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Blake Lively Gave a Powerful, Impassioned Speech About Child Pornography, so Naturally People Had Questions About Her Outfit


Variety’s Women of Power event honors prominent women “who are using their clout and influence to bring attention to worthy causes.” This year celebrated Jessica Chastain for Planned Parenthood, Chelsea Clinton taking on childhood obesity, Audra McDonald for Covenant House, Gayle King for equal education opportunities, media mogul Shari Redstone for legal aid, and Blake Lively bringing awareness to the issue of child pornography. Those are some weighty issues. But of course, there’s still going to be someone asking the women about their clothes.

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As Vanity Fair recounts it, the exhange came when a Today Show rep asked Lively what her “power outfit” is. Errr, I suppose that can be considered an attempt to celebrate the “Power of Women” theme. A horrible attempt, but sure.

Lively responded, “Come on, you want to talk about an outfit here, today? No way. Come on. Come on, we’re about building women up. Come on, outfits? Would you ask a man that?” The interviewer tried to clarify, and Blake insisted, “But you wouldn’t ask a man what his power outfit is, I’m sorry. Like see, this is the moment that we become more aware and that we change.”

It’s not surprising she had such a strong reaction. The speech she was there to give was a harrowing, detailed account of the child pornography epidemic. You can watch her full speech here, but be aware of major content warnings for child abuse and sexual assault.

That is a thorough, articulate, emotional, and ultimately horrifying lesson in what this plague of exploitation and abuse really looks like. Lively ended with an impassioned plea to the “very important and well-connected people” in that room, to give not just donations, but needed introductions to the Child Rescue Coalition with whom she works. She was there to make a difference. So no one should fault her for not wanting to talk about her outfit in this moment.

And yet, I’m sure people will. No doubt, there are trolls all across the internet storing this exchange in their “See, feminism is hypocrisy!” mental banks for the next time Lively, a known fashion and lifestyle blogging enthusiast, does want to talk about clothing.

So, just a quick reminder for those folks: women are humans, not symbols, and are allowed to adapt to their circumstances. Blake Lively is allowed to talk about both clothing and child abuse, at the same time or decidedly not, at her discretion. One does not preclude the other. (Personally, I hope this newfound dedication to eradicating child abuse would preclude her from working with and publicly praising alleged child abuser Woody Allen ever again, but I suppose I have to stand by my own “at her discretion” statement, don’t I?)

(via Vanity Fair, image: YouTube)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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