Wearing black to the Golden Globes will change nothing
Riding on the coat-tails of those whose courage and grit finally allowed the #MeToo campaign to become what it has, the glamorous set is now indulging in tokenism that has not yet created the systemic changes that workplaces across industries and cultures need.editorials Updated: Jan 08, 2018 15:45 IST
Even as Hollywood engages in singing self-congratulatory odes to each other for wearing black at the 2018 Golden Globes, one of the world’s most glamorous award functions, the gesture feels empty. The women dressed in black at the event are some of the richest and most powerful women in the world but it has taken a long and painful campaign by many women with comparatively little power to shake them out of their silence.
The #MeToo campaign that became a cascade in 2017 after film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault and harassment was initiated in 2006 by Tarana Burke as a grassroots campaign of empowerment for women of colour who had been sexually assaulted. The campaign gained speed in October 2017 when actor Alyssa Milano encouraged women to tweet their experiences with the tag #MeToo after a New York Times investigation revealed multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein. The campaign quickly spread across countries, languages, and industries. Academia, music, politics, science – women were speaking out everywhere, across social media, accusing assaulters and naming names.
The courage of the whistleblowers is as commendable as the silence of the powerful is shameful. It has taken the pain and courage of many women who have sacrificed much in their personal lives and professional careers for the “scandal” to finally “break”. For the glamorous set to now jump on board the #MeToo bandwagon without ever having used their power and authority to call out the assaulters and harassers while they could have is, to put it mildly, hypocritical. Wearing black to award functions is one thing. Making systemic change happen in workplace attitudes, eliminating gender pay gaps, and creating an environment in which the shame of sexual abuse and assault no longer falls on the victim, they might find, is quite another.