Clothes, typically regarded as simple-minded materialistic frills, gave the women at the Golden Globes tremendous power because — for perhaps the first time ever — women wanted to be asked what they were wearing.
Prim and proper in black lace, chiffon and trousers, the fanciest dresses and suits held a serious undertone constituted by choice. United through fashion and a proudly unapologetic feminist attitude, Hollywood’s leading ladies and men made a powerful statement about sexual assault and in turn, women’s rights.
The red carpet may not have been as colorful or dramatic as past years, but the conversation shifted toward women’s issues and away from the minute details of their dresses.
While Debra Messing looked stunning in a sparkly Christian Siriano outfit, she called out E! for unequal pay while being interviewed by the same channel.
Not only were these women eloquently explaining how their fashion choices reflected their stances on women’s issues, but they chose to take their ideas a step further by allowing leaders to also have a voice.
Emma Watson accompanied by Marai Larasi, a women’s rights activist, talked passionately about how they have teamed up to help minorities and refugee women in the United Kingdom. Meryl Streep voiced her concerns surrounding power imbalances and brought Ai-jen Poo, the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
The celebrities who attended responded genuinely to the growing concerns of unequal pay and revelations from the #MeToo movement. Rather than allow the movement to die down, which could easily happen, celebrities are driven to make smart decisions to progress the movements they helped start.
Fashion has inspired change within women’s movements throughout history.
In the 1960s, the women’s liberation movement had one of its leading moments. Women freely threw their bras, girdles and high heels away in front of the Miss Universe Pageant. The 1920s also liberated women’s sexual and social identity through short, loose dresses and closely cropped hair –– a far cry from the long dresses and restrictive corsets women once wore.
Let the movements of the past inspire those of the future.The fashion on the red carpet set the tone for the entire evening as presenters and award winners constantly reinforced TIME’S UP, a response to ending sexual harassment and inequality in the workforce through legal support.
The Golden Globes brought the #MeToo movement to another level, bringing real action through TIME’S UP. Because men and women wore black clothing in support of these movements, a genuine possibility of change could be seen for the future.
There is strength in numbers. These women and men have the chance to use their status as a way to make serious strides in their industry and encourage others to do the same.
The award season has just started. Imagine what else celebrities could say through fashion at other important award shows. Besides #MeToo, minority roles are still widely debated in Hollywood, focusing on the stereotypes they tirelessly portray.
If there is a fashion element connecting celebrities at award shows (a choice in jewelry or thematic concept), celebrities on the red carpet have the ability to take recurring questions and turn them into meaningful conversation.
The black dresses worn during the Golden Globes were an invaluable starting point toward change. Incorporating unified fashion statements during this award season will set an example for the importance of discussing social issues, both on and off the red carpet.