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Golden Globes amplify voices of survivors

Celebrities and activists take a stand against sexual assault violence

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Art by Kayla Johnson

Art by Kayla Johnson

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Art by Kayla Johnson

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While award shows recognize the achievements of actors and actresses in Hollywood, for years red carpets have focused on designer dresses and million-dollar jewels. Events like the Golden Globes red carpet should use their high viewership to draw attention to social issues that affect the lives of people everywhere. Some celebrities worry that speaking out on controversial issues might ruin their careers, yet this year’s Golden Globes proves that speaking out can not only inspire fans but set a celebrity apart from others in Hollywood.

The 2018 Golden Globes carpet took the focus off of fashion, instead put it on empowerment in the form of the Time’s Up Movement. Established January 1 2018 the Time’s Up movement was created by some of Hollywood’s leading women including Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes and Jennifer Aniston. The organization’s purpose is to provide legal support for those who have faced sexual assault, harassment and abuse in the workplace. In addition, the group has placed an emphasis on creating legislation to punish companies that tolerate harassment, and they provide resources on their website to help those facing abuse.

The women behind Time’s Up decided to make a statement at the Golden Globes in the form of an all-black dress code as a sign of solidarity with the women who had spoken out following Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations. While some women favored a boycott of the event altogether, the stars donned black attire as a sign of support for the courageous women.

“We shouldn’t have to sit out the night. We shouldn’t have to give up our seat at the table because of bad behavior that wasn’t ours,” said actress Kerry Washington in an interview with NBC on the carpet.

This decision encouraged interviewers to ask questions pertaining to the Time’s Up Movement and the night’s nominations, instead of fashion-related questions.

This shift in red carpet interviews was introduced in 2015 when actress Reese Witherspoon, one of the founders of Time’s Up, shared an Instagram post with the hashtag #AskHerMore. The photo urged journalists to ask more creative questions than: “Who are you wearing?”

On the carpet, attendees expressed the importance of making a statement through their clothing in order to promote much needed change.

“People might think black is a somber color, but the atmosphere here is so celebratory, so empowering,” said actress Alison Brie.

“We chose black because it felt like a democratized color. And we wanted to try to say…we’re not alone, and you’re not alone,” said Time’s Up member Laura Dern.

39 of the gowns and tuxedos worn on the red carpet were auctioned off on eBay to raise money for the Time’s Up legal defense fund. The fund has already raised over 19 million dollars.

Inside the show, Oprah Winfrey became the first African American woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement that night. Her moving speech, which expressed the widespread nature of sexual abuse, brought the audience to their feet

“I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue,” Winfrey said. “I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.”

This year’s Golden Globes marks a change in red carpets interviews, which will recognize nominees’ achievements rather than their fashion choices. Through the simple action of wearing a black gown, actors and actresses were able to create a conversation that rarely ever happens in our society. The shift away from materialism and towards empowerment applies to women across the globe. Sexual assault is pervasive across all industries, but especially in low-wage jobs. The work of the Time’s Up movement will provide voiceless people everywhere, including those in low-wage jobs, with the opportunity to heal.

While one in three women have been sexually harassed at work, 71% of them did not report it. Often times in our society, women who speak out against powerful men are silenced by those who are meant to protect them. With the legal aid of the Time’s Up Organization, they will be given a chance to gain legal justice and be recognized as legitimate survivors. Highly viewed events like the Golden Globes offer a platform for entertainers to make real change regarding issues like sexual abuse, harassment and assault. This year’s Oscars and other future awards shows should expand upon the activism shown at the Golden Globes.

 

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Golden Globes amplify voices of survivors