Read this if…
- You’re interested in learning more about modern-day slavery.
- You’re a teenage girl struggling with identity and feeling loved.
- You interact with teenagers on a regular basis.
How can one girl change the world? It all began with a heart for justice and a little black dress. In 2012, sixteen-year-old Bethany Winz decided to make a difference. To raise awareness, she determined to
– wear the same black dress every day for a year to bring attention to the lack of choices slaves have
– come up with new ways to accessorize the dress each day
– use her blog and pictures of her outfits to raise money for agencies helping those who were being trafficked
Her yearlong journey was one of hope, discipline, and sometimes disappointment. She celebrated some successes yet despaired at the depth of the problem. As she found her identity tied to the things she did, Bethany discovered that while she stood for freedom for others, she also struggled to find her own freedom in believing that she was loved just as she was. This moving book shows readers that their voices matter, they can make a difference, and sometimes the smallest gestures have lasting impact.
Review by Rachel Mowers – @raemow
In my junior year of college, I had this big, beautiful dream of hosting a Stand for Freedom with International Justice Mission, and it ended up actually happening. My friends and I rallied together, and with the help of some key faculty members, we Stood for Freedom in Scranton, Pennsylvania on April 9th 2014. It was incredible. But it wasn’t exactly what I had dreamed. The process was much longer and harder and more convoluted than I had anticipated. Sometimes I lost sight of the purpose. Sometimes it felt like we weren’t making a difference anyway – so why bother. As I read Bethany Winz’s record of her year-long dress adventure, many of her thoughts and feelings resonated with me, reminding me of my experience in fighting for freedom. Her reminder is exactly why this book is so valuable.
Bethany’s excitement is palpable and relatable. She provides context for her inspiration – why she decided to wear the same dress for an entire year – and explains her purpose with The Dress Project. One Dress. One Year. documents Bethany Winz’s decision to wear the same black dress every day for a year
“to focus attention on the lack of choices people in modern-day slavery faceThe plan seems simple and straightforward enough, but before long, challenges and frustrations surface. Bethany’s documentation of how she processed the struggles that come with tackling this type of large-scale project provides helpful perspective for anyone looking at the looming mountain that is the fight against modern-day slavery. It’s not an easy fight, and those who engage the battle quickly grow war-torn and weary.
and raise money to help end human trafficking”
However, what makes Bethany’s story so valuable and profound is not just her honesty, but her transparency. As with all long processes, The Dress Project revealed weaknesses and strongholds that she could either address and conquer, or ignore and allow to fester in her life:
“Nothing seemed to go the way I wanted it to. It didn’t make me feel better like I thought it would. Instead, the dress helped me see myself for who I was (and who I still am): a girl who needed to be set free from perfectionism and pride and guilt and the notion that I could buy my way into God’s good graces with my grand plans. I couldn’t. … The beautiful part is that in my darkness and doubt, God met me.”
Bethany writes her story to teenage girls struggling to find themselves in the midst of growing up, while still managing to challenge all teens to do something big, and appeal to adults engaged in or looking to learn more about fighting human trafficking. Elements of the writing are somewhat immature, but the story is interesting and worth reading regardless of the teenage writing style. Her insight provides an important challenge to personally claim freedom in Christ before being able to succeed in the long fight for freedom.