“But what about the…” or 62 Dresses and a Handful of Hypocrites

(Photo from  “Know Your Value: The official Wonderfully Made Blog”
Please visit this link for a wonderful article about this organization.)

I recently saw a facebook post in which a lovely 62-year-old lady was celebrating her birthday by sitting on her sewing room floor, surrounded by the sixty-two dresses that she made for a charity called Little Dresses for Africa. While the responses to her post were overwhelmingly positive, there were, of course, the inevitable criticisms of “What about the boys?” and “What about the babies here?”

This rankles me for a variety of reasons.

  1. This woman was showing the fruits of her labor for a cause in which she believed. She obviously devoted a great deal of time and effort to her chosen cause. This kind of effort toward making the world a better place should not be criticized. Whether her charitable work matches anyone else’s personal belief system or priorities does not lessen the dedication she has devoted to it.
  2. The people who say, “But what about the…” are obviously doing nothing for the group they are supposedly advocating, or they would already know how to help, and they would be putting their efforts toward that group. A quick Google search would show that Little Dresses for Africa also makes shorts for boys. There are many local charities that offer new clothing to homeless children and foster children in the United States.
  3. “But what about the…” statements imply that by helping group X, that the person cares nothing for group Y. When I donate to the Humane Society, I hear criticism about caring more for animals than for humans, as if all humans need help before animals can be assisted. When people participate in Food Not Bombs by handing out free meals, they are accused of hating America and being anarchists. When this fine lady showed her work for girls in Africa, she was being indirectly accused of not caring about girls in the United States, boys in Africa, wounded American soldiers, and any other number of causes.

These are examples of black-or-white logical fallacy, in which there are only two possibilities: you can care about girls in Africa, or you can care about children in the United States. You can care about animals, or you can care about humans. You can help wounded soldiers, or you hate wounded soldiers.

What it comes down to, however, is that people who criticize others for doing good are usually tearing others down to make themselves feel better. I would bet a dollar that none of the people who began their reply to this woman’s post with “But what about the…” has made sixty-two of anything for their chosen cause. If they had, they would be too busy to criticize a very ambitious lady for her outstanding work in the service of others.

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21 Responses to “But what about the…” or 62 Dresses and a Handful of Hypocrites

  1. julie hedden says:

    When I worked as the math and science coordinator for an organization that advocates for girls in Dallas, we were constantly asked “What about the boys?” Well, they have similar organizations, which tend to have larger budgets, and our goal was to increase participation of girls in STEM fields where they are currently underrepresented.

  2. kristilynne says:

    Thank you! I saw the post and the “What about the…” responses. There is so much need in the world. We help those who touch something in our hearts, and different needs touch different hearts. If all of us that can did something for someone, the world would be a different place.

  3. Faye Hodgkins says:

    Thank you for your blog post. We all need to give more of ourselves, our time, our ‘wealth’…when that happens, more hurting people can start healing.

  4. sandy says:

    Amen, sister.

  5. Delorse Reinsch says:

    Well spoken. Any help is awesome. But holy cow that wonderful lady went so up and over. We need everyone to be impressed by her and give a little. What a difference it would make. As long as the gift of love touches someone or animal life is better. Both the giver and the receiver feel special. The ones who have negative comments to make are the ones who never give or get. And feel jealous of the others who give love and receive love. Guess we can pity them. Hope the lady who loves helping kids ill continue. I love making and giving little dresses to any little girl. I have 3 boys & 3 grandsons. They never feel left out when I sew for girls.

    • Lisa Yarost says:

      Delorse, this gracious lady needs permission from no one to follow her heart, and she is much more gracious to her critics than I could ever be. I hope I can be that amazing some day. 🙂

  6. Patty MacD. says:

    I saw the original post and comments. Lisa Yarost you have said all that leaped into my heart and brain after reading those comments. Thank you so much for standing up for this kind woman and all of those who have reached out to help whomever or whatever in any way they are able. And thank you kristilynne for pointing out that ” if all of us that can did something for someone, the world would be a different place.” I do whatever I can whenever I can for mankind and animals and pray that it helps.

  7. Patti Warriner Moore says:

    Thank you so much Lisa Yarost. I am truly Moved, Honored, and Humbled.

    • Lisa Yarost says:

      Patti, you are one awesome lady! You just keep on being the great person you are. Let the rest of them keep on wishing they were half the person you are! In the meantime, I hope this garners even more attention for your cause.

      I did not use your name or your original photo because I wrote my post without obtaining your consent. I would be honored to write another detailing who you are and the details of your story, if you would allow me to do so.

      • Patti Warriner Moore says:

        You truly have my permission, Lisa. I would be Honored. I know, too, that there are many more Unsung Heros out there whose works do not garner attention, and who are indeed Selfless. Let me know what you’d like. If I can Inspire one person to serve in a world so in need, I’ve done my part.

    • Connie malm-Anderson says:

      Patti, you are one AWSOME lady….and you have inspired me..GBU

  8. Anna Kitner says:

    I remember seeing the post on Facebook and reading the negative comments. I was in utter disbelief at the criticism that poured out against her. Anyone who would spend time and resources to help someone, anyone, whether at home or on the other side of the world, is a hero in my eyes.

    I say, “Bravo! Well done”

  9. catskillquilter says:

    Great post! It is well thought out and needed to be said! Let’s celebrate the positive contributions — wow! 62 dresses is a LOT of dresses!

  10. Patti Warriner Moore says:

    Thank you Lisa Yarost for posting this to your blog, and thank you to all of you who commented and/or liked it. I am truly Honored and Humbled by this show of support. You may wonder if I read the comments. The answer would be Yes. I posted the picture and story in question on 4 different Quilting Groups on Facebook of which I am a member. It was posted on my 62nd Birthday – July 28, 2014. There were nearly 3,000 Likes, and almost 800 comments in total. Did I truly read them all? Yes – all but 3. Those 3 I began reading and could see they were taking a dramatic turn into an area I refused to go. For the others….those that Lisa so eloquently calls the ….”….But What About The….” comments. Yes, I read them all. I am Human. My first reaction would have been of hurt feelings and sadness. But….I am truly Blessed in that I not only have a Strong Faith, but I was a Student of Metaphysics in the 1980’s. Once the tendency to be drawn into the hurt feelings and feel victimized began to pull, I found the Strength of those Metaphysical Teachings and thought..”This is not about me. The First thought in this person’s mind when confronted with a story of Service was….What about the Boys…or the Girls in the US …..or the Babies…..” .or whatever issue they brought up. This truly was NOT a criticism of what I have Chosen to do to Serve, but rather, was Their Higher Self or Holy Spirit…or another Divine Instrument working thru them to have them Speak what was Truly in Their Heart and Minds. Their Utmost Concern. Their Opportunity to Serve and to Change The World by Their Actions. Whether it was written from Anger or From Criticism or From Jealousy, it was a Call to Service for Them. I can Only Hope That They Recognize That and Heed the Call. As One Woman Commented…” Could you imagine if everyone made one dress….”. Could you Imagine if Everyone did One Thing for Some One or Some Cause Outside of Themselves. No One is Asked to do a Specific Number of Good Deeds in Their Lifetime. It is the Effect of One Complete Unselfish and Loving Deed that Carries the Wave of Eternity and Ripples on Throughout the Universe to the Very Gates of Heaven. One Deed can Touch the Person Doing it, the Person Receiving it, each Person Hearing of It and each Person Inspired By It…..and so it goes. One Deed Changes the World. Good or Evil. Just One. I Choose to Do Good Ones.

  11. I add my congratulations and best wishes to Patti for her commitment and her hard work. I love that you did this and hope it encourages everyone to do Something for Somebody. Not of us can do everything for everybody and we just have to do what resonates for us.

  12. Minou says:

    You know that “but what about the…” twinge people feel? Maybe that’s the call for THEM to expand the idea and bless those “…’s” in a similar way! 😀

  13. DebyW says:

    I was in that long stack of responses a while back. It was really sad that all some could come up with was something negative. I posted “The correct response should be…”Great, you got the girls, I’ll start on the boys” to one negative post.

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