The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

Met Gala held despite crisis in Palestine

The Met Gala has long been known for its showstopping fashion. It spawns countless articles every year, discussing the outfits, the partygoers, and who managed to fit the dress code. But the Gala isn’t without its controversies, and this year the opulence has rubbed many people the wrong way. The obscene show of luxury and beauty tends to lose a lot of its charm when we are watching genocide happen in real time and the majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. 

The Met Gala is a charity event, raising money for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One ticket for the Gala costs $75,000, which is more than what the average American makes in a year. The outfits worn are incredibly extravagant, with countless glittering crystals, lengthy trains, and jewelry worth thousands of dollars. It’s all about showing off the outfits and promoting famous fashion designers. While it is beautiful to look at, the sheer amount of opulence displayed is discomforting in contrast to the meager conditions of war ravaged nations.  

This year’s dress code was “The Garden of Time,” taken from the short story of the same name by J. G. Ballard. The tale centers around a count and his wife who are alone in their grandiose mansion. As a mob of working class people approaches their home, the count and countess pluck time flowers from their garden in order to rewind time and stave off the mob. The count and countess spend the story trying to preserve their lavish lifestyle while the common people outside approach, and from the beginning of the story it is clear that they are just trying to buy themselves time to spend with all of the luxuries they have. “The Garden of Time” is full of themes about class, privilege, and inevitability, and the people attending the Met Gala, who spent more than the average American makes in a year per ticket, take on the role of the inevitably doomed count and countess. They display their incredible wealth, while staying isolated from everyday people and their lived realities. 

The Met Gala’s excessive show of wealth and materialism is especially tone-deaf considering the state of the world. While celebrities were showing off their red carpet looks, Israel was illegally issuing evacuation orders to the people in Rafah. Rafah, which had previously been designated as a safe zone, was where 1.3 million Palestianians were sheltering. Early morning on May 7, Israel started bombing Rafah while every news outlet focused on the Met Gala. 800,000 people have had to flee their homes and the place that they were told was safe, and they have nowhere else to go. 

What Israel has been doing to Palestine is considered a genocide by many people, including UN experts. The word genocide is defined as “the indiscriminate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.” (Oxford Languages) The reason that so many people consider Israel’s assault on Palestine a genocide is because of the massive amounts of civilian casualties that Palestine has incurred since the Nakba, a mass forced expulsion of Palestinians out of Palestine. Israel has shown no remorse for these crimes, or for the other war crimes they have committed such as the bombing of healthcare centers and places of worship, which are considered protected areas during war time, and the use of starvation and lack of clean water against Palestinian people. Israel has also dehumanized Palestinians many times in their press conferences, which supports the idea that their actions are done with intent to hurt Palestinian people. 

As the Met Gala flooded people’s social media and news feeds, it overshadowed the invasion of Rafah and the war crimes Israel is committing in issuing these evacuation orders. The protests that took place around the Met were also ignored by many media outlets. While the Gala was unfolding, pro-Palestine protests blocks away were being arrested. 27 people were arrested then, and that is a small fraction of the 2,200 people that have been arrested at protests nationwide. 

Fashion has always been political, and the complete lack of acknowledgement towards the multiple genocides taking place is disappointing, especially considering how high profile the Met Gala is. Unlike other prominent events, this year’s Gala had no mention of any politics, in stark contrast to things like the “tax the rich” dress that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore in 2021 or the ceasefire and Palestinian flag pins that have been worn at other events this year. 

These celebrities have the resources and privilege to ignore what is going on in the world, but people in Palestine do not. People in the Democratic Republic of the Congo do not. People in Sudan and Ukraine do not. There are genocides happening worldwide, and the celebrities who went to the Met Gala have, for the most part, not said anything about it. 

Seeing the decadence of the Met Gala is painfully reminiscent for many of the Capitol from The Hunger Games. The Capitol is full of opulence and affluence, and the residents overindulge constantly while the common people struggle to keep themselves and their families alive. 

If you’ve read The Hunger Games trilogy or seen the second movie, you might remember the party that Katniss and Peeta go to. There they see Capitol citizens taking a liquid to make them throw up just so that they can eat more food while the districts starve. This year’s Met Gala had the same feeling, with the tactless overindulgence of the rich while everyone else struggles. When you add in the similarities between Panem’s government running the Hunger Games and our government funding the Israeli occupation, it’s hard not to feel as though we are living in a dystopia. 

People are being murdered and centuries of history are being lost, and most of the people who attended the Met Gala have not acknowledged it publicly. With their immense platforms, even simply resharing a post or a donation link could have a real, positive impact for a lot of people. 

Suzanne Collins has said that one thing that inspired The Hunger Games was her flipping through channels one night, and going between reality television and footage of the Iraq War. Right now, the same situation happens anytime you scroll through your Instagram feed. You can go from a picture of a celebrity at the Met Gala to a child dying from a bomb strike or starving to death. It makes the Met Gala feel so out of touch, because while people starve, celebrities are playing dress up. I enjoy the fashion as much as the next person, but it’s hard to care about the red carpet looks when people are dying and all of the attendees have the money to try to help them. I don’t think that the Met Gala in and of itself is awful, but I do think that it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to see celebrities acting like this while completely ignoring the humanitarian crises happening around the world.

All eyes on Rafah.