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Black Dresses

Black Dresses

Whether or not the average American watched the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, they likely ran across a few of the hard-to-avoid red carpet photos of female movie stars wearing black ensembles in a show of solidarity in support of the Times Up movement against sexual harassment.

I can’t crawl inside someone else’s mind to judge their sincerity for this cause. I do, however, find the idea of dressing up to “spread awareness” of any cause, no matter the cause, a bit pointless.

This is particularly fruitless when it involves dresses the majority of us poor, misinformed everymen and women couldn’t afford to wear. For example, many of the usual red carpet coverage reported black fashions from designers like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Tiffany, Chanel, Dior and other pricey labels.

I remember reading an article as far back as 2012, saying man “Oscar-worthy” actresses don gowns costing around $15,000, while shelling out around $1,000 more to have it tailored to fit. There are also the thousands of dollars in jewelry and accessories, make up, hair, teeth whitening, nails, bras and Spanx, dermatologists and trainers, just to be ready for an award show. In some cases, the actresses don’t have to use their own money for these, as the studio foots the bill for the perfect look.

I don’t know what year’s Golden Globes attendees spent on their looks, but they certainly weren’t to be off-the-rack frocks from Dress Barn or Target.

One piece, which was pointed out by many critics, was a “Poverty is Sexist” shirt worn by one actress. This came from a Lingua Franca line thats sells similar “Times Up” shirts for $360.

Another actress wore a Gucci design (if you want a cheap Gucci gown from the website, be ready to shell out around $5,800), and earrings from the Nirav Modi Luminance Collection that can run around $42,000.

Why does this even matter? Movie stars are supposed to be glamorous and glittery, and I am by no means slamming the designers. Some of the dresses were beautiful.

What matters to me is, whenever a I see a celebrity making a social statement by donning a color, little lapel ribbon, or cloisonné logo pin, I can’t help but think the average person making an anonymous donation to that same cause will do so much more.

For example, let’s look at that $360 top. It speaks about poverty, and there are plenty of hungry and homeless women — and men and children — in our country. Two charities fighting this are Feeding America (Feedingamerica.org) and Share our Strength (nokidhungry.org).

Feeding America claims $1 given to their cause will provide 10 meals for families in need, and Share Our Strength says $20 equals 200 meals! If this actress in the $360 shirt had decided to give that same amount to these charities fighting hunger, she could have helped provide 3,600 meals to families in need via Feeding America, and nearly 6,500 meals via Share our Strength.

How about a pair of earrings for $42,000, helping to accent a black dress fighting sexual harassment? The nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization is RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), at rainn.org. They say 93¢ for every dollar goes directly to helping survivors and preventing sexual violence, including helping around 558 survivors of these horrors via their hotlines each day.

While some women wear black to show support of other women, there have been plenty of women who have worn military fatigues to help project all Americans (as well as other nations). The Grace After Fire charity, graceafterfire.org, works to protect the woman veteran, struggling with “the wounds of post-traumatic stress, military sexual trauma, depression, or substance abuse.” Imagine the good $42,000 could do for these real women heroes.

In fairness to these “women in black,” I know there are many celebrities who DO donate significantly to charity, and I applaud them for it. You could also argue awareness raising fashions might encourage others to give to a cause, and I hope people will be inspired give financially to causes they support.

This year’s award season, however, does make you wonder how much more good could be done if everyone on that red carpet had decided to anonymously give the amount they spent looking charitable to organizations helping women in our nation and around the world, instead of showing off their compassion with fancy gowns.

True compassion and charity to me is a humble and quiet act. It just feels like flouncing your virtue along a red carpet tends to turn many people off and lessen the sincerity of the act, regardless of the cause.