The Bull's Eye

CON: A feeble attempt

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The 75th Golden Globes Awards was a sea of black. Almost every woman wore black in support of the movement “Time’s Up” and the fight against sexual harassment in Hollywood. In the spirit of gender equality, quite a few men joined in as well.

It seemed appropriate, given that sexual harassment allegations against a large group of men, from Harvey Weinstein to Mario Batali, dominated headlines the past year. However, the unified show of black, despite efforts, didn’t make the lasting change to the viewer’s experience or mindset that participants hoped it would.

Given that black is already a common color seen on the red carpet, more impact would have been made if the attendees really went out of their comfort zone to attract more attention. Far more people would have taken notice if the protestors did something more drastic and unconventional.

What if every woman refused to wear fancy, expensive dresses? Hollywood would have been greatly disturbed if attendees wore T-shirts bearing the faces of people who spoke out against harassment, or simply the words “Time’s Up.” What if every woman refused to speak at all, and instead let assault survivors make their speeches for them? What if every woman just boycotted the event? Wearing black was too basic and modest.

Moreover, the majority of the population pays more attention to a person’s words and actions, rather than their clothing. The red carpet mainly benefits and funds the fashion industry and its stylists. It was never a starting ground for political movements to begin with.

Oprah Winfrey and her rousing call to arms against assault and harassment easily stole the show. Her speech was widely reported on news channels and social media and was speculated to foreshadow a Winfrey presidency in 2020. In the aftermath of the awards, no one cares that almost everybody was wearing black. One woman did more for the Time’s Up cause than the combined effect of thousands of black outfits.

Basing a social movement on wardrobe coordination risks easily fading away. Any lasting impact to Hollywood requires the combined efforts of both genders, as well as the ability to keep up their momentum after the black dresses go back in the closet. Entertainment industry leaders and politicians would be forced to take notice if hundreds of influential women pushed the bounds of social conventions and demanded change. Instead, we saw these women start a fashion trend.

Taking a unified stance against sexual harassment is definitely something that needs to happen. Influential people working in tandem can be powerful. Unfortunately, clothing color is not the best place to start when trying to revolutionize our society’s views on gender equality and sexual misconduct.

 

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