Complete Whiteout: Met Gala ‘Best Dressed’ List a Wash of White

Top: Hailee Steinfeld Bottom, left to right: Beyonce, Rihanna

Top: Hailee Steinfeld
Bottom, left to right: Beyonce, Rihanna

The Met Gala is considered one of the most important nights for fashion.  Designers and celebrities send endless amount of time putting together the perfect outfit, hoping to find a spot on one of the most coveted ‘Best Dressed’ lists of the year.  After such a groundbreaking year for people of color in film, I (foolishly) thought that the trend would continue on the red-carpeted stairs of the Met.

There are five “Best Dressed” lists that a celebrity (and their fans) look out for: Vogue, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, US Weekly, and Hollywood Life.  In total, there are 110 different individuals featured on the ‘Best Dressed” lists for Met Gala 2014.

110 different individuals, a number that gives plenty of room to have a multitude of PoC; have we finally reached the days where fashion only cares about the outfit and not the person wearing it? The answer is no.

Out of those 110 individuals, 14 are Black, 5 are Asian, and 4 are Latino. US Weekly gets to boast as the most diverse with 20% of their list being PoC, while Vogue came in with the least amount of representation with less than 18% of their list being PoC.

On average, there are 4 white people for every PoC.  Even then, only Vogue had representation of Black, Asian, and Latino individuals, while the other lists had only one or two of the groups.

While Blake Lively, Emma Stone, and Sarah Jessica Parker (all white women) are featured on every single list, the most visible PoC is Beyonce who appears on 4 out of the 5 lists, with Rihanna and Hailee Steinfeld coming in second by both appearing on 3 out of the 5 lists.  Out of those three most visible PoC, two are black (Beyonce and Rihanna) and one is Asian (Hailee Steinfeld).  Steinfeld, a mixed Filipina, still remains the only South Asian to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

This is an issue of representation. New York City, the location of the Met Gala, is incredibly diverse.  As of 2010, 44% of the population is white, 25% is Black, 28% is Latino, and 12% is Asian; so it shouldn’t be ridiculous to expect to see demographics similar to these in media representation.

While it has been a big year for representation in the media, the coverage and the standard of beauty as demonstrated by the ‘Best Dressed’ lists of the Met Gala 2014 just show how far we have to go.

Samantha Estoesta

Samantha is a 23 year old in Waterloo, ON, Canada. A graduate of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Waterloo, and currently the Executive Director of a Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), she is going to start her Masters in Intercultural Communications in the fall. She is 50% Filipina, and 50% Azorean Portuguese.

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