Over the years, I’ve come to agree with researchers who say venting can exacerbate your anger rather than reduce it. I’ve definitely gotten angrier since I shot today’s video about the expanding sense of entitlement evident among people who are extremely wealthy or mildly famous.
The video is specifically about the demands made by celebrities attending awards shows. In January and February, we had the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Grammys. The Oscars are this Sunday. Awards season now regularly comes with stories about some buxom but non-plus-size woman who “can’t get designers to dress her.” Well, I’ve got questions about that narrative, because NO ONE IS ENTITLED TO A FREE DRESS. No one is entitled to free labor and goods of any kind! That’s not how our society works! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: People die of exposure. “Exposure” isn’t currency. “Potential” isn’t currency. Disproven theories about trickle-down benefits aren’t currency. If I can’t use your “payment” to pay my bills, that means you HAVE! NOT! PAID! ME!
It’s not just celebrities either. What’s really pissing me off is seeing this behavior writ large in more important arenas. For instance, there was a brouhaha in New York City recently when our governor and mayor did a behind-closed-doors deal with Amazon, offering this monster of a company financial incentives to build a new headquarters in an overdeveloped part of the city with under-serviced infrastructure. If it wasn’t so offensive, it would be funny: Regular people and businesses pay EXTRA to live and work in New York. Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, spending his money on space exploration, and Amazon didn’t pay any federal income taxes on $11 billion of profit — but that’s who gets a discount, just because the company pinkie-swore it would hire some New Yorkers.
When activists (including me!) protested this shady deal, Amazon showed its true colors by pulling out, rather than offering to be a good, tax-paying neighbor. That’s to be expected, y’all! The idea that people will EVER pay after you offer them something for free? It doesn’t work that way. They just expect more free stuff, and it’s their way or the highway. As a bonus, they’ll make themselves look like the victims of a cruel world that doesn’t appreciate the value of their attention.
Anyway, watch my video for a reality check about awards-season freebies. I’ll save my rage at Amazon for a follow-up video. One note: I mention Christian Siriano a comical number of times. I don’t know him at all, am not stalking him, and this certainly isn’t a paid ad! But he has made a name for himself as someone who is willing to work with celebrities of all body types, so if someone hasn’t started with him — well, like I say, I have some questions about what’s really going on. The video also includes an explanation of what “sample sizes” are, because I’ve learned that a lot of people outside the fashion industry don’t understand the difference between a piece sent down the runway and what winds up in a store.
If, when you watched, you didn’t catch the full text of the New York Post story that appeared in the video — when I was talking about how a designer can do all the work for a celebrity but get stood up on the red carpet — that was about Hilary Swank at the Oscars in 2005. The designers at Calvin Klein had spent two weeks working with her on a dress, only to see her appear in a nearly $6,000 Guy Laroche that was gifted to her.
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