Gilded Glamor: Controversy surrounds this year’s MET Gala theme

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“Kai Pilger” via Wikipedia

The Met Gala is known for its glamor, but this year’s theme may have taken it too far.

Shravani Inampudi, Copy Editor

The MET Gala is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Most people look forward to critiquing the outfits of the A-list celebrities who attend. However, this year’s MET Gala theme is controversial under present day circumstances.

The MET gala is an annual fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. However,  The theme of the MET Gala is more heavily looked upon than its fundraising aspect. It is not surprising that most see listicles of celebrities who followed the theme and those that did not soon after the MET Gala.

The theme this year was Gilded Glamor. It embodies the fashion of the Gilded Age, a time from the 1880s to the 1900s. This time was known for rapid economic growth and overall societal flourishment. However, the outside appearance of the time is deceitful. Instead, it was filled with political corruption. The term, Gilded Age, was coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in their book which spoke about the immoral doings in Washington, D.C.

Using this theme at this point in time is not very appropriate. For one, there is a war going on. Even though the Russia-Ukraine war is no longer paid attention to by Americans, it is still going on. Innocent civilians are still dying, and the lack of sensitivity surrounding this can be seen in this year’s MET Gala theme.

Junior Aarya Joshi voiced her opinion on this phenomenon. “Everyone paid attention to the Ukraine-Russia war for a few weeks and then forgot about it. I feel like this year’s theme just went with the crowd and ignored the issue at hand,” she said.

Along with this, the U.S.’s economy is currently struggling. During the first three months of 2022, the U.S.’s gross domestic product decreased by 1.4% due to a drop in exports, slow restocks of store merchandise and many other factors. The Gilded Age refers to a time of prosperity and wealth. The theme mocks most middle class Americans who are currently feeling the effects of a declining economy.

Junior Arissa Khan brings up a great point of history repeating itself with this year’s theme. “The Gilded Age was an extremely prosperous time for a select few, while many others were suffering in poverty, and it’s mirrored in our current socioeconomic climate,” she said. “The wealth gap is wider than ever, the rich keep getting richer, and this year’s met gala theme’s romantic outlook on the prosperity fails to recognize the suffering that makes said prosperity for a select few possible.”

The mention of the inequality between social classes is rarely mentioned when talking about the Gilded Age. Though we have come a long way since the days of blatant classism, it is still very present in our society today. For example, access to quality education continues to be a challenge in our society. Even though most go to public schools, the disparity between different public schools is very obvious.

Joshi believes that when given the opportunity, people should bring attention to issues. “I don’t understand why they didn’t use a theme to bring attention to an issue. It is obvious that many people watch the MET, so they could use that to their advantage in order to show people the issues of our society,” she said.

The MET Gala is one of the most publicized events of the year . However, the theme of the MET Gala is quite controversial. If the planners of the event made sure that the theme did not conflict with current events, the theme would feel less like a belittlement of the working class.