On Double Standards and Respect

Recently, one of my mentors and friends was hit with backlash like there is no tomorrow for a post about Kim Kardashian and her wardrobe or lack of one. Amy Ferris is a published author of both books and films and dedicates her blog primarily to championing women. Freewheeling “opinionistas” called her a hypocrite among other derogatory terms.

A little background is warranted.

The event was Metropolitan Museum of Art’s China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition. It showcased China’s exotic and boldly prolific influence on Western fashion. Some of the elite fashionistas of the world wore traditional elegantly stylized ensembles reminiscent of old Hollywood. Classy and tasteful and mindful of the audience at hand. Others turned the entire event into a showcase of themselves, their sexuality, and their power as celebrities with unlimited budgets and allowable crass behavior. Because of who they are.


It first struck me, when I saw the photos of Beyonce, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez, was how sexist they appeared. Objects on the arms of well-dressed men in tuxedos, covered from neck to toe. How would the society view those guys had they been wearing no underwear and showing their nude bodies, mostly private parts hidden by lace or a dragon? If someone called them on their exhibitionist dress, would that someone also be derided as a champion of men? The double standard here is astounding.

Our society does not function well with a free-for-all, anything goes mentality. Without decorum we might as well throw both self-respect and respect for others to the wind. There are reasons why one doesn’t wear flip-flops and butt-hugging miniskirts to funerals and long white gowns to other people’s weddings. Not only would doing so be disrespectful of the event and the hosts at hand but would do what is unthinkable during someone else’s special day: It would call attention to oneself.

The self-absorbed, attention-grabbing stars of today could bring so much favorable attention to themselves if they focused their efforts on using their clout and platforms to change the world for the better. They only need to look as far as Paul Newman and now Stephen Colbert for inspiration. Even Princess Diana spent her time in the spotlight doing works of charity.

There are and should be standards in the world that we all strive to live by. Like it or not, our behavior does influence other people. Those lucky enough to live in the limelight should understand that with power comes responsibility. If one is willing to garner the world’s wealth, then the only acceptable avenue is to give back in some capacity.

So, here’s to you Amy Ferris for being brave enough to call other women on bad behavior. I’m proud of you.

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