” I never realised until lately that women were meant to be the inferior sex”
That’s the quote that was placed upon an image of Katharine Hepburn, casually holding a piece of paper, perhaps wearing a matching capes and glove combo, styled with some moccasin-like shoes. And no trousers. Just her insanely long legs going on for days. Thankyou Buzzfeed for providing my daily “huh?” moment.
Katharine Hepburn was one of the most complex actresses of her time. She swiftly alternated between being praised and criticised for her performances – and for her unique sense of style. Hepburn was notoriously stubborn, refusing to allow the studios to control her private or public identities. Her sense of independence was conveyed in everything from her spirited voice to her unabashed athleticism. Her clothing ethics carried across into her acting roles – that fashion should be functional, but also reflect the character of the person wearing it.
SO SHE BECAME KNOWN FOR WEARING TROUSERS
Fashion commentators have touted her slack-wearing ways as the epitome of Old Hollywood subversion, and she is now praised as a unique style icon.
She wore trousers in publicity shoots, as part of her costumes, and in her everyday life. Hepburn's contemporaries also embraced trousers, overalls and the like but it went against the customs of dress at the time (and sometimes against the law). One of my favourite numbers was Joan Crawford's velvet trouser suit worn for a publicity shot in 1930, widely spread across Pinterest, but featuring in this stunning velvet compilation by blogger DirtyFabulous
The difference was in the cut and style of Hepburn's trousers. They were tailored much like men's trousers, with wide legs, high waists and a utilitarian feel rather than being fitted and designed to accentuate the grace of the feminine form (read: hips and thighs).
SO WHAT'S MY BEEF WITH THAT BUZZFEED PICTURE?
So when I saw this quote on THIS image, I didn't see the relevance of Hepburn's exposed legs. Is this Katharine Hepburn not realising the inferiority of the female sex? Or is this Katharine Hepburn realising it and destroying the idea of it ... by showing a whole lot of leg?
In their defence, the rest of the post does feature pictures of Hepburn wearing trousers, but none of these are paired with quotes on femininity. I love Katharine Hepburn, so I understand why they want to celebrate and throw around her wisdom like confetti. But I just plain don't get why you would include such a powerful statement about female identity on a really bizarre photo.
You might get now that this picture isn't the coolest thing I've seen this week. But you know what is?