Billie Eilish and AOC made powerful fashion statements at yesterday's Met Gala
Images via Wikicommons here and here

Billie Eilish and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)

It seems like every year someone makes a splash at the Met Gala with their fashion choices. In 2018 it was Lena Waithe's "queer cape" that enthralled the press and public alike, with its simple but powerful message about inclusivity and LGBTQ rights. In 2016, Emma Watson used that year's technology theme to send a more subtle but equally powerful message about the environment with a dress made entirely from sustainable products.

Even with America and much of the world still reeling from COVID-19, this year is no different.

In fact, two dresses, in particular, have gone viral with very different but very powerful messages about life in 2021. This year, the honor of showcasing the most talked about outfit is being shared between singer Billie Eilish and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). And much like Waithe and Watson before them, one dress wore its heart on its sleeve (or tails to be exact), while the other was subtle in its vital message about animal rights.


First was Eilish. Everyone is talking about her stunning homage to Marilyn Monroe and we get it. Eilish has been getting increasingly comfortable stepping out publicly in more adult, form-fitting attire, such as her appearance on the June cover of Vogue. During the Met Gala, Eilish talked about finding new confidence in having her figure on public display and the personal empowerment she's gained while staying true to her past comments about body positivity. "I've always wanted to do this," she said during her red carpet appearance when asked about the Monroe comparison.

However, it wasn't just about a killer gown. There was a catch and we love Eilish all the more for it: She only agreed to wear the Oscar de la Renta dress on the condition that the acclaimed fashion designer agrees to stop using animal fur.

"It is an honor to wear this dress knowing that going forward Oscar de la Renta will be completely fur free!!!" Eilish, who is vegan, wrote to her 91 million Instagram followers. "I'm honored to have been a catalyst and to have been heard on this matter."

At the same time that Eilish was going viral, AOC was making waves of her on the political front. The New York Democrat showed up to the Met Gala in a white dress with red lettering on the back that read "Tax the Rich." Ocasio-Cortez said she was proud that her dress was drawing attention to what she called the nation's unfair taxation system which enables seemingly endless loopholes for wealthy Americans and corporations.

"When Aurora and I were first kind of partnered, we really started having a conversation about what it means to be working-class women of color at the Met, and we said, 'We can't just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall and challenge some of the institutions,'" AOC said during a red carpet interview about her collaboration with designer Aurora James. "While the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it."

Ocasio-Cortez did receive some criticism from both the political Right and Left for her appearance, with some saying it was hypocritical for a public servant so critical of economic privilege to appear at an event with a $30,000 ticket price and attendees paying an estimated $250,000 per table. However, others praised the lawmaker for bringing her message of equal taxation directly to those who would be most affected by it.

Regardless of your politics, it was refreshing to see both Eilish and AOC using their respective perches and power to make bold statements for the causes they care about. And let's be honest, it doesn't hurt when those more serious topics are conveyed with some top-level fashion sensibility.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.