The mother found it particularly unsettling that “an adult male has attacked her for what she’s wearing,” something that has nothing to do with “her talent or her mind.”

“I’m proud of her for standing her ground because she didn’t do anything wrong,” Dawes said.

In the days since the photos went viral, Daum said she has made a point of researching the significance of the dress in Chinese history and culture. She also says she has learned about the velocity and reach of messages on social media, and the importance of being able to see her own posts from a different lens.

“This does give me a better sense of choice and being careful in what I say in posts and how it can be perceived differently,” she said. “It’s taught me to be extra cautious because you don’t want people to see it the wrong way.”