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Is the Met Gala distasteful? Show more Show less
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The first Monday in May is a huge part of the fashion social calendar. Every year, the Met Gala is thrown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to benefit the Costume Institute. The event raises huge amounts of money, but is it just an excuse for capitalist worship of excess?

Yes, the Met Gala is distasteful Show more Show less

The Met Gala is capitalist worship of excess, and frequently has offensive themes.
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The Met Gala promotes the importance of money and celebrates capitalism

The Met Gala is a way for the super-wealthy to flaunt their money. The event also emphasizes the importance of wealth with respect to success. This is reproachable in a country with ever-increasing levels of wealth inequality.

The Argument

The Met Gala merely showcases and flaunts wealth while stressing the importance of material possessions. The tickets themselves are purported to cost $30,000 apiece, while tables can cost up to $500,000. In addition to this, the clothes worn to the event–most notably the designer downs–have cost up to $35,000 for a single piece. There have been pieces of jewelry worn to the event that are supposedly worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The incredibly public nature of the event is problematic. Given all the acclaim and attention paid to the Met Gala, some find the event to be incredibly pretentious and a sad display of what is now popularly valued by society. This is especially significant as the gap between the economic elite and the lower classes becomes greater. The median income of American households in 2018 was reportedly $74,600.[1] This means a single gown worn to the Met Gala may cost as much as half of what an average American makes in a year. All the media focus on the wealthy elite and their possessions emphasizes the importance of wealth to a captivated and receptive audience. The event is out of touch with the average American’s reality and places an unqualified importance on material goods. Such focus on wealth and valuing people by their possessions or even by what one wears can lead to discontentment with one’s own life. As such, the capitalist nature of the event is distasteful.

Counter arguments

While there is certainly a great focus on the materialism and vast wealth present on the night of the Met Gala, the point of the event itself is ultimately to raise money. If the proceeds of the event are being used to curate an educational exhibition, then at least the inane sums of money are being put toward a good cause. Further, the hype around the outlandish nature of the event and the event itself ultimately raises awareness about the exhibition and drives more visitors to the museum. Some designers in the past have also sold their designs from the night for thousands of dollars apiece and donated the money to various charities. Although the large sum of money that goes into the night may seem distasteful, it goes toward good causes for the most part.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/01/09/trends-in-income-and-wealth-inequality/#the-wealth-of-american-families-is-currently-no-higher-than-its-level-two-decades-ago
This page was last edited on Thursday, 16 Jul 2020 at 19:43 UTC

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