Following months of hearing stories about sexual harassment, abuse, and assault in the Hollywood industry (for example, the infamous allegations of abuse by movie producer Harvey Weinstein), some of the movie industry’s biggest stars gathered at the 75th Annual Golden Globes to support the Time’s Up Movement, backed by many members of the industry. Many of the stars who attended the award show, chose to wear black in solidarity for the victims who spoke out with allegations of sexual misconduct. Most viewers responded with respect and admiration, and the hashtag #MeToo was the top trend in many social media platforms.
However, many criticised the protest, describing it as the action of privileged women who never really interact with those who live their lives in silence. And yes, these women are evidently privileged, but as they filled the red carpet of one of the most important award ceremonies in Hollywood, they molded this privilege into a tool, wearing black to promote the Times Up Movement; a symbol for solidarity.
Numerous stars chose to go a step further to make their statement acknowledged, bringing an activist as their plus-one. These activists have been fighting for this cause for years, dedicating their life to support women. The names of these activists could easily have been eradicated by the media, unless they were made known by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Examples include Meryl Streep, who brought Ai-Jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, as her date.
The action of these stars triggered a refreshing transformation for the red-carpet interviews, in which the stars praised the work of numerous activists and tackled issues of gender bias and sexual misconduct, instead of advertising the designers and jewellers they were wearing.
There was also Oprah Winfrey’s authentic and whole-hearted speech as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement, in which she addressed issues of both racial and sexual harassment: “a new day is on the horizon... and when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too,’ again.”
The black dresses that they wore weren’t just a black dress, they were so much more than that. It signified a chance to fight against abuse that has flooded industries and workplaces for years on end, a chance to protect for the next generations, a chance to make sure no one else has to suffer in silence, a chance to say: time’s up.