Thursday, December 10, 2015

Human Rights Day + Dressember Q & A

Today is Human Rights Day, which commemorates the day in 1948 that the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If you read the declaration, you will find several articles that fit perfectly with the mission of Dressember.

Article one states,
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
 And article four states,
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Sadly, these articles are completely disregarded by the illegal human trafficking industry. But the good news is that organizations like IJM and A21 are working to fight for the dignity and freedom of those exploited by this industry. By donating to Dressember, you are helping these organizations in their work of freedom.

Dressember definitely generates a lot of questions, and it's understandable! The whole concept can seem really strange, wearing dresses in one of the coldest months of the year. I think people are curious, and some ask questions while others may not even know where to start. And that is what this blog post is for!

I want to tackle some of the most commonly asked questions from my perspective--the view of an advocate, living in freedom, who is participating for the second year in a row. If you don't see your question, please leave it in the comments or tweet it to me @MrsEliseMance! I would love to answer whatever you may want to know about Dressember!

What is Dressember?

I like this quote from the Dressember Foundation's website; I think it says it best:
Dressember is a collaborative movement leveraging fashion and creativity to restore dignity to all women. Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who've been exploited for their femininity. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women. Dressember exists to inspire and empower a global community of like-minded women who are locking arms to face one of the greatest injustices of our time. The heart of Dressember is freedom--that every woman has the right to live a vibrant and autonomous life.
Why are you participating in Dressember?

After participating last year, I knew I had to do it again. It's like a basketball game--I want to get in there and participate rather than simply sit on the bench and watch. Plus after participating last year, and meeting my goal by December 31, I felt empowered to continue advocating.

I'm also participating because it is something I can do to help change the world for people trapped in a system they can't escape on their own. It's what I would want someone to do for me if I were in that situation. It's small, it's not much, but it is something. When you combine what you can give with what others can give, you can make a movement bigger than any one person.

Do you have 31 different dresses? / Do you have to have a lot of dresses to participate?

Nope. Well, honestly I'm not sure exactly how many dresses I have, but I'm not wearing 31 different dresses this month. I'm sticking with about 13 different dresses and cycling through them as my donors pick out which ones I'll wear. But you don't even need that many to participate. Some ladies challenge themselves to wear one dress all month long. Even if you have just a few, you can get creative and style them differently to create new looks.

Are you tired of wearing a dress every day? / Isn't it hard to wear a dress every day?

By the end of Dressember last year, my creativity was running dry. But really, I enjoy the challenge of wearing a dress every day. For me it's fun to style new looks and to embrace the concept that this is bigger than me liking or not liking dresses. So I would say no, it's not hard to wear a dress every day.

Aren't you cold wearing a dress in December?

It depends on the weather, but if it's frigid, I'm cold in whatever I'm wearing, unless I'm wrapped up in a zillion layers head to toe. So a dress isn't really very different. I layer up with leggings, sweaters, scarves, and wool socks, and keep nice and warm all month long. Plus this winter has been really mild so far; no complaints here!

Why should I donate?

The big thing is deciding for yourself why you want to donate. Everyone has a different story, different things speak to us, and that's what makes Dressember beautiful. For some, they might give because of a past experience that compels them to help. Others may give because they are thankful for what they have and want to give back. Still others may simply want to make a difference in the world.

Whatever your reason, it's a good reason. The goal should be to do what you can with what you have. I personally love the feeling of rallying with friends and strangers around a great cause. It's so awesome to partner with others to accomplish something bigger than all of us.

How do I donate to Dressember? / Does Dressember accept PayPal? / Are donation amounts pre-selected or can I choose what I donate?

Donating to Dressember is simple. If you click the donate button on my page, you will arrive on the secure donation page. From there you can select any amount you wish to give. There are buttons for pre-set amounts, but you can also manually enter any amount you wish. You also have the option to give a one-time gift or monthly. After that, all you have to do is fill in your information.

As of 2017, Dressember does accept payments via PayPal. You can also donate using a credit card. If you don't have a card or PayPal, talk to me and I can help you get your donation in.

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