The Golden Globes: Don’t Stand out, Stand Up

Raeesa Ashique - 3B Electrical
Posted on: January 21, 2018

Black gowns dominated the red carpet at the 75th Golden Globes as a sign of solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment.

The Golden Globe Awards honour film and television. The ceremony was held on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.

Awards shows have been a platform for political statements in the past. For example, black gowns also made an appearance in 2003 when the Oscars were held just days after the start of the Iraq War. At the 2010 Golden Globes, attendees wore red ribbons as a symbol of support for the Haiti earthquake five days earlier. At last year’s Oscars, attendees wore blue ACLU—American Civil Liberties Union—ribbons to support the organization as it fought Trump’s recently enacted travel ban.

Time’s Up, an organization which recently launched, encouraged this year’s statement: actresses wore black gowns, and actors wore black shirts with their suits. Pins also made an appearance. Co-founder Reese Witherspoon commissioned Arianne Phillips, costume designer and stylist, to design the Time’s Up pin.

“Reese asked me to come to the actors’ group, and told me they were going to be wearing black and would I consider creating a pin for the nominees and male presenters,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “We were up against the holidays, but I said I could do it, and the first person I called was my partner-in-crime, Michael Schmidt.”

The two of them designed and produced 500 copies of the pin within two weeks.

Time’s Up is a new initiative with the message: “The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.” It launched on January 1 by an open letter signed by 300 actresses, and female Hollywood agents, writers, directors and executives. This letter ran as full-page ads in The New York Times and La Opinion, which is a Spanish newspaper.

“This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” Eva Longoria told The New York Times. “For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour. This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”

Time’s Up is steering the conversation towards their agenda with the colour black: don’t stand out, stand up.

What is Time’s Up?

Time’s Up has no leadership, and is run by volunteers. Its members include Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Shonda Rhimes, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Rashida Jones, Emma Stone, and Kerry Washington.

It is comprised by various working groups with different initiatives. A legal defense fund has raised over $13 million to help less-privileged women seek retribution against harassers. They are developing ideas for legislation, such as penalizing companies that tolerate persistent harassment and discouraging non-disclosure agreements which often prevent women from coming forward. They are also pushing studios and talent agencies for gender equality in employment.

This came in response to recent sexual harassment allegations against powerful men in the entertainment industry, such as Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Tambor.

As Shonda Rhimes, executive producer of television series “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” notes: “It’s very hard for us to speak righteously about the rest of anything if we haven’t cleaned our own house. If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?”

By starting with Hollywood, they are setting a new standard to better help working class women. Women in blue-collar workplaces, such as janitors, nurses, and workers in factories, restaurants and hotels, are often overlooked.

Connie Britton made a similar comment: “What we really need to do now is get to the grassroots and get to every day women who have been dealing with these issues and have to sit alone with it and don’t have the resources to empower themselves,” she told CNN. “For me, my hope is that we really get to a place with this movement where it’s not just about Hollywood.”

Who are the Activists?

Several founding members took an extra step, and invited prominent female activists as their guests.

Emma Stone brought Billie Jean King, one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She won thirty-nine Grand Slam titles and a record twenty career victories at Wimbledon, all the while advocating for female athletes. She fought for equal pay, and founded the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s Sports Foundation. Stone played her in Battle of the Sexes, for which she received a Golden Globes nomination.

Michelle Williams brought Tarana Burke, who founded the Me Too movement to “help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of colour from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing”, ten years before the hashtag took off on Twitter. She is also a senior director for Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn, and organizes workshops to help victims of sexual violence.

Laura Dern brought Monica Ramirez, an activist, author, and civil rights attorney who is dedicated to ending violence against women—especially farmworkers. She is the co-founder and president of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, which is working to end the exploitation of female farmworkers.

Shailene Woodley brought activist and artist Calina Lawrence, member of the Suquamish tribe. She uses her work to address a wide rage of causes, including racial injustice, police brutality, violence against women and children, and the misrepresentation of Native Americans in mainstream media. She is currently touring the US to advocate Native Treaty Rights, and the “Mni Wiconi” (Water is Life) movement led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Amy Poehler brought activist and attorney Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and director of Restaurants Opportunities Centers United, which “improve[s] wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce”. It was established to protect those displaced after 9/11, but evolved to represent all immigrant restaurant workers. She is also the director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Meryl Streep brought Ai-jen Poo, co-founder and executive director of National Domestic Workers Alliance, which protects the rights of domestic workers such as nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers. She is also the co-director of Caring Across Generations, an organization working towards transforming long term care by attending to the needs of the elderly, people with disabilities, and caregivers.

Susan Sarandon brought Rosa Clemente, who is a journalist and hip-hop activist, and founder of Know Thy Self Productions, which consults on issues including hip-hop activism, voter engagement, immigrants’ rights, and healthcare. She ran in 2008 as a Green Party vice-presidential candidate.

Emma Watson brought Marai Larasi, with whom she has been collaborating over the past year. Larasi is dedicated to ending violence against women. She is the executive director of Imkaan, a UK-based black feminist organization that works to prevent violence against marginalized women, and is the co-chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition.

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