Dressember: A Movement


Blythe Hill is Founder of the Dressember movement. Blythe has a background in writing and received her MA from Cal State Fullerton. Having worked on editorials for a local magazine, she currently works for a fashion forecasting company in Culver City.
What inspired you to create the Dressember movement?
In 2009, I wanted to do something which would make me feel challenged. That’s when the thought of a style challenge came to mind. It occurred to me to wear a dress every day for a month. The next full month coming up was December and being a lover of word play and puns, I called the style challenge “Dressember.”
How was this movement able to grow to the extent it has in such a relative short time?
At the time I started it, I thought Dressember would be a one-time event. But a lot of my friends took notice of what I did and wanted to join in with me for the following year. So, it grew. In 2011, I felt there was something missing. With the Movember movement, where men are encouraged to grow mustaches in November, awareness and money is raised to combat prostate and testicular cancer and men’s health issues.

The issue of human trafficking, sex trafficking and slave labor, was something that I am passionate about as I believe that every person deserves to live a free and vibrant life. I saw a clear connection between the style challenge as an expression of femininity, and celebration and solidarity of women globally. Also, I learned about International Justice Mission and was impressed by what they do. They defend men, women and children around the world who have no one to defend or help them. That’s when I decided that whatever funds we raised will go directly to support IJM.
There were a lot of hits to the website and many shared about the movement through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Since IJM has a lot of supporters and followers, when started promoting Dressember, many around the world learned about the movement.
What were some of the challenges that you faced?
There were some challengers, such as minor criticism from the transgender community about the movement perpetuating traditional gender roles. So I change the verbiage a bit because I was not trying to say that only women can wear a dress. Another issue is that the campaign was based on vanity because participants often post selfies (self taken snapshot) each day to show they are wearing a dress. This is a bit unfair; we didn’t invent the idea of a self portrait. One last thing is that it has been tough to forge the movement ahead on my own and serve it well.
What are goals that you have for the future of this movement?
I have plans to speak at upcoming events and conferences, update the website, as well as becoming an official non-profit organization. For 2013, the goal was $25k, but on the third day that was reached. Then I changed it to $100k, but that was reached on day 21. At the end, over $165k was raised. So for Dressember 2014, I am thinking we will aim for $500k.
Learn more here: www.dressemberfoundation.org

Written by CancerINCYTES

Dressember: A Movement was originally published @ Cancer inCYTES Blog and has been syndicated with permission.

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