TIME'S UP at the Golden Globes
It's been five days since I first saw Oprah’s acceptance speech of the Cecil B. de Mille award at the Golden Globes, and I have watched it in a euphoric daze at least six times. It really is fist-pump worthy, prompting righteous anger, searing pride and indomitable hope (and I admit, even a squeak of 'You Go Girl!') But, there is also cynicism – that nagging residue of the too often disappointed, the part of me that hunkers down, hackles raised, and prepares for the worst; the fizzling out, the abrupt stop, and the return to business as usual. However, it is difficult even for my eagle-eyed skepticism to find purchase when faced with Oprah's glorious promise to every girl listening, 'that a new day is on the horizon!'. Her exclamation is even more stirring, for me, because it signals a change in Hollywood; the industry of young, white, plastic faces and old, perverted men. A powerful industry where women are often portrayed as sex objects; skin and bone encased in designer clothes. An industry with the phenomenal ability to dictate cultural norms, mould people's attitudes and behaviours, and ensure the endless pursuit of the unattainable; absolute physical perfection.
The dresses this year were, with a few exceptions, black, bringing to mind a funeral procession, characterised not by mourning, but by triumphant celebration. Maybe, at long last, outdated gender constructs and institutionalised sexism will die (a, lets hope, painful) death. But black dresses alone will not change the world, no matter who is wearing them. Many have complained that this symbolic protest was an ultimately ineffective publicity stunt, a chance for the starlets of our screens to win our hearts and minds with prattle about peace and love. However, the backing of the TIME'S UP movement undeniably confers legitimacy, and garners these powerful women's voices, lending them to those who are silenced. Aiming to address the systemic inequality in all workplaces across the world, they partner with advocates to improve laws, develop effective corporate policies and allow more women and men to access a legal system that can support them. So, the Golden Globes is hopefully just the beginning, and not the last time TIMES' UP will rear its beautiful head.
Inevitably an event like this will be brutally derided and demonised by those who choose to see it as an attempt to belittle the white men-folk, that most persecuted of groups who already live such difficult lives (can you detect the bristling sarcasm?) I made the mistake after watching Oprah's speech of entering the gloomy world of the YouTube comments section, a space populated by the thinkers of our generation, including Mr. Kitty and the eloquent Ballbags. It was sad, and frustrating, to see so many people angered that a woman was speaking; so committed to their blind sexism that they envisaged the future as a burning apocalypse rife with knife-wielding women mutilating men's genitalia, instead of the utopic world of gender equality Oprah envisioned. This was not an attack against all men, but a warning to all those that are complicit in abuse. BUT ANYWAY, this article is not a plea to blokes lurking in darkened rooms with hate in their hearts. This is a tentative attempt to banish my cynicism as I dare to believe that patriarchal oppression can be dismantled one tiny pussy grabbing hand at a time, in Hollywood and everywhere else. I really hope that our happily ever after is in sight, and will continue to inspire all of us long after the black dresses have been discarded and the red carpet rolled up. Let's do this.
For more information on TIME’S UP:
To donate to TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund
To see Oprah's speech at The Golden Globes:
Title image sourced via Instyle