The 75th Golden Globe Awards arrived amid what many are calling the Hollywood sexual harassment reckoning, and a few promising things happened as a result: Oprah gave an acceptance speech that rightfully earned a tearful standing ovation. Debra Messing called out E!’s massive pay gap between the male and female hosts while being interviewed by the network. Eight activists, including Tarana Burke, creator of the #MeToo movement, walked the red carpet and were given a platform for their causes. Laura Dern gave a memorable speech. Women in Hollywood (and some men) came together collectively to speak in support of Time’s Up, an initiative formed three weeks ago to combat gender inequality and sexual harassment in not just the entertainment industry, but all workplaces.

But the wave-making call to wear black on the red carpet didn’t add up for me. A few weeks ago, when celebrities declared their intention to wear black on the red carpet, at first as a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, and then as a way to show solidarity with their “sisters” across all industries, I was skeptical.

#TimesUp #WhyWeWearBlack

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For the life of me, I don’t understand why fashion, an industry that is having a similar reckoning, was extricated from the conversation when it could have been used to advance it. It seems that whenever women want to have more meaningful conversations on the red carpet, it means giving up the “frivolous” topic of fashion. Don’t ask me about my dress, ask me about my cause (see: #AskHerMore). Yet, history has shown you can do both (even on the red carpet). When done thoughtfully and audaciously, clothing can be not only a form of protest, but it can speak volumes; Amber Rose’s bodysuit covered in phrases used to slut-shame women comes to mind.

As The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan questioned: “One could argue that the decision to wear black is, in fact, using the power of fashion to deliver a message. And to some degree that is true. But mostly it reads like the proper response to sexual harassment is to change one’s attire.”

Black is a color chosen for its easy adaptability; it doesn’t stand out at a black-tie event, let alone on the red carpet. It’s a color that calls upon men, who would normally wear black tuxedos anyways, to do so little work. And it’s a color that was chosen for a hodgepodge of reasons: from mourning and “death to the old Hollywood” to an awakening to “men have been wearing black for years, it’s our turn” to “a moment to stand together in a thick black line, dividing then from now.” But even with all of the accompanied “standing in solidarity” speeches, the choice of color felt destitute, risk-free and a bit confusing. And it enabled participants to comfortably abide by the norms of Hollywood instead of, say, opt out completely.

As Jenna Wortham put it in her New York Times piece, “There is something unsettling about how little these celebrities have to lose by taking these stances. They aren’t risking financial ruin, nor are they vulnerable to violence, as is the norm for most who take a bold position. It feels completely privileged, and a little complicit, to still participate in the larger system that has condoned sexual violence in their industry.”

Aside from a groundbreaking moment or two, the Golden Globes were business as usual. Before the show, rather than begin prompts with straightforward wording like, “With all of the sexual assault claims in Hollywood,” interviewers tiptoed around reality: “With everything that’s happening” was the common euphemism used instead. Like the all-black attire, the interviewers played it safe, kept it digestible, and — unless the celebrity in question kept her foot on the pedal — quickly diverted the conversationg back to the normal round of questioning.

In lieu of “Who are you wearing?” E! News opted to instead ask celebrities, “Why are you wearing black?” But after a while, all the answers sounded the same. I wish they’d asked more focused, thoughtful questions, ones that would require the celebrities who opted to send a message through clothes to really say something with words, questions like: “Why did you choose this designer and what is his/her commitment to making change? What is your commitment?” Or to the men, “Men wear black tuxedos all the time. Are you wearing black tonight in solidarity? If so, how are you personally going to help change the rules of behavior in Hollywood?”

The award show followed mostly-traditional suit: There were few people of color who won awards. There were no women nominated in the director category. There was a white male host. There was a standing ovation for an alleged rapist. There were glam-shots, there was a glambot. It all still felt very lighthearted and Hollywood, with a willingness to touch on only that which was convenient, and not that which would have put the status quo on serious guard.

I wanted there to be more awkwardness. I wanted a Sacheen Littlefeather accepts the Oscar for Marlon Brando moment. I wanted the men to feel more uncomfortable. I wanted everyone to dress with the intent to make change, not to mourn. I wanted to be confident there was going to be, as Denzel Washington said, follow-through. I’m glad Time’s Up, an organization that promises such follow through, was put front and center. However, I’m still not sure what to believe about a Hollywood wherein celebrities still willingly take roles in Woody Allen films. I wanted to believe that every single person wearing black wasn’t complicit in Hollywood’s toxic behavior (looking at you, James Franco), but I’m not there yet.

At first, I wondered if the most impactful statement would have been to boycott the awards altogether; imagine a red carpet without the A-list stars. But to that, Kerry Washington made a valid point: “We shouldn’t have to sit out the night. We shouldn’t have to give up our seat at the table because of bad behavior that wasn’t ours.”

I wasn’t a fan of the “blackout” when I read about it, and I still wasn’t convinced when I saw it on the red carpet, but I was moved by celebrities who used their voices and platforms to create awareness for those who don’t have the same platform to speak their truth, especially those at the forefront of Time’s Up. But I want more. And assuming all will show up over the course of the forthcoming awards season, I beg of celebrities, red carpet journalists and everyone watching: make a little more noise, ask the hard questions, wear only women designers or brands that align with your initiative, use fashion to speak louder.

And then, follow through. Because, as Oprah said, the time is up.

Click here to donate to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense fund. Click here to get involved with anti-sexual violence organization RAINN 

Feature collage by Emily Zirimis, photos via Getty Images. 

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  • Hilary

    This!!!!!! Thank you for your eloquence.

  • Laura Guarraci

    Natalie Portman presenting for best director had me screaming with glee, though

  • Jenelle

    I am not a huge fan of activism like this. In some ways, I can appreciate, and even support, that celebrities and Hollywood wanted to make a statement and movements like these need statements to be made in order to continue to gain traction and have impact. On the other hand, I always fear that it allows those that participate in this very easy expression to excuse themselves from possibly doing the continued harder work later on. Furthermore, it’s great that they all chose to wore black but everyone was still in designer and couture gowns and outfits. I don’t see how wearing black drastically changes how the red carpet operates; it’s not as if celebrities weren’t still focused on looking as beautiful/handsome as possible (which is fine, I just think it makes the intended point moot). Plus are they going to dress in black for the rest of the awards shows this season or for the next red carpet will they be back to regularly scheduled programming with no mention of this? Overall, great if this is the first step but by no means is it enough.

    • Kattigans

      Really agree with your points. The concept felt stale and not very imaginative as a mode of expression with the absolutely disgusting and downright vile behavior that’s gone on.

    • Maren Douglas

      Great points. Interested to see if they completely drop this for the academy awards.

    • Olivia AP

      I agree, but what else can they do. If they wear black for the entire awards season will it make a difference? The same if they stop wearing expensive clothes borrowed by designers. I think we have to stop watching movies made by or starring creeps until nobody works with them, at the end of the day what we decide to consume and what we do with people around us is way more powerful than having endless debates of what celebrities should do.

      • Jenelle

        I guess that’s my point. I don’t think wearing black the entire awards season will make a difference just like I don’t think wearing black instead of red or yellow at the Golden Globes made a difference. I don’t think the red carpet is the source of these issues and therefore doing something like this really does not make any material change nor did it require much or any effort. However, I appreciate any time anyone speaks up about injustices so I’m hesitant to disregard it totally. My hope is that maybe they inspired others and that Hollywood and that our society as a whole (since this is hardly just an issue that affects Hollywood) will continue to put in the hard work needed to bring about real and sustainable change.

  • And the next day, a red-haired German actress is getting slowly killed on IG for not having worn black …

    • garnishmywages

      She looked Amazing! So did the red dress gal. I’m all for freedom of speech -what those two did was very impactful. And revealed the Hypocrisy of this whole movement.

      • One of the reasons I dislike the backlash she’s getting is that it most probably wasn’t a calculated move to become famous (the dress was ordered months in advance and made just for her) and that she, for all we know, thought about her stance on the topic and decided against black, probably assuming others might do so, too. Barbara Meier is working together with a German ministry to promote organic materials and living wages in this important industry, btw.
        Only to have a real mob descend upon her to tell her she should have (absolutely!!!) copied the others/adhered to the one of the possible dress codes.
        As much as I love this good fight, this is an episode I dislike.

        • Elly

          Right, it’s the thing about this, ever since it started, I’ve seen men getting cookies for not being rapists or not liking rape or not getting caught raping anyone, which, frankly, should be the absolute minimum for good behaviour. And then women largely bearing the brunt of it: these actresses getting hauled over the coals for not wearing black, all of the actresses being treated like the embodiment of good morality, whatever they wear. I thought inviting activists along instead of significant others was also bit patronising and humiliating to them. I’m not sure Rose McGowan isn’t going to get fucked over by this – I think even the famous women who came out about it, a lot of them have faced the age-old choice between getting fucked over by their rapist or getting fucked over by the subsequent anti-rape movement. I’m not even convinced there will be that much change: Mel Gibson is fine, and Johnny Depp was all over bus shelters advertising perfume not long ago.

          It’s one reason I hate celebrity worship. A reaction I had to this was to downplay any experiences of assault I might have, like I was lucky and got away without getting truly assaulted. I’ve seen loads of women do this. But we feel the consequences of the assaults we undergo, and we project this onto famous women to empathise with them instead. We also emphasize the importance of believing women / victims of assault to an almost religious degree, but if it doesn’t go any further, that’s just a confession booth, or an exchange of experiences. There has to be some kind of principle that rape shouldn’t be done to people. And that women are people. Those are two basic things that I’m not seeing here, or maybe in words but certainly not in practice.

          • That’s a huge load of wisdom you’ve put into this answer – thank you very much, I sincerely appreciate your opinion!
            We do wish we could use our analysis and synthesis genes on other topics, don’t we 🙁

            To add a less important aspect: I tend to get sceptical when we women decide dressing for the occasion is the right way to react to real-life issues. It is a bit like saying to herself: “Oh, I would love to do something creative today, maybe pottery. So what should I wear?” (it is a silly example, but it pops up in my head whenever I think about this topic). Now, this whole black dress idea was supposed to transcend the clothes, I get it, it’s just that it will fizz out if things don’t change for real, in lives of non-famous women, as you said. I also agree that celebrity events may not change my life as a woman (who grew up in what turned out to be a very modern society if compared to today’s Germany (I cringe and suffer every time I think of this, but the fact is my education as a girl in rural Yugoslavia must have been more modern than in parts of Germany I have lived in so far – many people notice this difference in behaviour, for real). And many other things. The other story I cannot forget is from a friend telling me how emotionally disturbing it was for him when a candidate for a job he was offering turned up for her job interview in a rather sheer blouse. He was insulted by her assumption about him and totally unhappy because he had wanted to employ a competent woman…

          • Kattigans

            I’m interested to know why you thought inviting activists was patronizing and humiliating? I don’t think I disagree with you just want to hear an elaboration on your thoughts.

          • Elly

            Activism is years and years of lots of work. Some of it is effective, a lot of it is busywork that gets done out of tradition. There’s loads and loads of networking, also. It’s a bit like Church or charity work, basically lots of women doing lots of unpaid work, some of which is absolutely essential and some of which is kind of symbolic. It’s also, in its way, a pretty hierarchical, cut-throat world, because groups are experimenting with different ways of doing things and it bites them on the ass a lot of the time. In any case, it’s an investment of time, and it’s an emotional investment. There have been women working against rape and sexual assault for decades and decades, even setting up networks of DV shelters and rape crisis centres themselves with whatever means they had.

            To try and make out the culmination of that work to be an invitation to an awards ceremony of an industry that exploits women at all levels, even before you get to assault, and for that invitation to be as the “significant other” of a millionnaire actress whose movement was created only recently, who everyone is suddenly listening to, who invited you instead of a spouse or partner to make a point, is pretty insulting.

            And that’s also the thing with celebs, on some level, they’re used to being the most important person in the room, or one of them. Generally a little too much credit is being given to the actresses for who they’re including in the conversation. You don’t include people who are already there, who’ve been there for far longer than you have. That’s the same as usurping their place.

          • Kattigans

            Wow! Bravo, you make some great points that didn’t fully occur to me but I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kelsey Moody

    Im always amazed year after year how terrible red carpet interviewer are, even to the point of simply having a normal conversation. It’s like they didnt know they were going to be there or that the interviewee would respond to their question, its so weird. What do they think is going to happen?! Its like theyve wandered off the street and found themselves with a microphone. Especially this year, have a point of view! You know what the #timesup campaign is about, you had time to prep, you hardly even have to think on your toes, its embarrassing and bizarre.

    • Bee

      Totally agree! They’re always so cringe-y and tone deaf. However, Laura Marano was an interviewer this year and I thought she was refreshing and engaging.

  • Kattigans

    I can understand Kerry Washington’s point but also how impactful would it have been if every (or almost every) A list female star sat out the red carpet and awards show? That would have said something. That would have sent the message “We’re done with this shit. I’m not on display anymore”. That really would have sent ripples through both the entertainment & fashion industries.

    I’m glad there’s talk and acknowlegement, but women and men alike have known about this behavior and have been complicit in letting it go on. Feels like wearing black was the safe route, just like it was safe to hear of rumors of Weinstein’s behavior and behavior of others and never really call these predotors out. In Hollywood, its easy to talk a lot but I don’t see a lot changing. Its the same one note award show time and time again.

    • belle

      Totally. That would have been a good response to all the fuss about women “striking” on International Womens Day. So many women, including myself, are not in a position of power where we can just take any day off of work without consequences. While I agree with Washington that she doesn’t need to stay home, that situation could be reframed in the sense that she is one of the lucky few who DO have the power to stay home – not only can she continue her career, but it will also have an impact and she could still make a public statement. Of course I think it would be amazing if all the underpaid workers of the world could stay home (like the bodega strikes) but we just don’t live in a world where that is possible across the board.

      While I appreciate their sentiment, it’s hard to see a beautiful movie star in a formfitting black dress and stilettos as anything but deeply traditional and squarely within the bounds of the female ideal in a patriarchal society. I don’t think that we need to wash off our makeup or burn our bras to be feminist, but I would love to see women show up in jeans, boots, dresses, pants, whatever the fuck they want. Remember when multiple people got barred from Cannes for not wearing heels? I don’t think that everyone creepily dressing the same will ever mean that much to me, personally. I do appreciate that activists were invited and given a platform – more of that please!

    • 100% agree! I would love to see men try and to go through the event without any females present. Like, you think you can do this without us?

    • Victoria Webb

      would have been very cool to see them try and run a show without most presenters/acceptors and no “miss golden globes” (excuse me, golden globes ambassador) and instead have all the women host their own viewing party. would have definitely gotten a ton of attention!

    • Olivia AP

      I sometimes feel confuse about this issue. I think what Oprah said is very true. Maybe we have known it for quite some time but people (especially actresses starting their career) decide to deal with this shit in order to fulfill their dreams and can we really judge them? I don’t know, I remember that in my first job I was working at a really cool place and it had been a dream of mine to work there. And a man was always harassing me, touching my legs and stuff and when I was aggressive he would retaliate and made my working life miserable, like staying at the office until 1am doing the stupidest things he asked me to do. I remember crying on my way home because I was so angry and I have worked really hard to be there and I wouldn’t get him get in my way so I really got to a point in which I let him get away with it. We all have looked the other way to propel our careers. The issue is way too complex. Probably if a woman wasn’t complicit she will never work again and the status quo will remain. For way too long there were only consequences for those who speak out, and I’m hopeful that finally that is starting to change.

      • Kattigans

        I’m so sorry you went through a situation like that. I can completely understand and trust me, starting Sept 2016 thru to Aug 2017, I worked in one of the worst working environments. It was completely hostile to women and anyone who didn’t fit in with the “in” crowd of this small tech company. My boss emotionally tortured me and my good work performance was constantly overlooked and labeled as me “getting lucky”. My boss would consistently pressure me into quitting but at the same time would ask me multiple times to go to dinner with him or walk home with him. For that entire year, I was in the lowest of my lows. I felt so terrible about myself. I worked w/ people (including my boss) who spread lies about me around the office. Stirred up rumors meant to damage my character and ultimately wanted to see me out the door. I was sexually harassed by clients of mine and other male colleagues. In all situations, the harassment and mental abuse from my boss, HR never ever took me seriously and instead would use what I told them against me and feed it back to my boss. It took a lot of guts for me to stand up for myself and ultimately file a formal complaint against my boss and the company at large. Standing up for myself with the formal complaint and then working with a lawyer who cared about me and my situation, helped me regain myself. I was so reluctant to go through with the complaint because I really feared the backlash. But once I did it, I felt free. I felt so free and like “look you assholes, you may want to ruin me but I’m not scared of you anymore”.

        I think, and agree, that its incredibly hard for women in situations like this to know what to do. On tope of that everyone’s situation is different. What I also found, and I’ve read about this in the stories shared by actresses who’ve come forward, is that there is so much gas lighting that goes on too. People who know what I went through always ask me, “why did you stay for a year if it was like that?”. And the truth is, I almost didn’t realize what was happening. It took a while for the pieces to come together for me because during the experience I was also trying so hard to appease the people who didn’t treat me well. I couldn’t see that they were always going to move the goal posts for me because they didn’t want to see me succeed.

        I’m not blaming Kerry Washington for feeling the way she does, but I also don’t think that showing up in black really helps seal the deal and send the message that this shit has to end. None of the men involved in this ceremony suffer consequences when women decide to show up and just wear a black gown. Yes, I get the idea of being there to accept and award that you deserve. But in all due respect to Kerry, there are women in Hollywood who were blackballed and tortured by these predators and their entire careers were burned to the ground by people like Weinstein. I think to sit the GG’s out is a way to show greater solidarity to those women who have lost out on the chance to be there at all because of the vicious acts of their predators.

  • aronnoco

    Agree with all of this. Why weren’t there questions about the designers’ commitment to these issues? But I felt a frisson of joy seeing activists like Tarana Burke and Mónica Ramírez taking up a space that isn’t typically theirs and infusing a little sense and depth to the standard red carpet parade. It sold me a little more on the verbalized commitment of Time’s Up to include and support women of all industries and backgrounds, particularly those that aren’t often made visible.

    • Elly

      At the same time, there are things about this that are specific to the movie and fashion industries, to Entertainment and celebrity culture. The actresses who first came out about Weinstein mentioned this, in particular Léa Seydoux mentioned how the movie industry basically runs on desirable women. Desirability often connotes sexiness, but not necessarily. There’s just as much rapeyness and abuse around the idea of female role-models, or women as embodiments of morality. And this is what happened here: women showed up wearing clothes that symbolise a moral stance. The few women who didn’t are getting mobbed on social media. And some rich movie guys are lining up for a cookie distribution for not raping any women (or not yet getting caught doing so).

      As for the shift in focus to women in all industries, it’s true that sexual assault is something massive that affects women regardless of industry or lack thereof. But it’s certainly not up to some movie stars playing activist on the red carpet to usurp the lead in that struggle, especially as the movie and fashion industries make bank on the large scale exploitation of women. In many ways, this whole thing just shifts the scrutiny away from the movie industry, even positions it as a kind of saviour of women from sexual assault.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing them instead showcasing some designers who refuse across the board anything that exploits women (they must exist surely?), or just showing up in their day clothes because, to be honest, the endless parade of red carpet gowns is boring and that’s not style, it’s just one dress that’s worth three months’ rent. You might as well be wearing a load of bank notes.

      But even better – because that would still be an industry mutual congratulation fest – would be to see all women stay away. Just, no women at all present at industry awards shows, until the movie industry either dies or sorts itself out. That would make a statement. And no press coverage.

    • Basil

      GoFugYourself commented on how some of the designers went unnamed (as an attempt to steer the red carper conversation away from what people are wearing), which is insulting to the designers and people who worked hard to create these dresses (some specifically for this event). Shouldn’t they be given credit for what they do?

  • Maren Douglas

    Had the same thought about the color choice, why pick the color that the majority of men would wear for the award shows regardless of this cause?

  • Alexia

    To be honest, I’m glad celebrities are using their voice and platform to speak out. But, at the same time, many of them are bedazzled with blood jewels, obtained through a slavery that effects women and children in particular. Actions speak louder than words (loved the bit in this article about them willing to work with Woody Allen).

    That said, I’m not perfect either. Not all my clothes are ethically produced, nor do I abstain from eating meat. Does this make me a hypocrite? At the end of the day, we probably all need to do a little bit more.

  • Tanishka Gupta

    Hundy percent agree! The all-black outfits are a similar to the safety-pin activism that is just so privileged and I’m still not sure about what it accomplishes. I don’t agree that the “blackout” sent any message, really. If it did, it was entirely futile compared to all the incredible, empowering speeches by so many women. I feel like this was such a missed opportunity to showcase how activism and art (in this case fashion) so go well together. There really should have been an explosion of expression but the “blackout” made everything seem so… meh.

    • belle

      Potential counterpoint – although I haven’t worn one, I see the safety pin as a symbol of solidarity in daily life. I live in Portland, where there have been multiple racially motivated murders on public transit in recent months. And in a city with such poor diversity, I’d imagine that as a non white person it’s hard not to be on edge and wonder which direction hate is going to come from next. And the safety pin itself is a household item available to all, regardless of socioeconomic status. That said, I don’t think wearing a pin, posting on Instagram, etc counts as action or activism of any kind. Gotta put your money where your mouth is.

      • Elly

        Yeah but is wearing a safety pin any guarantee? I’ve been in a number of feminist groups over the years, and have learned to be wary of guys who go out of their way to say they’re good non-sexist men and think rape is bad, precisely because they see this as exceptional. And a number of them turn out to be creeps, or to have some unhealthy obsessions with violence against women and just find socially acceptable ways to talk about it all the time.

        So, someone wearing a sign that says “hey! I’m one of the few good people who’s safe for people like you, so you’re safe with me!” – I’d steer clear of that. And similarly with this kind of red carpet activism – someone in another comment said it’s all about re-entrenching certain standards of masculinity, and I agree. But to be honest, anything more than that isn’t going to be happening on any red carpet.

        • belle

          I don’t think anyone should consider someone else’s clothing or accessories a guarantee of their own personal safety. But in a city where people are wearing both safety pins and swastikas, I know which I’d want to sit next to. Keep in mind that I am coming at this from the perspective of people being murdered on their commute, in addition to shitty men trying to con their way into faux-feminism because they think it might get them laid. Both are bad, but one feels more urgent in the wake of events that enable bigots to have an increasingly public voice and feel more secure in their awful beliefs.

          The red carpet does seem useless and although celebrities have an amazing platform, it feels increasingly absurd to expect them to do anything remarkable. The red carpet itself exists solely for objectification (primarily of women) so it would be cool to see that disrupted in a visible way, but I’m not holding my breath.

      • Tanishka Gupta

        Yeah, the safety pin was meant to be a show of solidarity and allyship but it honestly just devolved into insta-activism of “See? I’m wearing a pin so I’m one of the good white guys!” but the people wearing them don’t actually *do* anything. The safety pin became just a feel-good thing for people to don but didn’t really require any responsibility or accountability. However, if seeing a safety pin on a white person has made a marginalized person feel even a little more safe, then who am I to judge.

        In my personal opinion, solidarity and allyship aren’t shown through objects but through actions. And I feel like the all-black outfits and the safety pins make “allies” just feel good about themselves because they’ve “participated” in showing solidarity but haven’t DONE anything meaningful as allies. I do think the choice of black is what the issue is. It’s such an easy color for anyone to wear, it’s meaningless. Celebrities – men especially – wear black all the time. You want to show allyship through the color of your clothes? Make yourself feel uncomfortable. Show that you’re willing to put yourself out there and wear hot pink or whatever. Just do something more than what’s easy.

        • belle

          I agree. I wear exclusively black nine days out of ten for no reason other than that I can get dressed without worrying if my outfit will match. Very common in my profession as well, so it’s hardly a unique strategy.

          You’re definitely right about objects speaking louder than words. I want people to incorporate things like this into their daily lives, but at the same time you don’t want to get complacent because you did one pretty easy and relatively meaningless thing. Hopefully it is a stepping stone to broader activism.

        • Elly

          I don’t know what motivates people to wear a safety pin exactly, but in terms of allydom, feminist allies don’t have a good track record. I’ve actually been creeped on by them at feminist meetings (at Osez le Féminisme), in front of everyone, and because they’re guys but they showed up they get a cookie and a pat on the head. Or else they know better than you about whatever the topic at hand is because they just read about it on Facebook whereas you’ve only been worrying your pretty little head about it in depth for the last decade or so. Or I’ve seen them do the humble thing “I don’t know if I’m allowed to call myself a feminist”, someone says “do you believe in equality? then you’re a feminist” (which is the party line), then five minutes later they’re all gung ho about what the priority of the feminist movement should absolutely be (usually violence, because then they get to talk about hitting women or how they found out yesterday that actually rape is bad, or else how women are stronger than men, phwoarrr). The other problem being that some of them are turned on by being yelled at, so it might have the opposite effect of the one you intended. That’s half the story of course: women on the other hand are, by default, under suspicion of not understanding or having internalised misogyny or being only timidly feminist. If a woman disagrees with something, it’s because she’s somehow brainwashed or influenced or an anti-feminist or else you just need to explain it again slowly.

          It’s amazing when you look at group photos of feminist groups and it’s like, 35 women aged 17-30 with a couple of older ones, and then two 50-year-old bald guys in superhero shirts. In theory, no problem with men being feminists. In practice… hey guys, what exactly are you doing here?

  • AL

    THANK YOU! Not only has the focus been completely on powerful men throughout this “reckoning” but the “stances” these wealthy women think they’re taking seem to be furthering dated ideas of masculinity rather than acting as some sort of feminist protest. These black, drab, tuxedoed, unembellished, and uncreative outfits are a perfect example.

    I also feel like all of this head shaving and pixie cutting is the most boring thing to ever happen. No one cares about the length of your hair, politically speaking. It reminds me of an NPR interview I heard recently in which a couple resolved to raise their daughter in a “gender-neutral way,” forbidding her from touching anything pink or traditionally feminine. Yet she was allowed everything else, which seems unintentionally anti-feminine to me. Denouncing sexism will never be this plain nor superficial. Would’ve actually loved to see some color and hear about the designers.

  • Dress Happy with Jocy

    Great and refreshing article. I usually don’t follow the red carpet events exactly for this reason, they never ask the hard questions. I’m glad this article did. I also love the contrast you offered by referring to Amber Rose’s bodysuit. If the other celebs could dress to express the way they feel, what would their clothes say? What words? Why? And would they have the courage to truly express what they think? Black is safe and it’s about mourning, but just like Oprah said in her beautiful speech there is a new dawn at the horizon. When it comes to fashion I hope to see more colors and meaning behind their choices. Because fashion is a universal language and if you’re going to take a stand, your outfit should back that up.

  • Analía Zanelli

    I agree with everything you wrote. However, how is Kerry Washington’s point valid? First of, she belittled the systematic ongoing abuse by calling it only “someone else’s bad behavior”. Moreover, yes, Kerry, you should be able to sit out ONE of the most privileged events in the world but not for someone else’s bad behavior, but in solidarity with the people who have had it worse than you and still do.

    • Kattigans

      I totally agree. What about the actresses and actors who’ve had their careers ruined by these predators who were (and some still are) celebrated? I think sitting it out and boycotting shows more solidarity to the consequences those victims have endured than wearing black. Wearing black is easy and doesn’t really do anything to change the systems of power that all these actresses and actors are subservient to.

  • Autumn

    Debra Messing calling E! out for pay equality on E!’s red carpet was uncomfortably excellent

  • Jane

    An ideal Golden Globes would have been led by a woman to a room full of women and exactly zero men. Kerry is right that she and every other woman shouldn’t have to sit out a ceremony highlighting their careers because of male behavior. That’s one more way to quiet women. But! Men could sit it out for male behavior! I’m tired of hearing the ways women could have taken a better stance after ALREADY COMING FORWARD while men put on a pin and call it enough. But that’s just me *kanye shrug*

  • Annie Behrens

    This piece made me feel so much less alone on taking this side. I wrote a similar piece and WOW, I didn’t get a warm response. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

    • Kattigans

      I read your post and you perfectly encapsulate how i feel about this whole thing. Don’t go would be the way to really shake things up.

      • Elly

        Yeah, just boycott that stuff, even boycott Hollywood (I mean the movies are mostly a bit shit in any case, especially chin-strokey middlebrow award bait), plus a media black-out. Take it as an opportunity to discover different movies. Stop discussing it, and stop treating these celebs like they’re somehow important besides the money and marketing behind them. I mean, Meryl Streep was great in movies like the Deer Hunter, or Manhattan for that matter, but I’m getting pretty sick of seeing her act like she’s Emmeline Pankhurst or something , and the media going along with it.

        Plus, it’s not widely remembered that a number of media outlets covering this now silenced or mocked actresses who tried to come out about Weinstein before. Among others, the Guardian celebrity columnist Marina Hyde mocked Myleene Klass for being a fantasist a few years ago.

        • Kattigans

          I know! That’s whats so frustrating. I felt the same way about Time’s cover. Like oh now its convenient when only a year ago DT was on the cover? The very man who made such vulgar statements about actually sexually assaulting women and encouraged another man to do it. Its so rich. The media frenzy has gotten way out of control in this country. Its seems like now its a en vogue thing to come be supportive of the women who came forward but what about 10 years ago when women were talking about this and news outlets didn’t want to hear it? Its such a sham.

          I feel like Meryl is on such a pedestal in the media’s eyes that she really can do no wrong and attacking her like Rose McGowan did is seen as the ultimate diss and sin. Its sad because I like her but idk if she’s as genuine as she makes herself seem when it comes to this topic.

          • Elly

            I like a lot of these actresses fine, in movies, but I find the place Meryl Streep has as an “activist leader” pretty obnoxious. Some celebrities manage to do activism and keep it low key, and just put their privileged position in the service of something good. But in general, I like watching them in movies, they’re actresses, it’s what they’re good at. I don’t really give a shit what they think about politics, for two reasons, one being that they largely have staff to interact with the world in their place, and the other that they get bollocked if they put a toe out of line anyway.

            And honestly, regarding your point on the Time magazine cover and Trump, I don’t think the media promoting this movement really give a shit about stopping women from getting raped. It’s more that not raping or raping less becomes a currency that men can exchange to pat each other on the back and prove that they’re good. And that’s not progress. That’s more like the subject matter for a bad episode of Louis C.K.’s sitcom, like the ones where he’s listening to a woman’s Lived Experiences while stroking his chin and putting on his “learning face” and totally not thinking about whipping out his dick in her dressing room later on.

          • Kattigans

            Spot on! I’ve been saying the same thing about the “currency” for a while just not in those same words.

  • Ma

    Whilst I can see the point the author is making (and can’t question its eloquence), I think is idealistic to think that so much more could aand should have been done at this point. Unfortunately the reality of the world is that most women are discriminated against in our work places – be it by being over qualified and underpaid, be it by being deeply scrutinised in trivial matters such as the clothes we wear and the manner in which we present ourselves, be it by being excluded from projects simply for being mothers, be it by being subject to sexual advances – and these issues are just not discussed (at all) outside of highly intellectualised environments, with no action or policy actually being brought to force. Most average men simply will not be exposed to the discussion to even have to think about it. By wearing all black and carrying an oversimplified version of a much deeper message, these women successfully got through to the general media, the one which is read during lunch breaks in offices across the world, and actually reach the patriarchy. They have used the scrutiny they are put under, and that many – most – women are put under, to successfully bring to attention a very important discussion. On a separate note, I find a bit exhausting – and somewhat naive – that we keep insisting the women should do more every time a stance such as this is made: the co-ordination it takes to do *something* is, in itself, worthy of praise. And finally, bringing activists as their dates was a subtle and really nice touch – shame it will go unnoticed by most media vehicles

    • Amber

      “the co-ordination it takes to do *something* is, in itself, worthy of praise” yesssss

    • Kattigans

      I think to question the action of the activism isn’t unfair game. Sure coordination to do something takes effort but if the effort has no real affect on the system one is looking to take down then really how effective is it?

      A for effort cannot be all that it is. And many of the women who participated, like Meryl Streep, have worked with Harvey Weinstein numerous times and even canoodled with him. I find it hard to believe that Meryl (yes I love her) didn’t hear about the rumors swirling around Hollywood about him. I get it that maybe she or others knew but were afraid to do anything but they haven’t suffered real consequences like their other colleagues have who may have been abused, blacklisted and fearful of their lives because of the actions of these men. So when wearing black, sure it shows solidarity, but it really doesn’t do much to dismantle the power structures in place that have kept these men in prosperous positions able to get away with the disgusting behavior. And also I’m not blaming women or asking that they be the only ones to do something to take a stand, but women and men have a hand in allowing corrupt behavior to flourish whether its in the form of dismissing it, turning a blind eye to it, or just playing down the overall severity of it.

  • jdhammer

    I respectfully disagree. Firstly, they are actors first, not activists. We shouldn’t hold them to a standard wherein they risk elements of their careers no matter how much we loathe the issues.
    Second, a single person wearing black might be frivolous but when done en masse, it’s somber. Look at photos of Thailand after the King died. An entire country in one color. I don’t have personal feelings about the man but I wore black or neutral every day for a year and believe I reflected Daily on the reason. And that’s the only point. Reflection and Awareness.

    • belle

      Well, that’s the thing – they didn’t risk anything by wearing a black dress on the red carpet, but openly (and voluntarily) marketed it as a political statement in the weeks leading up to the show. Why not instead show up in dresses made by up and coming female designers who haven’t gotten their due? I think the speeches and interviews are much more compelling, and they squandered a chance to make fashion relevant to a political agenda (which has been done in the past) and instead dressed uniformly and well within the bounds of traditional female attire.

  • Ana Elisa

    Thank you for this! Perfect!

  • Ximena

    Let me make this clear, I support diversity and inclusion. However, why do you have to point out that the host was a white guy? Why does that matter? He’s a host. How do you know he did not audition with a black transgendered man and an Asian female for the job and he got it. Not because he’s a white male but because he’s simply better at the craft. It sounds silly to say but are now white males going to be discriminated for being white males. I think we can support a diverse media without shunning non minorites. This is coming from a minority. I am aware of the advantages white males have had in history but I don’t think we should punish people or get angry when we see them too succeed

    • maj

      reading this gave me an aneurism

  • Anna

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter. I was and still am very skeptical too. The cut had a great article on this too (, mentioning similar thoughts as well as if women continue to be dressed by designer, instead of buying their dresses, they will forever be a product of someone. And as long as you are the product, you limit your rights and liberty to speak openly. At least that is my interpreation however I do not work in fashion and might misjudge.

    And on another note, the woman who fought for their stories to be published had nothing more to lose. They had already lost everything and only then were they able or perhaps committed to speak out. All the other famous people now joining in must have been aware, but they either had too much to lose or were too powerful that it no longer affected them. This is truly the saddest part. Only when you have nothing left to lose will you speak up and fight. Perhaps a greater refelction of society too.

  • Basil

    I agree that more can be done, but this was an amazing first step. For a start, I think Time’s Up reflects some of my own experience of working with women – that together we rise each other. They could have just kept it as a Hollywood issue, made things better for themselves, but through the legal fund and explicitly reaching out to less resourced victims, they’ve put a line in the sand and tried to make a cultural change and from the videos I’ve seen, Reece Witherspoon and the other founders (like Tracee Ellis Ross, Rashida Jones) seem genuinely excited about this movement.
    As to the red carpet – I can only comment on the photos (live in Europe and not really going to stay up all hours to watch awards ceremonies), it was impactful. Less so for the men because unless they were wearing a black shirt you really couldn’t tell what they were up to. I was actually inspired and felt more empowered the next morning to be less tolerant of a creepy old man who HAD to sit next to me in an empty carriage on the tube. It’s small but something
    I also noted the absence of Casey Affleck …

  • Ciccollina

    Totally agree. Having said that, I think this all-black dress code was chic as fuck and saved a lot of celebrities from making their usual sartorial mistakes!

  • I totally agree with you! I liked to see all together (even though it was through fashion…) and the women that talked about this situation without any fear, but just like you… I want more! Wearing black dresses is a statement of unity in Hollywood, but I want more action. It was a first step into that direction (I think) and I’m curious to see what’s next!

  • Alicia Abbaspour

    Really insightful article that took angle I hadn’t considered…I wonder, how did you all feel about Connie Britton’s outfit? I thought she was someone who used fashion as a statement, dressing in black but also sending the message of “poverty is sexist” stitched on her dress. The sweater she wore was made by lingua franca, which I’m not too familiar with but it may be a way to hold designers/fashion accountable within the movement.

  • Amber

    SUCH good points Tahirah! Especially that the dumbing-down of fashion by everyone wearing such a mundane colour as black was utterly besides the point. I’ve never seen a more boring red carpet line-up…

    I would have loved to see all those amazing women, actresses and otherwise, turn up wearing a) clothes designed by women, styled by women, in jewellery made by women with their hair and make-up having been done by women, and/or b) wearing outfits that they LOVED, that made them feel excited about being women and made us excited about it too! I wear black all the time but I rarely get excited or uplifted by it.

    BUT the thing about all the black: we can’t say it didn’t make an impact, or that we won’t remember it in twenty years’ time, which I guess more OTT dresses wouldn’t have achieved.

    • Amber

      Also, I saw somewhere that someone had the original gold dress they were going to wear made in black. That got to me – the waste!!!

      • Amber

        Also Claire Foy in that suit was glorious

  • kelsey

    Wow. Watch sexism work! “Was wearing black enough?” Of course not! And these actresses know that! They raised millions of dollars in a span of days, created a message so cohesive that nearly every women who spoke at the awards referenced not only the need for an end to abuse but also the #TimesUp initiative itself as a concrete way forward, had everyone wearing a pin, and used the all black wardrobe as a visual of community. And not only did they call for an end to abuse, but only discrimination. These actresses effectively organized better than anything we’ve seen in years in any arena and did so within 2 months and with an intersectional message and community at the forefront.

    It’s an insult to the organizing efforts of these women to make the conversation about the all black uniform, and shows a sexism that we all need to work hard to confront within ourselves.