If you’re living in the Palouse you may have seen me strutting around in a black dress these past six days. The same one. It’s a black sweater dress with nothing really significant about it, except the thick fabric I picked to brave endless cycles in the washing machine and the cold weather of December in the east of Washington state.
It’s been cold here, today the sky spit bits of snow that stuck for barely a moment before fading into the damp grass again, but we’re lucky to have maintained warm enough temperatures that the white dandruff doesn’t have the stamina to stick around. Something I’ve been particularly grateful for considering that my litany of allergies includes an intolerance to the cold that turns me into one massive walking welt-factory in freezing temperatures. A hindrance that is not particularly welcome during a season in which I have pledged to wear a dress throughout the entirety of December. So why subject myself to such torturous behavior?
The simple answer is that wearing a dress in the dead of winter raises eyebrows, and those raised eyebrows lead to conversations, and conversations breed opportunities to talk about advocacy, and advocacy is the avenue by which we must be approaching the victims of the systemically thriving business of slavery in the modern world.
The Dressember Movement was borne out of one woman’s desire to do more. It began as a style challenge, and today it has recruited legions of women (and men) throughout more than 30 countries to raise their voice on behalf of Human Trafficking victims. Dressember is a collaborative effort to move toward a better world that has eradicated the issue of slavery all together, partnering with organizations like International Justice Mission and A21 Campaign has allowed something as simple as wearing a dress every day for a month into a tool for the progression of a better world. According to the campaign’s official call to arms, Dressember is a creative campaign that has made, and continues to make, massive strides towards advocating for the dignity of all people by declaring freedom for all women through celebrating true and courageous femininity.
And that is precisely why it is a movement that I am so proud to stand behind. Dressember is a campaign that believes that advocacy is a collaborative effort that hinges on unity and celebration rather than division, and has sought a creative and innovate avenue to raise awareness against an issue that I believe to be extremely important. I believe that women should never be exploited for their femininity, and throughout the Christmas season we have the unique opportunity to champion the cause of women and serve those who have been caught in the vicious cycle of human trafficking.
There are a million and one reasons why I am in full favor of this campaign, and am proud to be participating for the second year.
I think something that is particularly special about this campaign is the idea that it is not about picketing or raising our voices to bash ignorance, but rather championing something that has so often been corrupted. It, in essence, reclaims the gentility and the beauty of femininity in a world which tells us that if a man holds a door open for us then he is disrespecting our independence. The road to reclaim my own femininity in a delicate and gentle sense has been a long and arduous journey. This is something that I have felt particularly called to these past few years as I grow into adulthood, but more so grow into my own skin. We live in a world which so often tells us to hate the skin that we have been given, that often tells us that we’re failing before standing behind us, and for women (and men, but we can talk about that another time) this often manifests through tearing away the bits of our feminine character that may be perceived as weakness.
The dress itself is a massive statement. Dresses mark a certain type of delicate femininity often taken for granted, and in the case of this campaign, mark something incredibly unique. Throughout the world women are victimized for their femininity alone, and the Dressember movement rears its head against senseless victimization and advocates for the inherent dignity of all people and believes that all women have the right to “live a vibrant and autonomous life.”
I am proud to wear a dress every day for the next 31, and this year I have taken on the challenge of wearing the same one!
I hope that this quick blurb has helped you understand the “Why,” and now I ask if you would consider joining me in a campaign to liberate women and end one of the biggest injustices facing our world today.
I am a part of a team participating in the Dressember movement, and along with the other lovely women in my club, WSU In It To End It, we have created a fundraising page and have committed to wearing a dress every day of December together.
Consider donating here.
If you are a man, consider wearing a bowtie every day of the month, and if you are looking for other ways to get involved and want to know more about the movement itself please visit the Dressember page here.
To follow my daily progress throughout the month, follow me on twitter here. And be sure to track #Dressember and #ItsBiggerThanADress on social media!
Until next time, wonder on. xoxo
*Update: the day after writing this it snowed all night and we now have seemingly endless amounts of snow and below freezing temperatures, but we will stay #Dressember strong!