Is everyone fair game on a red carpet?

The “Fashion Police” at the Brownlow

The biggest night for AFL football players always brings with it a bit of controversy. The slow and monotonous counting of the Brownlow Medal points lends itself to fingers being pointed at the television set and constant shouts of ‘what?’ and ‘how could you?’ and ‘he was ROBBED’.

But at this year’s Brownlow – the main topic of morning after conversation wasn’t the players, it was the red carpet. And more specifically the red carpet commentators.

The Herald Sun reports:

Haylea and Adam Cooney

IT’S no wonder footy WAG Haylea Cooney has vowed never to attend another Brownlow red carpet if the “fashion police” are there.

The wife of 2008 Brownlow medallist and Western Bulldogs star Adam Cooney lashed out at Foxtel’s Footy Fashion Police yesterday after its critique of the red carpet on Monday night, featuring designers Alex Perry and Peter Morrissey, fashion commentator Melissa Hoyer and Australia’s Next Top Model judge Charlotte Dawson.

Yes, that’s right, trolling victim Dawson. The one whose public battle with online bullies led her to be admitted to hospital three weeks ago.

Among the comments made by the Brownlow Fashion Police was that Jenna Cumming should “carry a pole in her handbag” and on Jessie Haberman: “She’s a Brownlow virgin. And you know what? She won’t be a virgin after tonight”.

We’re not trying to suggest that commenting on clothing isn’t possible. We love seeing dresses come down the red carpet (like they did this week, which you can see here and here) and ooh-ing and ah-ing over the ones we like best. But there is a difference between playing the dress and playing the woman.

Fashion Police: why can’t we play the dress not the woman?

You can say that a frock isn’t your cup of tea without tearing the wearer to shreds.

Each of us makes our own choice about what we say when we’re discussing someone else’s appearance. You can decide to say ‘that dress is my favourite’ or you can choose to focus on the dress you hate.

You can remark that you’d like a dress better if it had a higher neckline or less lace or more sparkles, without arguing that the woman wearing it looks appalling or being unkind.

It’s also worth remembering that the wives and girlfriends of football stars aren’t celebrities who have sought out fame and attention. Sure it can be fun to get dressed up and walk the red carpet but ultimately – they’re there to support their partners – not holding themselves out for a fashion critique. Or is everyone on a red carpet fair game?


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