Shoes for Social Justice! UPDATED


So if you were following the absurd manufactured shoe controversy, and you were feeling irritated or frustrated about it (or just baffled by how unbelievably dumb it was), and you felt inspired to do something about it — here’s something you can do.

In response to the stupid non-controversy, several readers made new donations to my blog, and specifically requested that I do something frivolous with the money. I’m deeply touched and grateful by the sentiment… and I’m on it. I already have the frivolous shoes picked out. :-) But some people on Atheism+ have been organizing an interesting response to the non-troversy that’s caught my imagination, and I wanted to spread the word.

There’s a charity I didn’t even know about until the last couple of days: a not-for-profit organization called Dress For Success. Their mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, as well as a network of support and career development tools. So on Atheism+, some of my readers and supporters have begun a fundraising campaign to donate money to the organization in my honor.

I think this organization’s mission is an excellent one. As someone who cares passionately about both clothing and social justice, it’s definitely in my wheelhouse. And given that so much of this non-troversy is focusing on the question of “how could someone dare to seek help from supporters and then spend some money on dressy, comfortable shoes, suitable for a professional work environment and well-made enough to last for years”… it seems like a perfect fit. Here’s what one commenter on Atheism+ had to say about her experience with the organization:

I have personally benefitted from this charity.

They take clothing donations, but they are very label conscious when it comes to what they accept. They’re only looking for business and work appropriate attire, and they’re deathly picky about shoes in particular, amusingly enough. Fluevog was about the lowest quality they had. roll that around in your brain for a little while. I went home with three pairs of shoes and not a one of them retailed for less than $250.

That said, the main thing a personal shopper does is gently try to explain to you that it’s all right to take so much stuff, that’s what it’s there for, and you’re not cheating anyone else, and you deserve to have the clothes you’re getting. It wasn’t just me. There were four of us in with appointments at the same time, and every single one of us said the same thing: “You can’t give me all this stuff, I don’t deserve it.”

They didn’t let me out until I had a bit over a full week’s worth of work clothes, and I had a second appointment in six months to do it AGAIN for the other season. It kind of blew my mind.

So if your response to this non-troversy is irritation, frustration, or bafflement — or if you just think this is a good organization and you want to support them — please participate in this fundraising campaign, and donate to Dress For Success. Mention that it’s in my honor if you feel inspired to do so.

Oh, FYI: You know that offer I made in response to the non-troversy, to refund any donations made during my cancer fundraiser to anyone who wasn’t happy with how I’ve been spending my money? As of this writing, the number of people who have taken me up on that offer: Exactly zero. Just thought you’d like to know.

*****

UPDATE: Dress for Success has posted the following comment, clarifying some details about their program:

Hello, all!

I haven’t followed the “non-troversy” mentioned, but we always appreicate folks spreading word about our orgaization and, of course, clothing donations!

I just want to clarify something mentioned in the post about, we are NOT label conscious when it comes to the clothing that we accept. We are more than happy to accept any brand of clothing as long as it’s clean, has been taken care of (no holes or stains, etc.) and is, of course, appropriate for an office environment. Since our women are applying and being accepted into an array of career fields, we accept everything from suits to sweaters to scarves– as long as they are professional in nature!

I hope this clears things up! Please feel free to donate away! The women of Dress for Success can’t thank you enough!

Comments

  1. says

    Greta, I was otherwise engaged during your October request for donations, so I missed out on contributing. I will definitely contribute something to Dress for Success though, because it’s a fabulous idea. I’ll also be looking into whether there’s something similar here in Australia, because the need seems so very obvious.

    I also hope you enjoy those shoes with an extra frisson of delight that they’re annoying so many gits.

  2. kompani says

    Comfy shoes = relaxed person = relaxed mind = interesting thoughts = interesting blog = happy readers = no problem.

  3. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    That said, the main thing a personal shopper does is gently try to explain to you that it’s all right to take so much stuff, that’s what it’s there for, and you’re not cheating anyone else, and you deserve to have the clothes you’re getting. It wasn’t just me. There were four of us in with appointments at the same time, and every single one of us said the same thing: “You can’t give me all this stuff, I don’t deserve it.”

    That just teared me right up. What a fabulous initiative!

  4. =8)-DX says

    Dress for success? I though True Atheist™ women were supposed to be Naked Firebreathing WhoresSlutsProstitutesPromiscuous Women from the Seventh Circle of Hell™.

  5. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    A gorgeous response to ugly, pointless, vapid hate. Absolutely donating.

  6. says

    @=8)-DX #7 – “Dress for success? I though True Atheist™ women were supposed to be Naked Firebreathing WhoresSlutsProstitutesPromiscuous Women from the Seventh Circle of Hell™.”

    But everyone needs a hobby: you cannot spend ALL of your time working to destroy All That Is Good And Pure.

  7. Didaktylos says

    @#7 & #10 – Not naked – their working uniform consists of garments of the finest Christian Babyskin.

  8. dressforsuccess says

    Hello, all!

    I haven’t followed the “non-troversy” mentioned, but we always appreicate folks spreading word about our orgaization and, of course, clothing donations!

    I just want to clarify something mentioned in the post about, we are NOT label conscious when it comes to the clothing that we accept. We are more than happy to accept any brand of clothing as long as it’s clean, has been taken care of (no holes or stains, etc.) and is, of course, appropriate for an office environment. Since our women are applying and being accepted into an array of career fields, we accept everything from suits to sweaters to scarves– as long as they are professional in nature!

    I hope this clears things up! Please feel free to donate away! The women of Dress for Success can’t thank you enough!

  9. says

    Thanks edithkeeler (and your familiar avatar) – I just found out where it was last night and thought ooh, so close to me!

    I’ve been looking for somewhere to do some volunteering, too.

  10. says

    This is awesome. I can’t donate myself but I might try to locate a local chapter. I could benefit from it, but my new co-worker, who’s only 20, really could use it. We’re both Americorps employees now, which means we’re literally surviving on far less than minimum wage.

  11. says

    Hey UnbelieveSteve, I love (BWIMH) how you waited until most of the Northern Hemisphere is sound asleep before posting the link to your smears.

    As it stands – nobody who actually donated money to Greta’s donation drive has asked for their money back (I notice how you did not include Greta’s offer of a refund to anybody feeling that their funds had been misused in your timeline) just because she bought herself some stylish comfortable shoes suitable for professional engagements after she was back to earning money from speaking/writing engagements again.

    Greta was totally open about the donation drive earning more than she needed within 24 hours. If people have still been donating after she announced that the target had been reached, it’s not because she somehow tricked them – it’s because they wanted to do it anyway.

  12. Greta Christina says

    UnbelieveSteve has been banned, on account of unspeakably grotesque creeepiness. (Not to mention utter failure at reading for comprehension.)

  13. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    Dress for Success … great group. They held clothing drives at various large companies where I have worked, and collected a lot of good work clothes.

    I referred a co-worker (struggling single mom trying to get her life straight) to an organization that could refer her to DfS … they do insist that each client leave with enough work clothes for a week+. And if possible, it will have some mix and match stuff for even more outfits. She was gobsmacked when she came to work after that visit.

    Then I took her to the best thrift stores in town and she got more blouses :)

  14. jackiepaper says

    A friend of mine who put herself through nursing school as a single mom had to turn to Dress for Success in order to have something to wear to job interviews. She said it meant the world to her. Her career kept a roof over her family. This is a great idea, Greta. Thanks

  15. mdevile says

    What an amazing charity! Donated in your honor because other women as fabulous as you also deserve fabulous, professional shoes.

    Thanks for letting me know about this.

  16. ckitching says

    UnbelieveSteve was right about one thing, though. It’s not about the shoes. It’s never been about the shoes. It’s about the fact you’re an Atheist+ supporter and feminist, and anything, no matter how ridiculous, can and will be used to intimidate into silence anyone who dares to support these causes.

  17. Lofty says

    Once again people like unbelievable steve show they don’t get it. People donate not because they have been conned. They donate because of compassion. Which he seems to lack.
    Go Greta and do more good things (with a little help from the kitties).

  18. says

    I got nothing against having a nice pair of shoes. As much as I’d like society to not care so much about clothing, I recognize the importance of having a professional outfit. I’d have no problem if it was specifically my money being spent on those shoes.

    Glad to find out about a new charity while I was here. It certainly makes sense, and I salute the people who came up with the idea. Imagine there are a lot of people having a hard time pulling themselves out of a hole because they can’t look good for the job interview, so I can see it’s a good cause.

  19. says

    I was thinking about this charity this morning while shopping for expensive makeup. Well, what I call expensive makeup– $13 for a 2.5 oz. bottle of tinted moisturizer and $14 for some powder to counteract the shininess of the moisture. I buy these things in order to avoid looking like a tired person with a skin disease, which is what I am.

    I was thinking about how sad it is that generally women have to dress up to go to work, and how many of them would rather not. How really, not having to dress up for work is a privilege. How when hearing about this charity I had a tiny, tiny twinge of “Is it really the best idea to contribute to women having to conform to an ideal of feminine fanciness?” before answering myself “If it’s important for them to get and keep work, yes!”

    And then I realized that I’d be willing to buy a Saudi woman a burqa if it was socially or legally required for her to have an occupation. And that feminism doesn’t work the way my little twinge was suggesting it does, and I should be ashamed for thinking otherwise.

    You can’t pull women out of their social environment before empowering them. You can’t decide that they should be empowered only according to your vision of how you’d like them to live. And hell, it’s possible that they don’t want to wear heels and skirts (and makeup) any more than I want them to, but it’s what they need to do right now in order to work. And that takes priority, because you need to work to get money (well, most of us do) and you need money to have freedom. Freedom to pursue your own happiness.

    And if feminism doesn’t mean that, what on earth does it mean?

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