On Sunday, the 2018 awards season kicked off with the Golden Globes, and the refrain of the night was clear: “Time’s up!” So, if the red carpet at the Golden Globes red carpet strikes you as somewhat funereal, there’s a reason.
Traditionally, a red carpet is a frothy celebration of fashion — albeit usually safe and sedate fashion — and celebrity gossip: “Look at what that actress is wearing.” “Oh, I didn’t know that pop star was married to that actor.” It’s best watched with wine firmly in hand and pizza waiting on the coffee table.
But this year, in the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, celebrities walking the red carpet didn’t have the space to be quite so frivolous. They had to acknowledge the systemic misogyny of the entertainment industry and at least pay lip service to make a difference going forward — and, with the Golden Globes being a Hollywood event, they had to do so while being self-congratulatory and glitzy.
The #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up initiative have given sexual assault survivors and their supporters a uniting banner and war cry in the wake of the New York Times’ exposé about the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The exposé — and the response to it — led to a number of other women in Hollywood and other industries speaking up with their own stories of sexual harassment and assault. And the more people who spoke out, the louder the call for justice became.
Of course, the Times’ October 2017 feature wasn’t the first time that alleged victims have tried to share their stories, nor was it even the first time that accusations of sexual assault were brought against powerful Hollywood men.
But it did seem to be the first time the world paid full attention, and that actual concrete consequences — tarnished reputations, roles being recast, jobs being lost — were brought against the alleged abusers. The Golden Globes, the first major awards show since the #MeToo movement gained steam in the wake of the Weinstein story, the Time’s Up initiative emerged.
In light of those goals and this movement, E! Network’s Live On The Red Carpet made a point to ask not “who are you wearing” but “why are you wearing,” so that the celebrities could talk about the importance of this moment in Hollywood. America Ferrera was one of those leaders:
“It’s our job right now, the time is now for us to do the work that will make women and all people more safe and more equal in their workplaces and in their lives,” she said.
The black gown movement also seems to have prompted some of Hollywood’s most famous actresses of color to wear their hair in natural or traditional African styles. Viola Davis had combed her hair out into a full and glorious Afro, and Tracee Ellis Ross donned a dramatic black silk headscarf.
All of which made it all the more remarkable that largely thanks to the actresses spearheading the #TimesUp movement … it mostly succeeded? There were plenty of false notes to go around.
Those who didn’t use their voices were given a side-eye on Twitter, such as when Aziz Ansari’s acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical left fans disappointed that he didn’t use the opportunity to address something deeper. Those who paid lip-service to the movement but didn’t seem to put it into practice were also called out.
Elizabeth Moss made a rousing speech about women’s rights that many fans felt was undercut by the fact that she is a Scientologist. (The religion has long faced allegations of mistreating women.) If one thing was made clear by the Golden Globes, both by celebrities on screen and by viewer reactions off-screen, it’s that the time for talking is over. The time for action is now.