing clothing at music festivals or events, she is automatically deemed as an "easy woman seeking attention".
I feel like if a woman wants to expose her body, then that's her business, as long as she dresses in a way that provides herself with liberation.
If a female dresses to seek approval from the opposite sex, and is solely out for that motive, that's when dressing in exposing and outrageous clothing shifts from a woman's ability to liberate herself from societal restrictions, to becoming a mere object of display subjected to the patriarchal ideals of beauty and sexual desire.
When I go to events, I wear a lot of glitter, not because I quest to be looked at and admired, but simply because I think it's shiny and blingy, and makes me feel fabulous. The clothing I wear at events is meant to allow me to say F U to the society's expectations of what makes a proper woman (a.k.a. one's that wear collared shirts, and cover every aspect of their body). I
am proud of being a woman, and if I am sweating from jumping around, dancing, and vibing to the music at a festival, I am going to be wearing clothing that breathes with me. To play devil's advocate, don't men take off their shirts and wear cut-offs, because they are all warm and sweaty at events?
The Male Perspective on Female EDM Clothing or "Ravewear"
I asked a variety of men about their perspective on women's current rave clothing trends. I am not saying that this is a true representation of all men, these were just the answers I received from asking random guys at EDM events. The reason I asked for the opposite sex's opinion when writing this article was to prove a point.
The point was that most men do not care if a women wears something because she is self-expressive or not self-expressive; to them, a breast is a breast, and a bottom is a bottom. For example, when I asked some men about their opinions on decorated bras, this is what a majority of the men concurred with: “I prefer pasties, but then again which 18 year old boy doesn't (chuckles a little). But hey, if a girl wears some sparkly bra thing, I am not complaining.”
I then asked another man what he thought about the EDM clothing trend "fluffies". He responded, “I mean, they are cool I guess, as long as the girl who is wearing it is hot, that's cool. I like that it brings attention to the leg of a woman.”
Rarely did I meet a man who was genuine in regards to a woman expressing herself; I asked one man about how he felt towards women wearing glitter and he said, “I mean it's messy, it's annoying, but if a girl can wear it, and it makes her happy, and allows her time during the musical event to be enhanced because of what she puts on, then let it be. It's like how some guys paint their bodies during football games to express their passion for a team; if girls put glitter on because it makes them feel closer to the music and event, then let it be.”
This why I keep stressing the importance of why it is so pivotal for women to dress for themselves, to make them feel their best, and to enjoy the ambiance and the music to the maximum. What color bra you wear, or all the rhinestones that are meticulously placed might go unnoticed; so when putting together outfits, do it literally for yourself. If you don't do it for yourself, you are subjecting yourself as a mere object. If you want to wear themed-based outfits, go for it! The fact that you dressed the way you wanted to, and did so for yourself, that is what liberation is all about!
Overall, I believe that if a woman wears clothing trends that are popular in EDM culture right now, her intentions must be pure. She should dress in that manner simply to make herself feel free, as an avenue of expression, and the ability to come as she is. Once these intentions are tainted by her deeming herself as an object of desire, that's when the clothing becomes non-liberating. Other then that, to each their own, and as I love to always say, "Do you boo boo, cause I am gunna do me."
These are merely my thoughts and ideas - please feel free to dissent!