Celebrities wore all black to The Golden Globes last night to protest sexual assault and sexual harassment happening in the film/tv industry (and to a small extent, elsewhere). I was one of the few people unimpressed. It's great that celebrities donated money to Time's Up, a legal defense fund combating sexual harassment in the workplace, but the wearing of black $150,000 dresses is creating a visibility that is unrelatable, passive, and potentially more harmful than helpful.
Celebrities did the very least they should do. Instead of wearing black, how about not showing up? How about boycotting? How about wearing dresses with the word "RAPE" all of over them? I understand that it might seem unfair that the women should be the ones to boycott--but often our voices are loudest and most powerful when our physical bodies are absent. Actors and actresses should be recognized for their work, but why must it come in the package of competition and capitalism? They're all dripping in diamonds--wearing their wealth, hoping to beat out a colleague for a little gold statute. Excuse me if I'm not fangirling.
Sexual assault isn't pretty. Rape isn't pretty. This shit is ugly and you can't dress it up in a Little Black Dress to sell it back to survivors. Mostly skinny, mostly white, mostly cis, mostly abled rich women wearing a black dress is an attempt at making rape palatable to a society that doesn't want to hear about it. It has seemingly always been more important to make rape digestible to society than to actually hear/read about survivor's stories. Wearing an expensive dress does nothing to address the ugliness of rape. I personally do not want to pretty-ify my trauma. My trauma looks good on no one. My trauma is not a fashion statement. My trauma is grimey and bloody and monstrous. And sure, perhaps some of the women wearing black last night are survivors. I would never tell a survivor what to do with their trauma just as I'd hope another survivor would not tell me what to do with mine. I am not telling them what to do here; I am wanting them to think more broadly.
Also, what about the men? (no, not #whataboutthemen).
Men at award shows most always wear black, and they all wore black again this time. Their support is passive and automatic of a cause that they don't necessarily care about or understand. Also, can we talk about Justin Timberlake wearing a "Time's Up" pin when he just recently (in 2017) worked in a Woody Allen film (and also the whole Janet Jackson thing)? I am tired of fake support. I am tired of celebrities taking up causes that they don't genuinely care about. None of the men even mentioned #MeToo last night. Sexual assault isn't a "woman's problem;" it's a man's problem; it's a problem of the kyriarchy. Men need to use the privileged spaces they already have to bring attention and awareness to sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Speaking of men, Kirk Douglas was honored last night. Douglas raped Natalie Wood when she was 16-years-old. He was given a standing ovation--including all the many women in their black dresses. Ironic, huh? Giving a standing ovation to a rapist whilst simultaneously standing up against sexual assault and sexual harassment. Hollywood, you're fake AF.
Hollywood cannot possibly change until it deconstructs (and destructs) its current self.