The last few months have been seen to be somewhat revolutionary with hundreds of women working in the film and television industry coming forward about sexual assault and inequality.
Yesterday was no different. At the 75th Golden Globes, hundreds of stars donned black outfits to support the Times Up movement. The initiative was in support of working class women, with many women wearing all black dresses and men wearing Time’s Up pins.
Celebrities wore black to highlight the harrassment and give platform to the issues faced by women in the industry. Celebs who wore the black outfits include: Milly May Brown, Oprah, Angelina Jolie, Justine Timberlake and Reese Witherspoon.
The issue isn’t that women have been wearing black to support a movement, but that women who weren’t wearing black at the awards ceremony are now being dragged online for ‘not supporting the movement’.
People took to Twitter to voice their disappointment. Blanca Blanco, who wore a bright red slashed dress is one of the celebs being dragged online.
“Blanca Blanco doesn’t necessarily have to conform to the #WhyWeWearBlack dress code, yet to show up in a gown that’s not only bright red but extremely skimpy seems like a crass f*** you to the whole movement,” wrote one social media user.
This isn’t the first ‘campaign’ of this type we’ve seen. Activism has been reduced to small pins and badges for some time now. In 2016, many people started wearing safety pins to show solidarity with minorities, members of the LGBT community and immigrants after visibly Muslim women were being targeted by racists. The idea was that a safety pin would show that the wearer supports and will stand by any assault or abuse faced by those women. Of course the reality is that it made the wearer feel like they were doing something. Back in 2016 people took to twitter to talk about how ridiculous it was that activism was now being reduced to a safety pin. Slacktivism was a new coined term. Now, in 2018, we are seeing the same. It isn’t enough. while on the one hand the ‘black dress activism’ was about supporting women, on the other it was berating those who didn’t get the memo. Again, women are the ones being targeted. It is also interesting to note that the colour black was chosen, a colour that most men going to an awards ceremony would be wearing anyway, making it remarkably onerous for the women.
Not everyone wanted to call out those women, some defended the actions of many to not wear black to the celebrated awards ceremony,
"It's not a strip club"
"Aren't we tired of this brand of sexy?"
"to show up in a gown that's not only bright red but extremely skimpy seems like a crass f*ck-you to the whole movement."
— Ellen Shockey (@EllenDShock) January 8, 2018
Words like “skimpy”, “slutty”, “nasty” and implying someone is a “stripper” due to how much skin they’re showing stem from the exact attitude towards women that caused the #TIMESUP movement. This kind of attack on her body and how she’s chosen to present it is NOT ALRIGHT.
— Ellen Shockey (@EllenDShock) January 8, 2018
Blanco even responded to the reactions on social media to her ‘bright red dress’ in an interview with Fox News
“I love red, wearing red does not mean I am against the movement. I applaud and stand by the courageous actresses that continue to break the cycle of abuse through their actions and fashion style choices. It is one of many factors leading women to a safer place because of their status. I am excited about the #TimesUp movement; true change is long overdue.”
The issue is bigger than my dress color #TIMESUP
— Blanca Blanco (@blancablanco) January 8, 2018
While initiatives like this are started with good intentions the meaning can get lost in all the glamour. Safety pins and badges remain just that, as wrist bands in the early 00’s remained just that, a fashion accessory. Activism is not an accessory, it is not fashion and it is not about who’s wearing what. The real message has been lost. Instead of supporting women the Time’s Up campaign has become a statement. People who have acted questionably in the industry took part.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) January 7, 2018
Justin Timberlake, wore the pin, even tweeted about Time’s Up but is still taking part in Woody Allen’s new film Wonder Wheel. The pin, the hashtag, the black clothes, they all mean nothing. It’s not what you say, but how you act. If 14 year-old Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike Wheeler in Netflix’s hit Stranger Things, can fire his agent because of sexual abuse allegations, grown men can do better than jump on the bandwagon and doing the bare minimum.
This woman, is not impressed.