Traditionally, I’ve tried to keep my political opinions and Diamonds in the Library pretty separate. You can tell what I think about certain things by looking at what links I share in my “What I’m Reading” posts, and even more easily if you follow me on Twitter, but I’ve kept my opinions about current events off of the blog, for the most part.
After this most recent Presidential election, I feel strongly that some things are just too important to stay quiet about. It is in that spirit that I bring you today’s roundup of feminist jewelry to wear while you smash the patriarchy.
Say it loud, proud, and with a cute little hammer.
I love feminist jewelry because there’s something deliciously subversive about taking an item that’s ostensibly intended to adorn women, something delicate and pretty, and turn it on its side as an expression of defiance and strength instead.
Every single one of these picks is an individual designer or an independent artist – if you purchase any of these feminist jewelry designs, your money will be going to support the arts, not a big corporation.
When it comes to fine jewelry, few designers are representing the feminist agenda more thoroughly than Wendy Brandes.
Her “BOSSY” and “NASTY” necklaces come to mind first, but if you look through Wendy’s website, you’ll see that the majority of her high end pieces are inspired by great women of the past, and her entire “Maneater” collection is dedicated to the idea of powerful women. Then there are all of her delightfully irreverent emoji studs, which can be worn in any number of ways.
Purchase of the BOSSY or NASTY necklaces also gets you a donation to Planned Parenthood in your honor.
What is a Black Lives Matter button doing in a post on feminist jewelry? It’s your visual reminder that feminism is nothing if it isn’t intersectional. For more discussion on this topic, here are some excellent resources from Book Riot (a whole list of books!) or articles from Everyday Feminism, Bustle, and Jill of All Trades.
100% of the proceeds from this particular #BLM button are donated directly to the movement.
This is Jessica Kagan Cushman’s Victorian-inspired “the bird” pendant. She posted a photo of it on Instagram shortly after the election, and I ordered one immediately. It’s a very feminine hand, rendered in a style from an era when women were extremely limited as to acceptable behavior, and it’s giving the world the middle finger.
To me, this pendant is a promise I’m making to myself to speak up about the issues that matter to me, even when it’s awkward or risky (like lifting my personal ban on talking politics here on the blog). I want to remind myself of how furious I was on November 8th and use that energy to raise my voice against the things I find unconscionable instead of smiling and nodding. I’d rather make people uncomfortable than live in a world where sexism, racism, and xenophobia are the accepted policies of top political officials.
These safety pin coat hangers are a beautiful and chilling pro-choice statement from Katelin Gibbs. They’re feminist jewelry at its fiercest, and a poignant reminder of what’s at risk if Roe vs Wade really is attacked.
50% of the proceeds from Gibbs’ little golden coat hangers are donated to Planned Parenthood.
These utterly delightful pop art feminist jewelry designs are all from the same artist, Modern Girl Blitz on Etsy.
These are all enamel pin versions, but many of them come in stickers and/or t-shirts too, so if you like what you see here, you should go check out the rest of her work.
Yes, Hilary Clinton lost, but that doesn’t reduce the value of her rallying cry. It resonated instantly with thousands (millions?) of women who are tired of smiling politely as men interrupt us.
It’s another iteration of Tina Fey’s legendary “bitches get stuff done” and the classic “Well-behaved women rarely make history” – and I think we’ll all have plenty of opportunities over the next four years to feel that speaking up is more important than making everyone feel comfortable.
If you have boobs, you’ve probably had the experience of feeling unsafe because of someone staring at your chest. Or maybe you’ve been made to feel uncomfortable because yours are supposedly too small, too large, or too something else. These cheeky Nora Kogan rings celebrate breasts: probably the part of the female body most frequently relegated to being just an object of pleasure for consumption by the male gaze. Breasts really are quite spectacular in their own right, when you remember the whole “producing food for baby humans” part.
Bonus: punch someone while wearing one of these boob rings, and you’ll pack much more of a wallop than you would otherwise.
(Do me a favor, though: if you’re white, stick to the white boobs or the gold boobs.)
This UK-based artist makes jewelry out of wood, and her pieces are quite lovely. Here are two of her feminist jewelry designs – she has more, but these were my favorite.
They’re pretty and flowery, for those of us who like our feminist jewelry to be pretty and flowery (nothin’ wrong with that).
This necklace apparently says “Feminist” in Klingon, which is just so out there that I can’t help but love it. There’s no reason you can’t be a Trekkie AND a feminist.
Thank you for existing, Etsy.
Some more pop art fabulousness from RiotCakes, another bright, bold Etsy store that’s completely worth your time. Their slogan is “Accessorize for the System’s Demise.”
I especially love Rebel the unicorn cat, who is here to remind us that intersectionality is about more than just skin color. Just because someone’s experience of womanhood is different from yours doesn’t mean they don’t have equal claim to being a feminist.
These two tell it like it is. Both from the same Etsy shop, which has an entire section dedicated to feminist jewelry.
I want to take a moment to address the contradiction inherent in the idea of supporting a cause by spending money on accessories that remind you of that cause. Yes, would be a much more direct action to donate $200 to Planned Parenthood instead of spending it on a piece of feminist jewelry. Donating to Planned Parenthood is wonderful and I encouraging you to do it.
But spending money on something that gives you strength – a talisman that you can wear to remind yourself of what you believe in, that can give you the energy to argue with your racist uncle or tell the guy who touches your ass on the metro to go fuck himself – that’s worth something, too. Fighting for what you believe in is hard, and if having a symbolic reminder of what matters to you will help you stay the course, or make you smile on a day when you wake up feeling like everything is impossible, that matters too.
If it does nothing but help you protect your heart, it’s a worthy investment.
You could also buy a piece of feminist jewelry well within your budget, and then donate the same amount to a charity like the Southern Poverty Law Center or Black Lives Matter. (Scroll up if you need to review those articles about intersectionality.)
Another approach: pick out the most expensive piece of feminist jewelry you love, buy a cheaper one instead, and donate the difference to the charity of your choice. Maybe RAINN, if Planned Parenthood doesn’t feel right for you.
Sexual assault survivors aren’t going to forget anytime soon that our country elected a president who is a-okay with grabbing women by the you-know-what.
Speaking of which: I love that this piece puts its message directly on a meat cleaver. There’s no need to be nice about certain issues.
This is not jewelry, but it does rock.
Now go forth and smash some patriarchy, my darlings. And know that if you feel overwhelmed sometimes by the pain and the rage, you’re not alone.