The Golden Globes: Drenched in Black
by Sophie Lee
Many have heard of the recent controversies surrounding the sexual assault and harassment of women in the entertainment industry. Following the exposure of Harvey Weinstein as a serial abuser, an onslaught of stories came forward, exposing many men in Hollywood for their similar misdeeds. This backlash has led to widespread scrutiny of the movie industry, and the way they handle such sensitive situations. Every award show is being watched closely to measure how well they address the controversy.
No award show was more centered in the spotlight than the recent Golden Globes. Prior to the award show, many female actresses came together to organize a silent protest. They nearly unanimously agreed to wear black and stand in solidarity with the women coming forward to tell their stories. The organization Time’s Up was also heavily involved, and many celebrities, including a number of men, wore Time’s Up pins on the red carpet. The protest garnered praise, but there were also some critics. The women who came forward to accuse their abusers were celebrated for being “silence breakers.” The idea of the movement being to finally end the secrecy surrounding and speak up against the actions of these men, some questioned whether it was the time for a “silent protest.” Additionally, it seemed to many like an opportunity for celebrities to appear politically active, when they hadn’t previously been. Wearing black is not necessarily a proactive way to help victims, or make change in an industry trying desperately to avoid it.
Despite these criticisms, the night of the Golden Globes was entirely drenched in black fabric. Every actress, outside of three women, elected to wear black to the show. It was a powerful moment and seeing women from across a troubled industry stand together asking for change was undoubtedly an attention-grabbing act. Furthermore, every woman who graced the stage made a point to address the issue at hand in their speeches. The message was clear, the women in Hollywood are no longer standing for less than equality. The same could not necessarily be said for the men who attended the Globes. Although they all opted for black, few decided to mention it. The number of men who mentioned Time’s Up, or any of the inequalities coming to light, could be counted on one hand. It’s unclear whether this was due to a fear of saying the wrong thing, or a desire to let women finally speak for themselves. Either way, their silence was noticed by everyone watching.
Furthermore, after winning their awards that night, both James Franco and Aziz Ansari were quickly accused of sexual misconduct by women who said they could not stand to watch these men pretend to stand in solidarity with a movement they didn’t align their actions with. This only added to the sense that few men are being left unscathed, and many of whom are still being celebrated regardless of their actions. It is interesting to note that Franco is not personally nominated for any Oscars, although his movie “The Disaster Artist” is still in the running.
The moment that gained the most attention was a speech by Oprah Winfrey, winner of the Cecil B. DeMille award. She gave an empowering speech about chasing equality in an industry reluctant to give it. It earned her a standing ovation, and later, a push to run for president in 2020. It’s an interesting choice given that the main problem with American politics at this moment is having a commander-in-chief with no experience in politics. Regardless, the people want Oprah.
In the end, the Golden Globes did not create change or incite any revolution. What it did accomplish is call necessary attention to the state of our entertainment industry. What viewers saw when they tuned into the Golden Globes was women demanding a shift in culture and better representation on screen. They saw men who, while quietly willing to stand with their female counterparts, are not yet the allies that are needed. They also saw a rare moment in time where people were willing to change, or at least prompt a discussion on what needs to be changed.