The Black Dress Protest May Define Awards Season. But It Shouldn't End There

From TIME - January 12, 2018

On Sunday night, the Golden Globes red carpet was a sea of dark attire as actors wore all-black outfits to show solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and abuse. The demonstration was organized by Times Up, an initiative recently launched by prominent women in Hollywood to protest sexual misconduct and gender inequity in the workplace.

The vast majority of attendees followed the nights suggested dress code, with many also sporting small pins emblazoned with the Times Up logo. Several women made an effort to further the conversation beyond their garments: Debra Messing used her red carpet interview with E! News to question the networks gender pay disparity while presenter Natalie Portman called out the lack of recognition for women directors. Oprah, the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award, delivered a rousing acceptance speech about stopping the culture of abuse and supporting womens narratives.

While the demonstration appeared to be a successat least numericallyit left some people wondering: What does the protest look like once the black gowns and tuxedos have been stowed away? The activists who accompanied A-listers on the red carpet, including Tarana Burke and Monica Ramirez, have dedicated their lives to the advancement of women. But how can the men and women of Hollywood make their protest meaningful in the long run? Here are some ways to keep the momentum going after the red carpets have been rolled up.

Continue speaking outor, for many men, start now

At the Golden Globes, women used their time in the spotlight, both on the red carpet and as presenters, to call out issues like the wage gap and the lack of recognition for female directors. Their male peers would do well to follow their lead. While some actors, like Chris Hemsworth, spoke about their reasons for sporting a Times Up pin and wearing black, none of the male award winners deviated from the usual thank yous to bring up topical issues, even when accepting awards for shows or films that dealt with issues directly affecting women.

What would it look like if men used this type of stage to acknowledge how they benefit from a system that has historically enabled abuse? Or better yet, if they were to initiate those conversations with their actions, risking their own work prospects to demonstrate solidarity with the women in their workspaces? Its up to Hollywood, and not just its women, to keep the dialogue going.


Many women, like Michelle Williams and Emma Watson, made a conscious effort to bring up topics like harassment and the wage gap on the red carpet. Most men, on the other hand, didnt readily offer up their thoughts on these issuesbut interviewers didnt exactly press them, either. Reporters should be just as vigilant in asking men the same questions they ask women. Women already carry the burden of experiencing sexism and sexual misconduct; they shouldnt alone carry the burden of calling it out.

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