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2018 golden globes black clothes

WEARING BLACK AT THE GOLDEN GLOBES: IS THIS THE ANSWER TO ENDING SEXISM IN FILM?

Following the series of seismic allegations against some of Hollywood’s biggest names, the 75th Annual Golden Globes was the first time that the film industry publicly stood in solidarity with its many victims of sexual abuse.

To honour victims of sexual abuse across the world, many attendees opted to wear black.  In an age of “Who wore it best?” style media coverage, the decision to wear black can be seen as a form of protest fashion, a refusal to succumb to archaic Hollywood standards where women are judged on their looks rather than on their achievements. Breaking away from societal pressures to wear the most outlandish and memorable dress signifies a decision to reject Hollywoods’ supposed power over the female body.

Furthermore, the evening was littered with cutting references to the allegations and to the gender inequality that still prevails within film. Oprah Winfrey, who won the Cecil B DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award (and made history as the first black woman to win this accolade) received a standing ovation for a moving speech which cried for “a time when nobody has to say #MeToo”. Oprah boldly stated that a “new day is on the horizon”, echoing the general consensus that the tide is turning and that women’s voices are no longer being ignored. Natalie Portma,n who made a snide remark about the lack of female nominees, and Reese Witherspoon were among others who also addressed the scandals and the injustices women face today.

Many guests chose to bring activists to the event, instead of bringing their significant other. Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, and Aijen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, were all present, adding depth to some of the interviews and using the evening as a platform for their causes.

Though the ceremony was a clear decry of sexual misconduct, questions surrounding the effectiveness of simply wearing black or donning a “Time’s Up” pin are beginning to surface. Barbara Streisand took to Twitter to highlight the fact that she is the only woman to win Best Director in the Golden Globes history.

Considering the complex ties awards ceremonies have with many of the accused – Harvey Weinstein himself was a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – there is some doubtfulness over the sincerity and honesty behind some people’s support. As Rose McGowan, one of the women to speak out against Weinstein explained in a now-deleted tweet “YOUR SILENCE is THE problem… I despise your hypocrisy”.

To what extent can protest within the tight paradigms of something as institutionalised and commodified as the Golden Globes awards actually work? And can it possibly have any effect in the wider world?  Ultimately, though the messages behind this year’s Golden Globes are sincere and meant for the best, we have to ask ourselves is this really enough?

Header photo by: Art Streiber