Women and men in the entertainment industry expressed solidarity with victims of sexual assault this past month by wearing black dresses to the Golden Globes, and accessorizing with white roses at the Grammy Awards. This movement, which many think has transformed the #MeToo campaign into #TimesUp, has gained much media coverage.
However, this didn’t satisfy everyone. Some found this movement to be pointless and superficial. How does wearing a black dress empower survivors of sexual assault? Is this not a very privileged way of expressing solidarity? Isn’t this a very superficial way of addressing such a serious issue?
Is there any use for such a statement? With such a response, definitely. It is significant because of the message it brings out to the public. When any awards show takes place, the headlines of every magazine read: “best dressed” or “worst dressed.”
This time, however, it wasn’t about the dress, but rather about the message behind it. It is important for people in Hollywood to not only come forth with stories of abuse, but to also fight for them, even in the smallest of measures. This sends out a message to young people around the world, who look up to Hollywood, that silence is not an option anymore: that there is a large community ready to stand by them whenever they come forward, or that they can create this community within their own society much like how Hollywood has done today.
Despite claims calling this movement superficial, a couple of the dresses worn to the Golden Globes are being auctioned in order to fund the #TimesUp Legal Defense Fund to provide resources for women and men across all industries fighting their cases against harassment, discrimination, and sexual assault.
I would also like to point out that this is a relatively new campaign. Although it might not have been as effective as the #MeToo campaign, anything that serves the empowerment of women and men affected by abuse must always be welcomed.
Let us not be critical of a new movement that is heading towards the right direction. Let us carry this movement even further with more stories to come on how we, as a global community, fight harassment and injustice.