Awards season is here. There is the usual buzz about who will win what, but this year’s ceremonies will have to deal with more serious issues as well. The last couple of months have been rough, starting with the Weinstein case and followed by sexual assault allegations in the film industry and beyond.
The SAG Awards, set for January 24th, will only feature female presenters. Traditionally, a man and a woman are paired up to present each category’s winner. This change is meant to prioritize female visibility as a response to sexual harassment scandals.
However, the first major awards ceremony to be hosted in a post-Weinstein, post-#MeToo context will be the Golden Globes. How does Hollywood handle the glamour and joy of awards while addressing the unveiling of decades of harassment?
The event’s organizers haven’t made any special announcements so far, unlike the SAG Awards. However, it was reported that actresses would make a move to wear black in solidarity with victims, as well as some of the actors. Reese Witherspoon even had “Time’s Up” pins designed for nominees and male presenters.
This is not the first time celebrities have worn black to reflect solemnity. The Emmys after the 9/11 attacks featured plenty of black dresses and pantsuits. But the #MeToo movement also requires action, and it leads us to ask: how does this make a difference? will anything be done besides this symbolic gesture?
The plan has already drawn its share of criticism for not being big enough. Maybe it would make a bigger statement if they did not attend, as #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign suggested. Especially when it comes to men, wearing black to this kind of event is hardly a statement.
On the other hand, many celebrities will use their red carpet interviews to speak up. As Eva Longoria explained, this is hardly a silent protest. “We’re using that platform and using our voices to say we can change this ideology, and shatter the sexism that teaches men that women are less.”
Though there’s a lot to be said about the way women are treated on the red carpet (let’s not forget #AskHerMore), wearing black could be an important move if we consider what else is being done. The Time’s Up initiative just launched, and all through awards seasons, celebrities who take the stage will have an amazing platform to talk about sexism and harassment in Hollywood.
Things are far from perfect. Known abusers such as Woody Allen still work with high-profile celebrities who no doubt attend these ceremonies. So does wearing black really matter? Yes, as long as it’s the beginning of a bigger, more significant change when it comes to power dynamics and sexism in Hollywood.