At the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, a group of determined women, led by Tarana Burke founder of #MeToo, and actor Michele Williams, seized an opportunity to shed much-needed light on the issue of gender inequality not just in Hollywood but worldwide. They called this movement Time’s Up and they turned it into a protest march. From “what are you wearing?” to “we are not arm candy, we are activists,” they changed the narrative at this iconic event. While female actors are often marginalized, they persevered despite being powerless in their own right against the industry led and controlled by male interests, money, and sexual power, as we have seen in recent months with horrific revelations and consequences. They persevered.
A group of female actors, who had gathered in advance and generated momentum for Time’s Up, each invited a prominent activist to join them at the Globes. This pairing was to call attention to sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond, using the red carpet to shine a spotlight on an epidemic, that while not new, is certainly more newsworthy of late.
These actors chose to wear black in protest, and many to wear pants to an event where their sexuality and supposed femininity are often the only yardsticks upon which they are measured. This is typically a metric based on which designer is worn, and how much cloth and glitter said designer has chosen to sew onto the bodice or rear (or not) of a woman’s dress. No skin at these Globes. These Globes were not about globes at all, that horrible pun was put away and let’s hope for good. Women are not their breasts nor have we ever been.
To those who called these efforts superficial, I say, how else would you have us protest years, no decades, of persecution? In a brilliantly executed strategy, these women used the media and their station as actors to show they would not be marginalized and turned into pinup dolls for viewers’ enjoyment. They’d prefer to wear a garment of their own choosing, thank you very much. And, perhaps pants rather than a cumbersome gown as high heels, plunging necklines, and pasties are simply not comfortable whilst strolling down a red carpet in the heat and spotlights.
These women have declared in bright lights, and exclamation points that we are not here for your pleasure, entertainment, use and abuse. No one is. To minimize our protest of rampant abuse is to further institutionalize it. It needs to be carved out of our culture. When we tell our stories, we need to be heard and believed. We have no reason to lie.
And to the abusers, the creeps, the apathetic, and the enablers we are coming for you. Your time is up.