Golden Globes...Where were the men?
January 1st, 2018 marked a decidedly different attitude from 2017, with the debut of the Time’s Up Movement, mirroring the sentiments behind the Women’s March. Last Sunday’s Golden Globes provided a platform for the Time’s Up movement to shine. Hollywood’s best and brightest donned black gowns and tuxedos in order to show solidarity with women all around the world who have to face sexual harassment and workplace discrimination in their day to day lives, . From a fashion perspective, this form of protest showcased creativity and individuality under strict parameters. However, from a sociopolitical perspective, the Golden Globes awards themselves failed to live up to the expectations of the movement.
It is no secret that 2017 was a explosive year, exposing countless powerful abusers across many industries. In the world of film and media, powerful figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and many, many more were ousted as having had sexually abused many actresses and actors, respectively. While having the vast majority of stars present at the awards ceremony wear black visually created an appearance of a powerful protest, the impact fell short.
The Golden Globes began with a 10-minute monologue of awkward jokes ridiculing concepts such as mansplaining and calling out abusers in Hollywood. While Seth Meyers’ monologue did address the black elephant in the room, it turned years of sexual abuse into a punchline, in a room filled with actresses who had personally been sexually harassed by the Weinsteins of the industry.
In one of his more memorable lines, Seth Meyers stated that “It’s 2018, marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t.” However, the rest of the show proved that this was not true. Throughout the night, almost two dozen men took home awards, and not a single one mentioned Time’s Up or the #metoo movement, despite many of them donning Time’s Up pins. Alexander Skarsgård, specifically, took home a Golden Globe for his brutal portrayal of an abusive husband on HBO’s "Big Little Lies". While Skarsgård’s performance was impressive, it struck an insensitive chord to celebrate a man for portraying an abuser. Although Skarsgård wore a Time’s Up pin on his tuxedo jacket, he failed to address domestic violence or sexual harassment once in his speech.
While the Golden Globes’ host, presenters, and many of its female award recipients clearly affirmed their dedication to the Time’s Up movement, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s decisions did not reflect the same goals. James Franco took home the award for best actor in a musical or comedy for his performance in The Disaster Artist, despite accusations of sexual misconduct. Franco, who in the past has admitted to sexually harassing underage actresses, donned a Time’s Up pin as he accepted his award. Later in the evening, Kirk Douglas was celebrated with a standing ovation while presenting, despite having had famously raped actress Natalie Wood when she was only 16.
The Golden Globes gave men the opportunity to do what many white feminist movements do-- allow men appear to be good male feminists, while in reality contributing nothing to the movement. Take Justin Timberlake, for example. The singer/actress tweeted “Here we come!! And DAMN, my wife is hot! #TIMESUP #whywewearblack” prior to the start of the awards show. Timberlake, however, stars as one of the male leads in Woody Allen’s, one of Hollywood’s most famous abusers, newest film. Similarly, many of the actors and stars awarded and presenting that evening signed the infamous Roman Polanski petition, including Guillermo del Toro, who took whom a golden globe for best director, and Natalie Portman, who was praised for announcing the list of “all male nominees” for best director.
At first glance, the Golden Globes seemed to be a success for the Time’s Up movement and the pushback against sexual harassment, but upon closer scrutiny, Hollywood still needs far more work before it can claim to be anything near feminist.