TEDxFeminism

What all started with a TEDxEuston talk in 2012 has now resulted in the widespread distribution of a book on feminism.

According to The Washington PostAmericanah and Half a Yellow Sun author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most recent title, We Should All Be Feminists, will be distributed to 16-year-old girls across Sweden.

The 64-page book is an adapted essay of her 2012 TEDxEuston talk — the talk that eventually found its way into Beyoncé’s “***Flawless.” Her now-famous speech, which has now been viewed over 2.3 million times on Youtube, defined a feminist as “a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

The Washington Post reports that Adichie filmed a Youtube video for her new Swedish readers, explaining why she is passionate about feminism.

“For me, feminism is about justice,” she offered. “I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world that is more just. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world where a woman is never told that she can or cannot or should or should not do anything because she is a woman. I want to live in a world where men and women are happier. Where they are not constrained by gender roles. I want to live in a world where men and women are truly equal. And that’s why I’m a feminist.”

In reflecting on when she was 16, Adichie said that she didn’t know the meaning of feminism, but she now recognizes that she was a feminist then, even without understanding the word’s meaning. Expressing her hopes for the 16-year-olds in Sweden who will be reading her book, she said, “I hope that the 16-year-olds that will read this book in Sweden will also decide that they’re feminists. Mostly, I hope very soon that one day we will not need to be feminists. Because we will live in a world that is truly just and equal.”

This initiative will move over 100,000 of We Should All Be Feminists to secondary schools across Sweden, says The Washington Post. Adichie’s publisher, Johanna Haegerstrom, tweeted her excitement over the project,  adding, “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explains why feminism could make us all happier. Not just women.”

 

When Destiny Meets Dior

What’s meant to be will always find a way — that’s what 14-year-old Sofia Mechetner recently learned.

Mechetner, a native of Israel with no previous modeling experience, strut her stuff down the runway at the Christian Dior show as the leading model during Paris fashion week, and it all wouldn’t have happened without a chance encounter with Raf Simons, the chief designer for Dior.

The Washington Post reports that Mechetner, the daughter of a single mom who slept on a broken bed and shared a room with her two younger siblings in a high-rise apartment outside of Tel Aviv, decided to pursue modeling “after being asked one too many times if she’d ever considered it.” She partnered with Tel Aviv modeling agency Roberto, who then sent her photos to the elite Viva modeling agency in Paris. Viva was initially interested in Mechetner, but when she met with the agency along with her chaperon, Viva decided she was too young to model.

After a disappointing meeting with Viva, The Washington Post says Mechetner and her chaperon engaged in a little retail therapy, visiting a Dior shop in central Paris. Once they entered the store, the pair discovered much more than couture clothing inside — Mechetner’s chaperon instead noticed chief Dior designer Raf Simons and proceeded to ask for a selfie with him. After taking a picture together, the chaperon introduced Mechetner to Simons and shared her story.

Fast forward to last week, and The Washington Post reports that Mechetner, who is already featured on Dior’s website, signed a $265,000 contract with the fashion house. When asked what she would do with the money, Mechetner told Israel’s Channel 2 news that she would “‘move house and hopefully get a room of [her] own.'”

There is certainly no stopping destiny! Congratulations, Sofia!

Fashion Statement or Lack Thereof?

In my travels around the Internet yesterday, I stumbled upon an interview from The Washington Post featuring world-famous designer Carolina Herrera. Amidst surveying Herrera’s own crisp, classic style and her modern yet timeless designs, The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan asked Herrera for her thoughts on the ‘nearly nude’ trend (think Beyoncé’s Met Gala dress) that has been popping up on red carpets this season.

And Herrera certainly made a statement with her response, saying “Some designers think ‘it’s so modern to be naked or almost naked. They think it’s going to attract younger people if they do those dresses. No!'” She went on to say that gowns like these are only trying to draw attention to the wearer, but she instead thinks that there should be “‘a little mystery'” in the way stars dress.

Her best point on the nearly-nude trend was yet to come. In speaking on the celebrities that wear these barely-there gowns, Herrera said, “‘They’re supposed to be fashion icons and they’re not wearing anything.'”

After reading her thoughts on this trend, I knew I was not alone in my distaste for these gowns! Showing a little skin is one thing, but bearing it all with the risk of a wardrobe malfunction at any second is completely different story. In my opinion, it can be just as sexy or appealing to wear something that only shows one of your favorite ‘assets’ and leaves the rest to onlookers’ imaginations, or as Herrera says, leaves “‘a little mystery.'” This was proven this past weekend when Jennifer Lopez, who tends to partake of the ‘barely there’ trend, wore a demure Valentino ballgown to the Tony Awards. She looked just as sexy as she always does, but she also looked sophisticated and elegant, and she managed to do so all while being completely covered!

What is beginning to happen as a result of the nearly-nude trend is that many teens are beginning to copy this trend in their prom gowns, which oftentimes goes against their high schools’ rules. It is really not appropriate for teenage girls to be copying this risqué trend at such a young age; girls should instead pick one element of the nearly-nude dresses that they like and find a way to incorporate that into their gown. For instance, if they like an illusion neckline, find something with an illusion neckline, but keep the rest of the dress free of cutouts, high slits and cleavage.

Although being covered seems to be ‘uncool’ lately in Hollywood, I agree with Carolina Herrera; how can these stars be “‘fashion icons'” when they barely wearing any material? Fashion is all about how material is cut, sewn and worn in a way that new and progressive – if we judge these barely-there gowns by this standard, then it is not fashion at all. It instead has become a competition of who can wear the least possible amount of material without having a wardrobe malfunction.

Giorgio Armani once said, “Elegance is not about being noticed, it’s about being remembered.” These barely-there dresses certainly get noticed and have their moment in the spotlight, but not because they are elegant. True fashion icons dress elegantly at all times and are remembered for an eternity.