A week into the Dressember fundraising campaign, and we’ve raised $212 – almost halfway to the $500 goal. What’s it about again? I decided to put my experiments in and thinking around femininity and feminism towards a good cause, and signed up for Dressember, in which one is sponsored to wear dresses for a month in support of a women’s charity. I’m raising funds for the Hamlin Fistula® Relief and Aid Fund, which is the Australian representative of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. Fistulas are obstetric holes that develop during obstructed pregnancies, and they disproportionately affect youth and those who don’t have sufficient nutrition. They’re almost non-existent in the Western world, but thousands of cases develop each year in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital is the only one of its kind in Ethiopia, and cures 93% of cases. It provides a home and employment for those with the other 7%, and is also training midwives so that fistulas will be minimised in Ethiopia in future. I’ve been passionate about this work for many years, and would appreciate anything you can donate towards my month-long fundraising campaign.
The first one is Tuesday’s dress. I got the dress about eighteen months ago, but had been wanting a gorgeous knit dress with one of those floppy necks for years, and it was perfect. I wear it with jeans or tights usually – I am not one for short hems and bare legs as a rule – but in that picture are my new socks with cupcakes on them. I am very fond of this dress, and am glad Sydney’s weather decided to go six months off track so that I could wear it!
The dress for 7 December used to be my mother’s. When I was 14, we were doing an English class assignment on beauty standards, and I read an article that said women with particular body shapes ought not to wear turtlenecks. It’s a small and silly thing, but I internalised it – quite in contrast with the point of the assignment! – and couldn’t wear turtlenecks again until I was given this. And I thought, well, I like grey, and I like this dress, and I like the person who is offering it to me, so I will do away with prescriptions that are designed to make one feel bad about one’s body.
Today is the 8th, and it has not warmed up, but I am also avoiding the outdoors, so we have a summer dress. The scarf was a gift from a cousin, the cardigan, which I wore the other day, was my grandmother’s gift to my mother, and the dress is a hand-me-down from one of my oldest friends. (That is, she has known me for my entire life, and she has also been alive for a longer time than most of my friends.) I’ve had it for four years and have only worn it a handful of times because the buttonholes are, shall we say, not quite a fit for the buttons. I should whip out the needle and thread sometime and fix it up, because it’s a lovely dress.
Well, that’s all for now. Please donate to the campaign and/or spread the word.