I thrifted this dress last March and promptly forgot I had it. I dug it out yesterday, and I’m glad I did – it’s basically the perfect holiday dress. These photos looked great when I edited them on my laptop, but on the computer I’m posting from – my work one, sue me – they look strange and over-sharp. Ah well. If they look terrible for you, you know what to blame.
Dressember started a few days ago, and, as usual, I have mixed feelings about it. For those who don’t know, Dressember participants wear only dresses for 31 days to raise money for the International Justice Mission. I discussed on my writing blog why I will not be participating, and I’ll quote myself here:
IJM’s stated goals:
IJM works to combat violence including sex trafficking, forced labor slavery, illegal property grabbing, police abuse of power, child sexual assault, and citizenship rights abuse.
While combating illegal property seizure, police violence, and citizenship rights abuse is incredibly important, anti-trafficking organizations are notoriously terrible on all those fronts. Claiming, simultaneously, to be against trafficking and against police brutality and the overreach of the state into marginalized people’s lives is an oxymoron.
Dress: vintage, thrifted
Shoes: from Kristina
Everything else: thrifted
Before you rebut that trafficking isn’t the same as consensual sex work, I’d recommend taking a look at the links above. “Trafficking” is a nebulous term and an even more nebulous concept. Spokeswoman Niki Adams for the English Collective of Prostitutes points out that immigrant women involved in the sex trade are often considered trafficked by mere dint of their migrant status. She writes:
Trafficking is used as an excuse and a justification for raids on premises and arrests of immigrant sex workers which are ultimately and actually just immigration raids. It’s a way of enforcing immigration controls in a very repressive and heavy-handed way, but with the veneer of an anti-trafficking initiative and the idea that you’re saving victims.
I’m not shaming those who participate in Dressember. It’s better to donate to a flawed charity than not to donate at all. Lots of people I respect are participating in Dressember, and I know they’re doing so out of a desire to better the world. Vetting everything you support financially can be exhausting. Our money will always go, in part, to things we don’t support. That’s part of living in this world; far be it from me to demand purity of anyone.
That said, I would encourage anyone participating in Dressember, or donating to a friend who is, to donate an equivalent amount to a sex workers’ rights organization. SWAAY offers a great list of such organizations here. If you can’t afford more than one donation, I would recommend donating to a sex worker org instead. Dressember has enough participants that you probably won’t be missed; sex work orgs, by contrast, are often drastically underserved.
Read the whole post here.