Wednesday 17 July 2019

Caitlin McBride: Why wearing black to the Golden Globes doesn't mean a damn thing

"Actions speak louder than words and they sure as hell speak louder than a dress"

Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria
Actress Eva Longoria arrives on the red carpet for the 68th annual Golden Globe awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California January 16, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Actor Armie Hammer (L) and Elizabeth Chambers arrive at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton hotel on January 16, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
She knocked it out of the park at the 2014 Golden Globes.
Actor Armie Hammer attends the Sony Pictures Classic 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards Party held at The Beverly Hilton hotel on January 16, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Actor Tom Hiddleston, winner of Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for 'The Night Manager,' poses in the press room during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

I find myself rolling my eyes more often than not these days.

I've always been partial to passing judgement on the facetiousness of Hollywood and all of its trappings, but these last 12 months have been rather dark: managing to outrage and inspire in equal measures.

On a weekly basis, there have been gasps, outrage and the occasional tears learning about a woman's recently unearthed horror story with sexual harassment or assault.

For many, a Hollywood without Weinstein was only a pipe dream. But the mighty truly have fallen and as such, his downfall, and of those like him, deserves to celebrated.

There should be parades, balloons, fireworks, hell, even some gluten free cupcakes - however you choose to rejoice, enjoy this moment. The demise of your Weinstein, regardless of your industry, should be celebrated. The world is changing and I've said it before, it really is an exciting time to be a woman.

So, how does wearing a black dress to an awards ceremony fit into this? In what universe does wearing the same colour dress admonish the sins of the past, acknowledge the hope for the future and show support for those who suffered at the hands of their own Weinstein-like cretin?

It doesn't.

It's been hard to escape the pre-coverage of tonight's Golden Globes, which has focused equal parts on its worthy nominees and the fact that a number of actresses have chosen to wear black to show their "solidarity" with the hundreds of women who have come forward in the last 12 months to detail their experiences of harassment, assault and rape.

We live in a time where everyone wants credit for doing the right thing, but this represents collective virtue signalling at its finest. What does this display of unity-by-couture do to show victims, who might be physically or emotionally still suffering, about their experiences? Or a woman who was fired for reporting her boss for sexual harassment, how does a celebrity wearing a colour at the Golden Globes help?

It doesn't mean a damn thing.

And it doesn’t end there!

"Men will also be wearing black," one excitable news source tweeted during the week, alongside a picture of three men at the last year’s Golden Globes. The poster seemed blissfully unaware that the attached photo showed men already wearing black tuxedos, the official uniform for men at every red carpet event for the last 90 years.

A man wearing a black tuxedo at the Golden Globes is not a fashion statement, it’s a staple – it’s like wearing a swimsuit at the beach.

Tom Hiddleston and Armie Hammer will be among those "standing in solidarity with women", according to their stylist Ilaria Urbinati. Here are pictures of both actors at the Golden Globes from last year– were they supporting female equality then or just wearing the same thing they always wear on the red carpet?

tom GG.jpg

And what does it mean for an actress who chooses not to wear black? Maybe one who is new to the game and can’t afford to buy another dress or borrow something from a couture house – does this mean that by wearing a yellow number she chose in September, that she in fact stands against the brave steps taken by so many?

It’s not the first time Hollywood has bandwagon-hopped in order to make their social awareness more on-trend: the elite want the rest of the world to know, from the safety of the Hollywood Hills, that they see what the masses endure. In 2015, it was placards with Je Suis Charlie written on them.

The Time's Up initiative, on the other hand, is gaining impressive momentum. An organisation set up by a group of powerful women in Hollywood, it's not only raising money for a legal defense fund to support victims of sexual harassment, but in two short weeks it's a phrase summing up our feelings of dissent - simply that enough is enough.

Eva Longoria and Mary J. Blige are among those taking part, both heralding the impact of standing in formation as one, in order to send a message of support. I appreciate the symbolism of solidarity is important, but we need more real world action and less talk.

After months of the #MeToo, where women shared their stories and others offered a listening ear, I can’t help but feel the side has been let down that wearing the same colour dress to an event is the best that 2018 could come up with.

Actions speak louder than words and they sure as hell speak louder than a dress.

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