Best/Worst Dressed: Why does it MATTER?

It’s a tradition as old as the Oscars themselves: the best/worst dressed lists. And this, folks, is a tradition which I despise. Especially amongst the current debate that 2013 Academy Award host Seth MacFarlane was too sexist in his joke deliveries. Why are we, as women and feminists, so publicly ok with the defamation of each other based on choice of wear but so publicly against the jokes made by men? Shouldn’t we, as a gender, be more concerned with how we label and decorate one another? The advancement of any minority, be it in gender or race, relies first and foremost on the cohesion of the minority peoples themselves. Yet in the media, each year, it seems we are far more concerned with the way women are poked fun at by hosts and comedians than by the way women are degraded and mocked based on a choice in fashion that highlights personality. Even more astonishingly, degraded and mocked by other women themselves.

The best and worst dressed lists are just one thing. Each year magazines publish photos proclaiming women as saints of fashion for choosing what is in, what is simple, what is stylish- but bashes and mocks (via caption) those women who decide rather to showcase their personality and personal style- and I can’t, for the life of me, reason why. Fashion, in my personal opinion, is subjective. It is a way in which we express our feelings, our style, and ourselves. Whether someone likes what you wear or not, you are entitled to wear it because it makes you feel good. There is no reason at all that one should feel guilt in their choices or embarrassed of what they like, yet each awards season many women are made to feel bad for expressing themselves as different from the rest.

Even more embarrassing, in my opinion, are the shows dedicated to putting down other women’s choices. Fashion Police on the E! network, for example, is a half hour of television critiquing women, and occasionally men, on their choices in formal and casual wear. And it is certainly sad how often the show focuses on looks appropriate to weight. Not to mention host Joan River’s constant critique of the celebrities’ facial looks. These shows are toxic to the young mind. These shows serve as an example- saying it’s ok to judge and mock what people choose to wear because fashion itself is something to be judged. But, in my personal opinion, it is a form of public bullying. I personally cannot fathom the feeling of embarrassment I would feel from being publicly humiliated about a choice in outfit I was excited about. As someone with a weird sense in fashion, myself, I see no reason to care what others think of what I wear because what I wear makes me feel good. This is a night to celebrate the art of film, not to degrade women as though they were Barbie dolls being dressed by others- if anything, choices in dress, whether liked or disliked, should be celebrated.

So next award season as you sit with your friends to watch the celebrities walk that red carpet, keep in mind that these are people just like you. Their weight, looks, and dress should in no way render opinion about his or her success. Judging and mocking other women, for any reason, does not help the cause. Men are so rarely mocked for their choice in wear because their options are few- instead we, as a public, remember them for their successes. So stop choosing a best dressed with you friends and start choosing favorites in women based on career success, best speech, or best self-representation. After all, at this point, if we as women do not take our work and ourselves seriously, how can we expect others to?


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