Happy Dressember!

One of the things I love about social media is the sharing of information. I hear so many interesting news stories that I’d never come across in my normal day-to-day otherwise. Most important, I’m able to learn about different organizations and the global movements they’re a part of.

For example, this past Sunday I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when I came across an image that said, “Support Dressember 2015.” I read on to discover that the woman who posted it would be wearing a dress every day during the month of December to raise money for the International Justice Mission and the A21 campaign.

I was intrigued! So I decided to look more into “Dressember” and see what it was all about. Here’s what I discovered.

Dressember started in 2009 as a fun experiment but it quickly gained in popularity and in 2013, took on a different mission. By challenging women to wear a dress every day in December, the Dressember Foundation raises awareness (and money) for human trafficking and the exploitation of women around the world.

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Image credit dressember.org

Modern-day slavery is alive and well all over the world. At this very moment, an estimated 30 million people are trapped in slavery. It’s shocking to think about but I know for a fact that it takes place in my own city. And it breaks my heart.

“When I started hearing about trafficking, I felt an urgency to do something, and so naturally, I looked at my skillset for a way to engage. The problem was my interests and talents didn’t seem to line up with making a difference. I’m not a social worker, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a cop. I’m someone who’s interested in fashion, trend analysis, wordplay, and blogging. My interests felt shallow in the grand scheme of things. I remember feeling powerless, and thinking, “There’s nothing I can do.””

—Blythe Hill, Dressember’s founder

Little did she know that Dressember would go on to have over 3,800 participants and raise over $630,000 in two years! And that number is sure to grow in 2015. This year the proceeds will go to both the International Justice Mission and the A21 campaign, spreading Dressember’s impact even more.

So what can you do?

Become a participant! Today is December 1, so you can start today! I was going to use the excuse that I don’t have enough dresses to last a month—until I read that the founder wears the same dress every day. Talk about conviction. Also, if your job calls for different attire or you’re going for your daily jog, feel free to wear pants. Simply wear a dress when you’re able to choose your outfit.

Even if you just don’t like wearing dresses, you can still spread the word about these organizations and their fight against human trafficking. Or, make a financial donation to the Dressember Foundation or one of its partners. Because this cause is so important to us, my husband and I have already agreed to make a financial contribution as a part of our Christmas giving this year.

I’ll leave you with this, from the Dressember website:

“Femininity can mean a lot of different things to different people. To us, it is the celebration of being a woman; femininity is inherent to all women, and manifests itself in many different ways for different women. Dresses are just one manifestation of femininity, but in no way are we saying that women need to wear dresses to be feminine. This is a chance to experience freedom through embracing that interpretation of femininity. Ultimately though, it’s bigger than dresses, and bigger than femininity. Dressember creates an opportunity to advocate for the inherent dignity of all women.”

I’ll be doing my part this Dressember. What about you? We’d love to see your #dressember photos, so be sure to tag @238milesapart when sharing. You can also monitor my progress on my personal Instagram, @sarahvanormer.

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Image credit @dressember

Happy Dressember, everyone!

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