Fashion And The Uncomfortable

Fashion And The Uncomfortable

What happens when people within the fashion industry decide to take a stand?
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Fashion has never been about making people feel comfortable. From corsets to high heels, the fashion industry has always sought to modify, improve and evolve. It has also been a resource for ostracized groups to flourish in. It embraces the awkward, the outcast and unconventionally beautiful. And yet, somehow, it still manages to be racist, classist and often uphold unrealistic bodily ideals through catwalks and photoshop. With this being said, the fashion industry is far from perfect, but it strives to be just that. The one thing fashion has managed to hold on to is its will to anger the masses. It is not about reaffirming the comfort of those who have historically benefitted from the discomfort of others. Instead, it allows those whose voices have been silenced to gain back their confidence and showcase their power, which has always existed inside of them. Think of fashion like a superhero’s alter ego; it is not until Bruce Wayne puts on his mask and bat suit he feels like he can take on his enemies. Furthermore, once people see this person and what they stand for, they want to become them and encompass what makes them stand out. This is what fashion enables people to do. Fashion does not only empower the person who is wearing the garment, it allows for other people to be inspired and take a stand.

Take, for instance, the newest ad campaign for H&M called, “Close the Loop,” which promotes the use of sustainable fashion through recycling clothing. Much of the campaign’s publicity arose from the Swedish company’s decision to feature Mariah Idrissi, a Muslim model who dons her hijab in the commercial. It should be said that the commercial is not just about sustainable clothing, but that it also encourages its viewers to break the rules. While Idrissi’s appearance is a milestone for the Swedish company and the fashion industry as a whole, it also reveals how much work there is still to do in regards to being more inclusive and representative in media. Idrissi is like any other fashionista/o featured in the commercial who varies in race, gender, size, age and more. The commercial beautifully showcases the lengths to which society has worked so hard to constrict the ways people are allowed to express themselves and encourages its consumers to follow their own rules. Although fashion is very much about adornment, the clothes are merely a vessel for people to enhance the qualities they already possess. It would be wrong to reduce Idrissi to her hijab and it would also be wrong to not acknowledge the magnitude and impact of her presence in this commercial as a Muslim woman. If you went to Idrissi’s Instagram right now, you would see massive amounts of support from women, both in and outside of the Muslim community, who are delighted to see this kind of representation finally being showcased and supported in a mainstream campaign.

Another moment has got to be Pyer Moss’ spring 2016 fashion show, designed by Kerby Jean-Raymond. The show began with a featured presentation showcasing various videos depicting moments of police brutality that lead up to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The messages were then further replicated on the clothing with blood spattered boots, spray painted jackets and the names of the victims, as well as Eric Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe.” The fashion show shed light on the fact the #BlackLivesMatter movement is far from over and garnered support and backlash, which resulted in Jean-Raymond and his team receiving death threats. This sort of representation is unheard of in the fashion industry. Racism is rarely dealt with so bluntly and with such force. It also speaks volumes on how outraged and uncomfortable people become when confronted with issues of social justice while simultaneously supporting shows with little to no models of color or blatant cultural appropriation. Jean-Raymond remained unbothered by threats and seemed to be in good spirits as he journeyed to Paris, probably curating more ideas. The Pyer Moss show was not about appeasing the audience or pacifying the largely white-centered fashion industry who often are “inspired” by the lower class and communities of color. If you disagree, I advise that you search how many times large magazine publications have been called out for blackface/brownface, renaming/appropriating hairstyles that have been created by the black community, the need for an entire community to create the #ReclaimTheBindi movement because of appropriation and the amount of times you see people wearing Native-American headdresses at Coachella events and on runways because it is so cool. The Pyer Moss fashion show is not just about discomfort: It is about taking a stand in the same ways that the H&M commercial encourages viewers to break the rules while simultaneously taking its own advice by having such a diverse cast in its advertisement.

Fashion is not about comfort and it is not about making other people feel comfortable. This mantra is what allows room to be made for people like Kerby Jean-Raymond and Mariah Idrissi to address issues that largely affect consumers who are often lower class and/or people of color. Fashion is what allows people to express themselves, to be whoever they want to be and to fight back against conformity. Fashion is not superficial, it is deliberate and has a message. No one is exempt from the significant hold and influence that fashion has on a consumer society.

"This...stuff? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select...I don't know...that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. In fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff." -- Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006)

Cover Image Credit: WWD - Pyer Moss Spring 2016

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Contrary To Popular Belief, Ben Shapiro Is Not Condescending

I made a fool of myself while meeting the world's most controversial political commentator. At least he's used to it.

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Grand Canyon University security guards held back a sea of people as I walked through the gates and into the antelope gym. The "Shapiro ban" that had sparked outrage a few months before had just been lifted, and campus YAF (Young Americas Foundation) members were finally allowed to host the Daily Wire editor in chief. The only reason I was allowed access to this monumental event was because I'd pledged to help with the YAF club set-up about a week earlier. I was desperate to meet (and write about) Ben Shapiro. I received a name tag and was ushered into a room in the back of the antelope gym. I chatted nervously with another member of the YAF club as we waited for Shapiro to arrive.

Morganne Scheuerman

Finally, the 5'7" Kippah-sporting legend sauntered into the room. A smile was painted across his face as all of us (aspiring politicians and journalists) gawked at one of the most controversial figures to cross the political stage. Hating awkward silences, I "broke protocol" by walking up and introducing myself. We were supposed to fall into a photo line and keep comments/conversations to a minimum. I was quickly forced into line after shaking Ben's hand and briefly stating my name.

Morganne Scheuerman

Ben was more than cordial, smiling a lot and kindly agreeing with or laughing at all of the comments from people as he took a photo with them. When my turn came, I told myself I would say,

"I want to be a conservative journalist, so I messaged you one of my articles on Facebook once."

Instead, after I posed for a picture and looked him straight in the eyes, what came out was,

"I messaged you on Facebook once."

I messaged you on Facebook once? I started to panic, knowing that the YAF leaders were in a huge hurry and I needed to get into the antelope gym so that I could start ushering students to their seats. So, instead of trying to elaborate, I stood there like an idiot with my mouth open and then walked away. I grabbed my phone from the girl who took my Shapiro picture and covered my face with my hands.

Despite all of this, I tried to laugh off the situation and made the mistake of telling one of the YAF members about my blunder. He quickly added my quote to the YAF group chat on Facebook. I became an instant meme. Honestly, none of this really got to me since I was just happy to be in the same room as someone who could stump even the most intelligent political leaders. I forgot all about my embarrassing moment as I helped the leaders usher students to the right seats. Finally, the event started, and I took my seat to the right of the stage. After listening to his brilliant speech on "why we need both faith and reason," I felt prompted to ask him a question during the Q&A; time at the end of the event.

Morganne Scheuerman

I fell into (yet another) line with what I suspected was about 35 guys and one other girl student. Standing in front of thousands of people was not my favorite thing to do, so I shifted my weight nervously and found it extremely difficult to focus on or remember any of the other questions that were asked. There were about 10 people still in front of me when I noticed all of the whisperings from the chief organizer of the event. They were about to cut off people off and end the event. I prayed silently, thinking, "God, if you want me to ask this question, you already made me get up here, so you have to make it happen. I'm not going to ask to move to the front of the line. It's up to you." I already knew which question I wanted to ask, and I knew that God was the one who'd put it in my mind, but I was terrified. My boss came up behind me and whispered, "Do you want to ask your question."

I hesitated, but reluctantly nodded, "Yeah. I do."

Just like that, I was moved to the front of the question-line. I introduced myself to another usher as I waited nervously. I tried not to rehearse what I was about to say since that strategy hadn't worked for me the first time.

Morganne Scheuerman

"Uhm, politically, I agree with you on everything. But, religiously, I'm a Christian. So, I was just wondering why you don't think Jesus is the Messiah?"

He smiled and paused,

"So...so, right."

The whole crowd started making noise, saying in unison, "oooooh," as Ben Shapiro laughed. He quickly recovered, saying,

"The reason I usually don't have these theological discussions is mainly that, in the words of a famous person, 'I find it divisive.'"

He then went on to explain that the Jewish people are expecting a political figure, instead of God "in the flesh." Although I normally love listening to these kinds of discussions, all I could focus on was the fact that my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest from resisting the urge to run from the sea of gawking people.

After the event was over, Ben's bodyguard slipped him out of the gym almost noticeably as the rest of the YAF club cleaned up and took some last-minute pictures. I couldn't stop shaking from the adrenaline rush of speaking in front of Ben Shapiro and a lot of people I either knew really well or had never seen before.

Relief washed over me. Thank God my second conversation with Ben Shapiro was so much better than the first. They were both equally entertaining though.

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