Closing The Gap

UK lawmaker raises $26,000 for charity by selling dress that sparked social media outrage

Tracy Brabin raising a point of order in the Commons on Monday following Downing Street's decision to order senior journalists from some of the UK's major news organisations to leave before a briefing on Boris Johnson's Brexit plans.
House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images

Tracy Brabin, a British lawmaker, raised £20,200 ($26,336) for charity by selling an off-the-shoulder dress on eBay that sparked controversy when she wore it in U.K. Parliament last week.

Brabin, the shadow secretary for the department of digital, culture, media and sport for Britain's leading opposition party, raised the money for Girlguiding U.K. — the British equivalent of Girl Scouts.

The "shouldergate" dress, which sold out on online outlet Asos in the aftermath of the social media furor, received 180 bids on eBay.

Brabin, a former actress, received an onslaught of insults on Twitter last week after appearing in the House of Commons wearing the black dress.

The member of parliament promptly shut down critics on Twitter, calling out the sexist nature of the comments.

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During an appearance on one British breakfast television talk show she said the focus on her outfit was "silly" but added "we have a duty to call out everyday sexism."

In another breakfast TV appearance, Brabin said the "vitriolic comments were so shocking and so sexualized" that she "couldn't get her head round it."

Brabin said she pushed back because she was in a "privileged position" and "so many women in the workplace don't have that opportunity."

The politician said she chose to raise money for Girlguiding because of their "phenomenal" work when it came to helping develop young girls' self-confidence and self-esteem — something that could be particularly affected by social media, she noted.

In relation to this issue, Brabin reiterated on Twitter that the U.K. government's new online harms bill "needed to go further with tougher regulation, placing a duty of care on social media companies to protect our younger people online and prioritize safety over profit."

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