What is style, really?
To gain true style, it takes far more than the inaugural observation of trends. A part of it is the fearlessness of wearing your heart on your literal sleeve—showcasing fashion that is individual and couldn’t be crafted by anyone besides you. But timeless style is as much about pushing the social boundaries of your time, as it is about what looks good on your body.
Our next style divinity is named Helene Cixous , a woman who encapsulates this entirely.
She is no actress, nor is she a model. Instead, she is an extremely unique professor at Cornell University who has published over 70 works of writing and has been one of the forerunners in contemporary feminist theory.
Cixous beats the stereotype of the bland, overworked professor and turns her passion for philosophy and literature into something hip and admirable. Her outfits are charged with loud patterns, including leopard, tribal, floral, and geometric. Printed clothing has always existed as a statement. It immediately asserts your presence, your dominance, and effortlessly communicates a feisty persona.
Although Cixous can often exhibit eccentricity through her clothing, she manages to pair it with poise and grace. This strong French intellectual maintains a sweet, yet inquisitive expression in all of her photographs. She proudly holds up her head, but her eyes look like they’re filled with a softness that comes from many experiences and many books read.
Cixous is the embodiment of a strong woman with a strong style, unafraid to speak her mind and unafraid to show her body. Now 76, she was also unafraid to run around on the career playing field with the men who dominated her philosophical studies. Instead, she beat them with her intellect, grit and, yes, sexuality.
She is one of the leaders of poststructuralist feminist theory and is fascinated by our relationship with sexuality and language. One of her famous essays is entitled “The Laugh of the Medusa” (1975), where she calls all women to fight against the male-dominated literary industry and produce stories that are true to their lives and their sexuality.
“Woman must write herself: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies-for the same reasons, by the same law, with the same fatal goal. Woman must put herself into the text-as into the world and into history-by her own movement.” Cixous, Helene. The Laugh of the Medusa. Signs. Vol. 1, No. 4, Cixous, Hélène. p. 875-893, Summer 1976. (English).
Cixous is unafraid to backlash against what she sees as patriarchal norms, but she does it with elegance and style. Her timeless style comes from her bravery in challenging and changing contemporary thought, through her writing, her speech and as well as through her clothing.
One last thing enjoyable about this style divinity is her use of clothing as commentary. Clothing can be read like writing. What you wear is your visual diary.
by Lisa Monozlai
About the Author:
Lisa Monozlai is a University of Toronto student studying political science and philosophy. She also works on a local radio show as a part-time journalist and advocates for women’s rights and other social justice issues. Along with writing, Lisa is a lover of images and style and wants to find a way to unite political commentary with aesthetic appeal.
+ Do you know a remarkably stylish individual over the course of history who inspires you, and you would like to share their spirit with us at The Eye of Faith? Email us your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org +
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