There is a new wave of judgment, called selective outrage, in these WAGS (wives and girlfriends) streets. The wives of professional athletes are being judged on a sliding scale that rewards wardrobe austerity with silence and debates stylishness with an edge. A case in point is two Vanity Fair Oscar party pictures with the two wives of two top-rated athletes. That’s enough twos for multiple double standards, and that’s exactly what the commentary around R&B star Ciara and Savannah James has been.
Ciara, the 37-year-old mother of three, made headlines with a sheer black dress replete with visible thong underwear and pasties covering her chest. Although she made her name with the song “Goodies,” where she said they “would stay in the jar,” her emboldened wardrobe choice sparked the anger of many of her husband Russell Wilson’s fans.
Selective Spiritual Outrage
Faith-based Wilson has become an evangelical role model for his spiritual tweets and wholesome image. However, the cultural clashes within their relationship came to a head with the fans when Ciara showed all her assets on the red carpet. She completed the outrage after posting a video wearing the Dundas dress, fresh off the Paris Fashion Week runway, on her social media that was captioned “Oscar Nights,” with M.I.A.’s song ‘Bad Girls’ playing in the background.
But the followership of Russell Wilson wouldn’t let his wife be great. Instead, they questioned how he could be with such a woman based on his assumed moral code. But the outrage is entirely selective and based solely on a one-sided view of a person. But aren’t we all multi-dimensional beings?
The subsequent tweets of judgment about her dress concerning her husband’s squeaky spiritual brand abounded.
“30 mins ago, wasn’t you just (in) a prison providing church?” a fan commented.
But some felt the need to balance the narrative.
“If you don’t get the joke, I’m tired of sexist double standards and ppl slut-shaming Ciara for her dress at the Oscars. It’s her body, her choice,” a fan said, critical of the online hate. “These men from single-parent households think she’s unworthy of marriage and a loving husband just bc she was a single mom. Haters.”
Where’s The Outrage?
Additionally, there were four white actresses on the same red carpet, each with their partially naked bodies on display through equally sheer designer clothes — however, no universal judgment, husband shaming, or blanket statements on their expression of feminity.
Enter Savannah James. The doting matriarch of LeBron James’ basketball kingdom was also on the Vanity Fair Oscars party’s red carpet; this time, the reactions were different. Queen James wore a white bustier-style gown with a mermaid silhouette by Black designer Sergio Hudson and styled by Icon Billingsley.
LeBron James even posted the look on his Instagram with the caption, “GOT DAMNNNNNN!!! *Pharrell voice.” The comments were full of approval from the fans who were swept into the very lit kingdom of the James family.
In February, though, James graced Milan Fashion Week wearing a semi-sheer lace Dolce & Gabbana bodysuit covered by a stylish jacket with her neck adorned with jewels. Savannah James has always silently held her celebrity family together from the sidelines. Seeing her more emboldened in fashion was surprising, but she was treated differently concerning her husband’s uber-celebrity status.
Between Russell Wilson catching morality “L’s” for Ciara being a proud and beautiful mother and wife, to Savannah James’s uncharacteristic risque to elegant style choices being the escape some crave, the world picks and chooses what to be mad at. Their white contemporaries wear even more controversial items, and the outrage dissipates. That’s the world we all live in.
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