Oscars 2018: No Equality in Fashion
Every year my mom likes to play a game when award season rolls around. This game involves trying to find a dress that she could wear - in other words, a dress that isn't sleeveless, backless, or sheer, and that doesn't have a plunging neckline or a slit so high you risk pulling a Britney if the wind blows.
This year I decided to play that game with my mom. I watched the entire red carpet pre-show (lost a lot of brain cells in the process), as well as the entire Oscars performance, and here is the list of actresses I came up with who wore dresses I could wear:
- Maya Rudolph
- Meryl Streep (neckline was a little plunging, but otherwise ok)
- Helen Mirren (both her Vanna White dress as well as her presenting dress)
- Eva Marie Saint
- Frances McDormand
- Sally Hawkins
- Jane Fonda
- Jodie Foster (never mind that this photo makes her appear weirdly small, or J.Law freakishly tall)
- Faye Dunaway
- Allison Janney
That's it. Out of the hundreds of actresses who were there last night, I found 9 whose dresses I could wear, and only one whose age is even somewhat close to mine. Now, I choose my dress standards based on my religious beliefs and the temple covenants I have made with God, but surely I am not the only woman out there who would like to wear a dress that doesn't openly display their chest or squeeze them so tightly they can't walk or sit properly. Surely, in our world of equality and diversity and breaking free from the chains of male-dominated chauvinism, the sleeveless/strapless/form-fitting look isn't the only way we define beauty, right?
Wrong, apparently. For a world of women straining with their might to break every glass ceiling imaginable, it seems odd that we still define female beauty by how much skin we show. The men cover up and we call them dashing. The women cover up and we call them boring. But why? Why can't a dress with sleeves be just as beautiful and stunning as a dress without? Why does it have to be backless? Why are mini skirts more appealing than knee-length skirts? Why are short shorts easier to find than Bermuda shorts? Does it just all come down to sex appeal? (They are called "booty shorts" for a reason, you know.) If it is sex appeal, then we really haven't come that far in our quest for equality, have we?
Expanding this to a more practical note - just once, it would be nice not to dread summer shopping - to be able to walk into a store and say, Hey! There are actually things in here I can wear! I made a pact to myself recently that I was not going to buy any more clothing that I had to alter to wear (i.e., a cardigan over a sleeveless top, etc.). Let me tell you how much that has narrowed down my clothing options. Now, whenever I see a dress that has sleeves and goes to my knees, I buy it no matter what, because I might not see another one again for a long time. Along those lines - I really admire Michelle Obama as a person, but when she started wearing sleeveless tops and dresses I just sat back and kissed shopping goodbye for the next 8 years, not because I care that she wore sleeveless outfits, but because it meant that every clothing designer wasn't going to make anything BUT sleeveless outfits, and with my new pact, that meant all I had were my mother's department stores. Luckily I had enough clothes that I could get by for a few years without shopping. Call it my own personal shopping preparedness.
Nevertheless, here is my call to arms today - I would like to issue a challenge to the designers out there to expand the scope of their fashion that it becomes just as diverse as the people they're dressing. Make cutoffs and tank tops for the girls who want them, but also make Bermuda shorts and T-shirts for the girls who want those too. Give us a chance to be beautiful without being revealing. Dress us for the world we're trying to create - not the one we're trying to escape. And if you need a guinea pig for next year's Oscars, you know where to find me.