There Are Better Ways to Support “Time’s Up” Than a Dress Color
Time’s Up is a gender equality campaign that was brought to public attention this New Year’s Day. It is a unified call for change that addresses the inequality and injustice in the workplace that women have faced. Since its public debut, the Time’s Up legal defense fund has raised a total of $16.6 million dollars from 17,461 people and counting in less than a month. Despite the money raised, the campaign’s public debut at the Golden Globes could have done more to raise long-lasting awareness; the fashion statement needed to be accompanied by strong verbal opinions from both men and women on the red carpet.
To spread greater awareness about the sexual assault and harassment that women often face, over 300 actresses, all Time’s Up members, all wore black to the Golden Globes Awards in an effort to create a sense of visual unity in support of those who have been victims of sexual harassment and assault. The goal was for red carpet reporters to ask questions, especially to the women, that were more meaningful than “Who are you wearing?” Although most of the celebrities seemed to support the campaign, many reporters on the red carpet were unaware of what questions were appropriate to ask.
Hosts from E! Entertainment were especially successful in asking vapid and unrelated questions. Additionally, very few men were even asked about their support for the Time’s Up campaign and the women were placed with the greater responsibility of speaking out. Time’s Up does not address a female issue, but rather a power issue that requires the active support of both men and women in all industries. Sexual harassment and assault is an awkward conversation to talk about in front of a camera. However, talking about it and being forced to address it is the only way that a meaningful change and justice for women can occur.
In addition, the color black was also a lackluster choice because black clothing is readily accessible, especially when men’s formalwear is typically black to begin with. Without having to give up any significant fashion choices, the Hollywood men at the Golden Globes could easily veil themselves as supporters of the Time’s Up campaign with their black suits and small Time’s Up pins. This unequal sacrifice of fashion parallels what female sexual assault victims must sacrifice when speaking up compared to their male abusers.
For the women at the awards show, those wearing non-black dresses were visibly tone deaf to the purpose of the campaign. Of course women should be able to choose the clothes they wear and the way they want to represent themselves; however, the intent of wearing black at the Golden Globes was a moment to show a necessary sense of solidarity during a time when justice and change for women is finally imminent.
Overall, the effect of the all-black dress code was underwhelming to the campaign’s focus. Had the color been more vibrant or powerful such as pink from last year’s Women’s March, the celebrities, especially the men, would have been forced into a more uncomfortable position and it would have been easier to detect who plays more active roles in supporting Time’s Up. It is easy to feign support by wearing black rather than a color that stands out more. Black was a much too comfortable color for these celebrities to support such an important issue.
Wearing black clothes and pins as political accessories was a flawed method of showing support and solidarity for the worthy Time’s Up campaign. Considering the amount of support and criticism that has resulted from the Golden Globes, the Time’s Up campaign deserved a much more powerful and distinct color. However, considering the amount of support and criticism that has resulted from the Golden Globes, the goal of bringing attention to Time’s Up was very much a success.
Amy Huynh is a first-year aerospace engineering major. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.