As the 75th Golden Globe Awards are going on in the United States as we speak, it is clear that the women of Hollywood, are taking a strong stand against sexual harassment and gender discrimination. With the hashtag #WhyWeWearBlack trending before the awards ceremony, we got curious as to what this meant, and why most of the women attending the event were dressed in black. On further research, we found that a group of more than 300 women associated with Hollywood, have gotten together, calling themselves “Time’s Up”, and published an open letter in the New York Times on 1st January 2018, declared that they would work together to fight sexual harassment in the industry, and even outside of it. One of their first campaigns, was to wear black at the Golden Globes, to raise their voices against sexual harassment. It was interesting that while most of the women wore black, many of the men also adhered to this dress code, to pledge their support.
— Variety (@Variety) January 7, 2018
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) January 8, 2018
The Time’s Up signers group includes Shonda Rhimes, Jill Soloway, Ashley Judd and Reese Witherspoon, among many others. These women are responding to the countless public reports of harassment and assault over the past few months by working to fix the entertainment industry’s persistent gender gap while also supporting low-income women who fight back against harassment. While they are not the first to tackle these issues, due to the global attention given to the #MeToo campaign, this group has been granted a large platform to voice their concerns, and they say they’re committed to using it not just for themselves, but on behalf of women who have gotten less attention.
What makes this year’s Golden Globes extremely relevant in the larger context of feminism and standing up for women’s rights, is that women used the platform to speak up on these issues. Oprah Winfrey, who won the Cecil B. de Mille award this year (the first Black woman to have won this), gave an inspiring speech.
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) January 8, 2018
In the same vein, Nicole Kidman, used the Golden Globes Stage to talk about feminism and women’s rights.
— Nicole Kidman (@NicoleKidman) January 8, 2018
Natalie Portman, on the other hand, made the misogyny clear, by a simple statement, during presentation of awards.
Last year’s #MeToo campaign, was one of the most viral, and globally relevant campaigns in recent times. As 2018 begins, it is clear that the campaign was not a mere social media trope, at least for Hollywood. While many from India used the hashtag and shared their stories, no one from popular culture, particularly Bollywood, shared any experiences of sexual harassment within the film industry. What made this ironic, was that the #MeToo campaign, began and gained momentum due to the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which shook Hollywood, and led to a multitude of revelations from those who have abused, as well as those who engaged in it.
India as a country doesn’t have a culture of speaking up about sexual harassment. This ideology clearly has percolated into Bollywood, because we never see our artists, female or male, using platforms such as award ceremonies, to take a stand on sexual harassment, or any kind of gender discrimination. In this light, Golden Globes Award, is particularly inspiring, because we see so many women, unified towards a common cause, and speaking up on a global stage. We hope that Bollywood, and celebrities from across India, take note, and start using their celebrity status for the benefit of society. It is not just women belonging to the industry who need to voice their opinions and raise their voices, it is also the men in prominence who need to do the same. Gender Discrimination is not a ‘women’s issue’, and it is high time our celebrities realize this.