Time’s Up

The Hollywood award show season began with actresses and actors wearing black in solidarity for victims of sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace. The Time’s Up movement was prompted by the #MeToo movement which took place earlier this year in which many women came forward and exposed sexual assailants and harassers in Hollywood. Many women on Twitter, famous or not, used the hashtag to bring light to the sexual harassment women face in the workplace and in their social life. The Time’s Up movement piggybacked off this hashtag and is now working with the women who exposed the ongoing sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. The Time’s Up movement is partnering with women in the entertainment industry as it is a major contributor to inequality in the workplace and sexual harassment, but also because celebrities have a major platform and influence to spread awareness. The goal of this movement is to lift up the voices, power, and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the risk of gender-based violence and exploitation is even higher. In addition to focusing on sexual assault and harassment, the Time’s Up movement is pushing for more women leadership and power in all industries along with equal payment, representation, opportunities, and benefits for all female workers. The Time’s Up movement is also pushing for greater representation of women of color, immigrant women, disabled women, and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women. While the Time’s Up movement is using the entertainment industry to spread awareness they are urging media outlets to focus on the experiences of women working in different, less glamorized industries.

Eight actresses decided to bring the Time’s Up movement to the red carpet for the Golden Globes by bringing activists in a range of fields to be their plus ones. Laura Dern, Amy Poehler, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Michelle Williams and Shailene Woodley are the eight actresses spreading awareness of the women who are being mistreated in the workplace because of class, ethnicity or race, and sexuality. Another reason this movement was brought to the Golden Globes was to redirect the attention from the abusers to the brave survivors who have come forward. Along with bringing activists as their guests, the women, and men, of Hollywood decided to wear all black on the red carpet because it is a color of solidarity that is not flashy and supports their mantra of “don’t stand out, stand up”. Since the red carpet talk is usually about the outfits and accessories the hope was to steer conversations towards something more meaningful which is why the shade of black and lack of glitz was important. Furthermore, women decided to wear black attire to show that there is no and should be no competition among women because we are all a part of a sisterhood and wearing black shows the support of solidarity in standing with the sisterhood.

Critics of the Time’s Up movement encouraging the wearing of black have said that more needs to be done than just wearing black. There were a few celebrities who ignored the dress code and have defended their actions by claiming that the issue is bigger than the color of their dress. While this is of course true, fashion has been used in protests for years beginning with the suffragette movement and has proven to be an essential part of many protests. Protesters in the suffragette movement were asked to wear white, purple, or green to represent purity, dignity, and hope. White has been worn by many female politicians namely Hillary Clinton in the 2017 election and Shirley Chisholm when she became the first African American woman elected to Congress. More recently, pink pussycat hats were worn by protesters for the annual Women’s March after Donald Trump took office. Fashion is an important part of any protest or movement because it shows visual unity. Seeing a crowd of pink shows that everyone is walking as one united front, which is why it was important to celebrities to wear black to the Golden Globes. Not only does it show on the red carpet, but when cameras pan over the crowd and see a sea of black, viewers will be able to see women and men standing against sexual assault and misconduct in the workplace together. Fashion has proven to be a powerful political tool that creates visual solidarity so while some may say that wearing black to an award show does nothing for the cause, it does in fact show the world that you stand and fight with the cause as well as spreading awareness of what the cause is.

The Miami Country Day chapter of Girl Up decided to participate in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement by wearing black to stand in solidarity of women who have experienced abuse and inequality in the workplace on January 19th. The goal is to spread awareness of the ongoing problem of sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace and to show support for women who have experienced inequality in their industries. All the money that is raised by Girl Up will go to Legal Defense Fund which provides financial support for all people mistreated and sexually harassed at work. The Legal Defense Fund is working with the Time’s Up movement to provide legal support for women who have experience sexual harassment in the workplace. This network connects women who have experienced sexual misconduct with lawyers who can provide legal assistance.

Wearing black in solidarity at award shows is a good way to start the conversation about developing solutions for sexual assault and mistreatment of women in the workplace. Time’s Up had a good start to their movement but their success will be determined by how they carry this forward and where they take it.