“Famous Woman Wears Outfit And Everyone Has An Opinion About It”: It’s a narrative as old as time itself, made even more badgering by Twitter’s instant flood of opinions and “Fashion Police’s” ruthlessness played off as playfulness. Celebs these days just can’t catch a break from the scrutiny.
And so, when Ciara showed up to perform the National Anthem at the College Football Playoff Championship on Monday night (Jan. 11), it wasn’t her vocal abilities that got people talking (which is a shame, because she sounded incredible). It was her dress.
Before we take a good, hard look at Ciara’s gown, consider yourself warned: you’re about to see some — GASP! — cleavage.
So. What we have here is a floor-length gown with a cape and a sheer, V-shaped panel that, yes, does show off a bit of cleavage. Or a lot, depending on who you ask. Former ESPN reporter Bonnie Bernstein was among the first Twittics (new phrase I just coined for Twitter critics, you like?) to opine that Ciara’s dress was too revealing for a national audience.
Dear Ciara. You're stunning. But this is a National Championship Game. Kids are watching. Cover up.
— Bonnie Bernstein (@BonnieBernstein) January 12, 2016
Fox Sports 1 reporter Jason Whitlock then echoed Bernstein’s critique, offering up a definition of “nudity” that’s skewed at best.
Appropriate, fair tweet. The dress was inappropriate. Her voice was more than enough. Why distract w/nudity? https://t.co/Fv93ioO7TM
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) January 12, 2016
Bernstein and Whitlock’s comments — which were shared by many other Twitter users last night, by the way — are disappointing for several reasons, not the least of which is that shaming women for how they dress simply needs to stop. If anything, Ciara was overdressed for the occasion. But inappropriate? Hardly.
Besides, as many people noted when calling Bernstein and Whitlock out for their “prudish” comments, Ciara’s dress was no more revealing than the outfits that college cheerleaders wear on the sidelines every game day (including last night).
— Jessica (@jessicaynez) January 12, 2016
It’s frustrating that Ciara has again found herself the victim of a sexist double standard — as well as an absurd standard of decency — that’s forced upon female artists today. Heaven forbid we focus on her talent rather than what she looks like. Remember, too, that this is the same woman who was mocked after revealing that she and her boyfriend, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, are practicing abstinence. Sooo… that decision makes her a prude, while showing cleavage on national television makes her a slut? No.
Ciara and Wilson, to their credit, are taking the high road around this ridiculousness, instead focusing on what an amazing experience last night was. Ciara said she was “grateful” for the opportunity to sing “The Star Spangled Banner,” while Wilson gushed over his boo with a sweet tweet of his own.
— Ciara (@ciara) January 12, 2016
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) January 12, 2016
Bottom line: We’re only a couple weeks into 2016 — how about we try to make this the year we stop shaming women? We can do it, y’all.