By Rin Wada and Yuri Igarashi
Dressember is in ACTION as 41 students and 2 teachers at ISS are wearing lovely dresses to school everyday while they advocate for the inherent dignity of women! We even have two male participants this year, Tommy and Boris, showing us that feminism is not about hating men but it is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
As of this writing, Team ISS Dressember has so far raised approximately 1,181 US Dollars and this money will be directly sent to the International Justice Mission and A21, which are two anti-trafficking organizations which help to rescue victims of modern-day slavery and restore their lives.
You can support the movement by donating to the team fundraising page or by donating to individual participants (clicking their names below will take you to each of their fundraiser pages). Every dollar every cent will make a difference to lives of the victims of modern-day slavery all over the world.
Here are the 18 good reasons why Team ISS Dressember is wearing a dress for the 31 days of December:
Today I am wearing a dress, and no, I am not “asking for it”. Today I am wearing a dress to raise awareness of an issue that makes people uncomfortable, and many would rather not talk about. Today I am wearing a dress, so that we can be a step closer to finally waking up to a society where we can leave the house wearing what we want without having to stop and ask ourselves if we are putting ourselves in danger.
Today I’m wearing a dress for all the people who use the word “provocative” to describe a style of dress. Surely this suggests that an item of clothing actually provokes something. Attention? Desire? Rape? … No. Women don’t cause rape by what they wear. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault.
Today I am wearing a dress for the girls who are called shameful things just because they speak their mind and follow their own rules. For some reason if a man sleeps with multiple woman he is seen as a “god” but if a girl did the same thing they would call her promiscuous and such. Just because we have different body parts does not mean that society can judge us base on our actions.
Today I am wearing a dress for the phrase, ‘like a girl’. Is it supposed to be some sort of an insult? That being a girl is such a bad thing? People often use it to point out people who are ‘weak’ or too ‘feminine’. Being a girl is a statement worth having pride on. I run like a girl. I talk like a girl. I am a girl and I am not ashamed of it.
Today I am wearing a dress for my male friends who were unable to participate in this campaign because of their cultural backgrounds. Today 190 countries do not support LGBT marriage and out of those countries 10 of them penal homosexuality with death. Who decided that homosexuality is a sin? I believe that we are not born with a gender and everyone goes through a time in their life where they question their sexuality. It is the society that shapes our gender and we cannot let this happen. We must fight for the freedom of being whatever we want to be and love whoever we wish to. LGBT people are nothing different from straight people. They just have a different taste when it comes to love.
– Rin Wada
Today I am wearing a dress for all women and girls in Afghanistan who are bartered into marriage to repay debt or resolve a dispute. “All girls have the right to live free from violence and coercion, without being forced into marriage or the lifelong physical and psychological effects of female genital mutilation.” – David Cameron
Today I am wearing a dress for women who were forced to accept child marriage and have experienced domestic violence. According to the UN, in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of young women are married by their 18th birthday. While everyone should be provided with equal right for their choice of partnership, these women are underprivileged. What is worse is that many of them go through domestic violence but they do not even have the right to file for a divorce, they would have to live with their scar for the rest of their lives. When men have the right to marriage and divorce, women do too.
Today I am wearing a dress for all the girls who have complexes in their looks. I have complexes but I don’t care about it. I think that all girls don’t need to care about their appearance, but when someone says to them about their looks they tend to care. Dressember is a very meaningful movement for all the girls and it will give confidence to us. I hope in the future, this movement will give confidence and courage and all girls will be able to wear dresses without caring about their looks.
Today I am wearing a dress for all the girls who have been ashamed because of what they are wearing. I am wearing this dress for the women who have been embarrassed because of what they chose to wear. Women in Uganda have been denied the right to wear a skirt. I am wearing this dress to remind me how privileged I am to wear what I want to.
Today I am wearing a dress to represent the girls who are getting bullied because they have chosen to abort their babies. People might think this is a very cruel act but we should respect the women’s decision to abort the babies as it is something that they would have to live with for the rest for their lives.
Today I am wearing a dress for female infanticide. Female infanticide is the continuous action of killing female babies. There has been an argument regarding the “low status” women are viewed on. Back in 2012, an article was released and it stated that 200 million girls in China were killed. It also mentioned that in several countries baby girls are ‘undesirable’, even unacceptable.
Today I’m wearing a dress for women who have a limited mobility. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive a car or ride a bicycle on public roads. While Saudi Arabia is the only country that prohibits women from driving a car, other countries restrict women’s traveling to overseas by limiting their access to passports, and even women in developed countries may complain of limited mobility. These women may have the legal right to drive cars, they might not go out by themselves at night due to the threat of rape or attack.
Today I am wearing the dress for the gender equality in Saudi Arabia. This country is the representative one where the women right is too weak to protect themselves. They even cannot travel or leave the country without getting the permission from their related men.
Today I am wearing a dress to combat gender wage gap. In the US, women make 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, and similar examples of gender wage gap can be found throughout the world. This is plain sexism and extremely unjust.
Today I am wearing a dress for Lilla Berlin, a Swedish cartoon artist who creates brilliant satires that highlight issues with gender, sexual identity, race, and more. They are funny, relatable, and liberal – a great mix of thought provoking and honest. She has become a great symbol of feminism and does a lot of strong advocacy – just like us!
Today I am wearing a dress for all the kindergarten teachers who are the role models and inspirations for young students. I have talked to my high school teachers who have experiences in teaching different year groups. Most of them think kindergarten teaching is the most tiring one. You need to find ways for kids to focus and listen to you. You can’t just shout at them. Your behaviours will be a big influence to the kids. Now, do you still think teaching is a easy job and is less valuable? I wish more male teacher join kindergarten teaching as almost 95% of kindergarten teachers are female and I think there is a need for different perspectives in teaching kindergarten!
Today, I am wearing a dress for a girl named Padma who was sold by her parents to pay off the debt when she was six. She was beaten by a female trafficker and one day, a man came up to her and molested her. By then, she accepted what they wanted and she had become prostitute when she was nine. She was kept in a room, food only can get through by door slot and she had to knock the toilet for hours. I believe that we can end this slavery sexual exploitation, and violence by supporting Dressember. The victims are mostly women and the criminals are usually men. I believe that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities.
Today, I am wearing a red dress for a 19-year old Afghanistan woman, who was stoned to death by Afghanistan men over accusation of adultery. The stoning was filmed and had been circulating on social media. The CNN showed a short clip of several men hurling rocks at the victim, whose face is censored. I do not think it was right for these Afghanistan men to to do such thing. Love is love. It’s not something you can control and should not be stopped by others. Quite often young women are still forced into marriage. Women are not objects. We all deserve the same rights and freedom like anyone else does.