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Why it’s time to lose the ‘Worst Dressed’ columns

Despite the Oscars actually being all about ‘honoring cinematic achievements in the film industry’ it’s fair to say, sometimes it feels like it’s more about who wore what, and who walked down the red carpet with who. Sunday night’s Oscars were no exception, and as news of the big winners filtered into Twitter feeds and on to TV screens the world over, with it came galleries of images of the leading ladies in one of two columns; best dressed, or worst dressed.

It’s difficult to understand the need for the latter, especially when the Ask Her More campaign was thrown into the spotlight at the ceremony, an initiative that encourages journalists to ask actresses other questions beyond which designer she is wearing, with the aim of celebrating the woman in the dress.


Reese Witherspoon Worst Dressed

Image Courtesy of Eva Rinaldi,

Reese Witherspoon, Patricia Arquette and Julianne Moore all addressed the movement with Reese commenting; “This is a movement to say we’re more than just our dresses.”

Buzzfeed went along to this year’s Baftas and asked some of the leading men what they were wearing, which brought about some brilliant responses. Check out the video here >>

Nevertheless following Sunday’s Oscars, the media’s obsession continued. Yahoo! reported that Gwyneth Paltrow’s dress “would be great for someone half her age” whilst the Daily Mail commented Zoe Kravitz’s dress was “akin to a fisherman’s net” and Amanda Anka “tried to channel the androgynous trend in black trousers but they were ill-fitting, cut too short and teamed with an unusual patterned corset top.”

Image Courtesy of Disney ABC Television Group

Image Courtesy of Disney ABC Television Group,


Whilst Ask Her More seems to have made headway this awards season, why can’t the movement continue post award ceremony? Why not continue to focus on the woman in the dress, rather than focusing on what the dress made the woman look like?

With prominent feminist campaigns regularly reported on in the media, including Emma Watson’s He For She initiative, which aims to engage men in the fight for gender equality, and Sheryl Sandberg’s Ban Bossy, a campaign with the mission of eliminating the word ‘bossy’ because of its harmful effect on young women, it’s a shame they are being reported on alongside a bitchy column about fashion faux pars.

It’s this type of journalism that is contradicting everything women are trying to fight for through campaigns like Ban Bossy and He For She.

Image Courtesy of Allan Slank,

Image Courtesy of Allan Slank,

‘Worst Dressed’ columns not only promote negativity but they also normalise the act of critisising women for the way they look. If we’re trying to fight for equality for women let’s start by praising the work of these women rather than judging them on the cut of their dress and the name on the label.

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