I know I blogged about Dressember two weeks ago (and you should check out that hyperlink, if you have no idea what I’m talking about), but you’ll have to bear with me as I blog about it again. It’s been about the only thing on my mind and in my prayers for the last month and a half – that’s a lot of time for passion to build, and build it certainly has!
And the best part? Now that we’re four days into December, I’m no longer alone in my passion. It’s so fun walk to class and see people greeting each other with, “Happy Dressember!” It’s so fun to glance around Wednesday morning Chapel or Thursday night Praise and Worship and see so many well-dressed students worshipping together. It’s so fun to wake up every morning, groggily make my way to our community bathrooms, and brush my teeth with other girls who have also intentionally put on dresses ten minutes previous. It’s so fun to see housekeepers, professors, coaches, directors, community members, pastors, and our esteemed President Hoekstra taking part in the movement, too.
It’s so fun to be a part of a community that isn’t afraid to become passionate or to do something with their passions.
That being said, it’s not as if every single individual on campus is participating. This isn’t a required service project, and a few of those non-participants have been raising some poignant questions about the validity of the Dressember movement and Dordt’s participation in it. These questions are so, so important, and they demand to be answered. So, without further ado...
What does wearing a dress have to do with anything?
Honestly, wearing a dress doesn’t do anything. It’s all about the woman wearing the dress – or the guy wearing the tie, in Dordt’s case! The dress is primarily a conversation starter. Especially here in Iowa, and especially in Minnesota or Wisconsin or Michigan or Colorado or any state/country where snow is an annual struggle, people will inevitably ask, “Hey, why do you look so nice today?” When you’re trudging through the frozen tundra towards your final exam, it’s not exactly normal to wear a dress, thereby subjecting your poor legs to the cold, or a tie, thereby adding a level of unwanted discomfort during the stressful end of the semester. And when you go home for break, why would you normally try to look classy to hang out with high school friends? People are bound to ask, and the person wearing the dress/tie now has the opportunity answer.
How does what happens on campus change anything for those trapped in the sex-trafficking industry?
Honestly, it doesn’t. Simply dressing up and taking pictures doesn’t do anything for the victims. Rather, it raises awareness. And though awareness in and of itself doesn’t do anything to make a change, a change can’t be made unless the public is aware of the problem. Raising awareness is the first, necessary step in working towards a solution, in working towards reinstating justice for victims and oppressors alike – just as International Justice Mission (the organization our fundraising supports) was founded to do!
So what’s the point of dressing up? Why not just raise money, if that’s the real difference-maker?
Dressing up may not directly make an impact on those suffering, but it does make an impact on the person dressing up. Putting on a dress/tie every day is a choice. In making that single choice every morning this month, participants are also choosing to remember the victims, to be personally aware that not everyone has the privilege to choose what they wear or who they wear it for. And in remembering, we pray – and we should never underestimate the power of prayer.
So, four days into the project, our raising awareness has also raised nearly $3,000 from over 40 different donors. Wow. Those numbers are testimony enough to me – if we humbly lay our dreams on the table and being the actualization process, God can and will use our efforts to do something big.
And that’s exactly what He’s doing with Dressember.
Want to join in? http://support.dressemberfoundation.org/dcdressember