We are more than our dresses

The past couple months have been teeming with awards shows. The Golden Globes, Grammys, Oscars and People’s Choice Awards have all been televised so far this year. These awards shows are intended to acknowledge the outstanding work of actors, directors and musicians alike.

Over the years, there has been a shift in what the media and audience values in these events, and the original purpose has been all but forgotten. What was supposed to be an equal celebration of hard work and achievements in the workplace and life has become a chance to focus only on superficial aspects. This is especially true for women on the red carpet.

Reese Witherspoon had a lot to say about the #AskHerMore movement at this year's Oscars (Red Carpet Report/Flickr Commons)

Reese Witherspoon had a lot to say about the #AskHerMore movement at this year’s Oscars. (Red Carpet Report/Flickr Commons)

What these superstar women wear on the red carpet is both gorgeous and a good chance for designers to show off their own artistic creations to a large-scale audience. There is nothing wrong with admiring a woman who has confidence in herself and what she wears, or even the article of clothing itself. Jennifer Lopez and her Versace dress at the 2000 Grammys and Lupita Nyong’o’s Prada dress at last year’s Oscars (along with countless others in between) made major waves in the entertainment industry.

The problem doesn’t arise when we talk about what these women wear, but when that is the only aspect of their lives we discuss. While men on the red carpet get asked questions such as “What are your biggest accomplishments?” and “What impact has your work had on society?” their female counterparts are typically asked “Who are you wearing?” and “Could you turn around so we can see the back of your gown?” Recently, “mani cams” have been cropping up at award shows, which encourage female stars to model their hands and manicures for the camera while the men get asked more significant questions.

Reese Witherspoon called for a change this year, bringing to light the hashtag #AskHerMore leading up to the Oscars. The hashtag – which has since been reposted all over social media – supports the idea that reporters should inquire more about women’s successful careers and less about their outfits, jewelry and manicures.

In an interview on the red carpet at the Oscars, Witherspoon made the noteworthy comment about celebrities on the red carpet, stating, “We are more than our dresses.” This movement marks the beginning of a big push for women and men’s equality at these functions.

Judgment based on women’s attire isn’t exclusive to the red carpet. Successful women, whether they are in the spotlight or not, are consistently torn down for having the confidence to wear certain items of clothing. The amount of times Kim Kardashian has been ripped to shreds over what she wears is baffling. People describe her as a “hopeless mother,” “trashy slut” and “disgusting whore” all based on what she wears and how much skin she shows.

Newsflash: All humans have bodies. Women have breasts, thighs, stomachs and backsides just like everyone else. Shaming each other for showing them off or being self-confident in who we are isn’t right.

Kardashian’s confidence as a mother, businesswoman, model and face of an empire worth $65 million should be respected regardless of how she clothes herself. The same goes for many other successful women in the public eye. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and even Kate Middleton all have history of being slammed for attire that was seen as too revealing or inappropriate for someone with so much publicity. These comments all disregard the amazing causes these women stand for and work they do.

It is up to us as society to start a revolution in which women can be valued first and foremost for their attributions to society and accomplishments in their careers. Clothing only scratches the surface of what it means to be a woman. It does not define every aspect of a person’s life.