Thursday, 22 May 2014

Woman wears the same dress twice

Sarah Millican in the offending dress at the 2013 Baftas
The comedian Sarah Millican wore the dress that she wore to last year's Baftas twice. She wore it again for this year's Baftas (although she didn't actually attend). I know, it's pretty shocking.

This fact has been all over the internet. Millican was wearing the dress to make a point, as she explains in this article for the Radio Times, after last year her night out to the award ceremony ended in tears when she was slated for the way she looked on the red carpet.

Crimes against fashion and feminism

This story isn't about to rock the feminist world. It's a small tale about a single privileged and successful individual.

Having someone insult your dress at the Baftas isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

As Millican points out, she’s a comedian. Her job is to make people laugh, not to stand about looking pretty.

Millican-gate is a symptom of the fact that we see women’s bodies and the way they clothe them as something for public consumption. How dare Millican show herself at a high-profile public event with her over-size-8 body and department store dress! Twice!

If we object to her dress, maybe we should be asking why, as she says: "Fancy expensive designer shops are out for me as I’m a size 18, sometimes 20, and I therefore do not count as a woman to them."

Red carpet action

Red carpet dresses (and people) at the 2012 Golden Globes
Showbiz events such as the Baftas are attended by actors and models, many of whom do make a living from looking pretty (and acting a bit too). The red carpet is also a showcase for designers, as exorbitant frocks are paraded for the camera, in the knowledge that the world is watching and judging. 

And so, watching and judging, lots of people on Twitter felt it was OK to comment on Millican's figure and attire. Forgetting, or not caring, that famous and successful though she is, she is also a woman. And we get very upset when other people (usually other women) mock the way we look.

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