You can be interested in politics and still want to know who was wearing Dior to the Oscars

There's nothing inherently wrong with asking an celebrity where her dress is from

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The Independent Online

“Who are you wearing?” has become the most scrutinised red carpet question.  And the launch of Amy Poehler’s #AskHerMore campaign, which aims to show that women are more than just “what they wear” and has been endorsed by every female star from Reese Witherspoon to Julianne Moore, may be sounding the death knell for these four little words .

Women certainly seem to be fed up of being asked soley about their physical appearance, and rightly so. At this year's Oscars Patricia Arquette told a reporter that she was too busy working on ecological sanitation to get her nails done for a dreaded 'mani cam', to cheers from women the world over, thrilled that more points for feminism had been scored. Finally, they said, the names of labels need never be uttered again. But is this really a good thing?

Whilst I’m absolutely in agreement that we are more than what we look like, a lot of people agreeing with the campaign forgot the key words – more than. Because it is about clothes too, and too many people have used the movement as a way to attack the world of fashion for me appreciate what it's truly trying to achieve.  

I enjoy politics. I love reading classical literature, going on history trips and raising money for causes I think are important.  But – and here’s the shocker – I also enjoy and appreciate fashion.

And this is the fundamental issue: the idea that intelligence and an interest in fashion are separate. I like pouring over lipsticks and running my fingers through silk skirts. That doesn’t in some inexplicable way dilute my interest in politics or melt my understanding of current affairs.

I wholeheartedly agree with #AskHerMore, in that we should be asking actors a multitude of other questions that aren't just about clothes. But “more” means we can still ask about how they chose to dress, otherwise we are dividing the world between those who like fashion and those who are intelligent and capable of achieving other things.

The two should sit side by side comfortably because both what you wear and what else you take interest in reflect who you are, the whole you as opposed to the you that just enjoys shopping or the you that can spend hours in a bookshop.

And if you don’t care about fashion and think it’s an inherently sexist industry? Well, your clothes still speak volumes about you. We can’t say that who we are excludes how we dress because frankly, whether people like it or not, we choose how we dress and it is part of people’s impression of us. The way I see it, at least acknowledging the way in which my clothes contribute to how people behave towards me, is a kind of intelligence in itself.

Additionally, fashion and film have been married for decades, and the red carpet is key for designers promoting their latest lines. Of course we should ask women about more, but let’s not deny the role of fashion entirely.

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