A Politicized Golden Globes Takes a Stand Against Sexual Assault

January 15, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

Last Sunday, the Golden Globes was marked by speaking out against the widespread sexual assault—in Hollywood and beyond. We are still at a critical juncture in this vital #MeToo movement, and there is a need for the anger and speaking out to be aimed at the larger culture and institutions of power which serve to enforce and propagate the brutal assault and degradation of women that takes place in every corner of society.

In this context came the Golden Globes, an annual awards show for film and television. In addition to calling out the culture and institutions, prominent actresses and Hollywood executives extended a hand from Hollywood—which has gotten much of the attention—to women of all strata and in all spheres of society who suffer the horror of sexual assault. 

In mid-December, a call went out for everyone attending the awards ceremony to wear black, as a solidarity statement against sexual harassment and abuse. The red carpet was covered in a sea of black dresses embodying a feeling of broad solidarity among the attendees. In addition, a couple days before the ceremony, a new initiative was announced: Time’s Up. This is a legal defense fund created for women in workplaces like fields, factories and hospitals “to come forward without fear of legal, career or financial retaliation and work toward a culture free from sexual harassment.” This fund has now raised almost $17 million. Most attendees wore a Time’s Up pin.

Six actresses brought women activists to give a platform to their work and put them—and the people they fight for—in the spotlight. These activists included a co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, an organization that fights for women farmworkers; an advocate and lawyer for restaurant workers who co-founded Restaurant Opportunities Centers United; Tarana Burke, who started the #MeToo hashtag years ago, and others. This, too, represents a broadening out of the struggle—targeting the ways in which women in every corner of society are assaulted and forging unity among women of different strata.

A number of women made overt political statements, including Frances McDormand, Laura Dern, and more. Elisabeth Moss, who won for best actress in the powerful TV series Handmaid’s Tale, quoted from the author Margaret Atwood: “We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edge of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” Moss went on to recognize Atwood and “all of the women who came before you and after you, who were brave enough to speak out against intolerance and injustice and to fight for equality and freedom in this world. We no longer live in the blank white spaces at the edge of print. We no longer live in the gaps between the stories. We are the story in print. And we are writing the story ourselves.”

Two important problems to highlight: First, while men wore black tuxedos and many wore Time’s Up pins, none of the men who won a Globe spoke out against sexual assault in their acceptance speeches, highlighting the need for the fight to continue and that this not be a fight for women alone. Everyone is responsible to stand up and speak out against the oppression and degradation of the half of humanity that is female. 

Also, in contrast to last year’s awards, almost no one mentioned the sexual-predator-in-chief Donald Trump, who has for decades openly bragged about his assaults against women including the well known video recording where he talked about how being famous gave him license to grab women’s genitals! In addition, and even more important, he is now at the helm of a fascist regime which promises a Handmaid’s Tale future today: where women are forced into motherhood against their will, biblical-literalist control of women in a society with no separation of church and state, and LGBTQ people are forced back into the closet in shame and terror. If we’re really going to say No More! to sexual assault, we can’t sidestep the fascist regime in power.

Oprah Winfrey gave a powerful speech where she spoke to the attacks on the press (alluding to Trump without speaking to him directly). She also told the story of Recy Taylor, a Black woman raped by six white men in Alabama in the mid 1940s. This was a case that was fought by the NAACP, though as Oprah said, “Justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow.” She ended her speech with the following: “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”

An inspiring and important vision and one which all of us have to fight for.




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