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Cate Blanchett’s badass message to the men who think women dress for them

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Kayleigh Dray
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Cate Blanchett has a message for mankind about fashion, consent and sexist double standards – and it’s definitely one we can all get behind.

For many women, wolf-whistling and catcalling are seen as a form of misogynistic harassment, so much so that a police force in England recently reclassified them as hate crimes against women. Yet, despite this, it’s thought that only 344 out of every 1,000 cases of sexual assault gets reported to authorities, meaning roughly two thirds of incidents will never be investigated. 

There are a multitude of reasons for this, many of which have been detailed on Twitter using the viral #WhyWomenDontReport hashtag. One of the most common, though, is that “society’s first response Is to insult/belittle/embarrass/blame/discredit the victim”, or be generally dismissive of what they have to say.

It’s no surprise, then, that many women find themselves under close scrutiny when they speak up – and that the way they dress, or style their hair, or do their make-up is somehow made out to be at fault.

“Look at what you’re wearing – what do you expect?”



Indeed, Donna Karan – one of the first fashion names to weigh in on the Harvey Weinstein scandal – recently adopted this victim-blaming stance when asked for her opinion on the scandal.

“I think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”.

Now, speaking out at the InStyle Awards in Los Angeles, Blanchett has given her own perspective – and, in doing so, expertly reminded people everywhere that women should never expect to be harassed and assaulted, that we’re not exaggerating, that unwanted attention is never a compliment, and that it is a big deal.

And she did it in just thirteen words, too.

Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton

Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton

“Women like looking sexy,” said Blanchett, while collecting her Style Icon Award, “but it doesn’t mean we want to f**k you.”

“For me, the true icons of style... it’s that for me it’s always those women who’ve been utterly themselves without apology – whose physical presence and their aesthetic is really integrated in a non self-conscious way,” Blanchett added.

“Women who know how they look, it’s not all of who they are but just an extension of that, and it’s about women who feel free to wear what they want when they want and how they want to wear it”.



The Thor: Ragnarok star didn’t stop there, either: instead, she turned her attention to the misogynist nature of the Hollywood red carpet.

“No one says to Steve Bannon, ‘you look like a bag of trash. Do you want me to throw you out?’” mused Blanchett, “but the comments that get said about what women wear on the red carpet – I mean...

“I would be totally fine about walking down the red carpet without any make-up if everyone didn't have their telephoto lenses looking for faults. But the thing is, the red carpet is a gladiatorial sport for women. There was one moment at the Golden Globes when they wanted me to stick my hand into a mani-pedi cam. It's like, are you f***ing kidding me?! Are you really that micro in your assessment? I'm here because I'm nominated for my work, you know what I mean?

“I'd be totally fine if there was an agreement where you could say, ‘Wow, she looks great with no make-up.’ It's the scrutiny, women want an armature.”

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Blanchett finished by calling upon her fellow female attendees to pay no attention to the spiteful remarks posted about them on social media websites, insisting: “If you trawl through those trolls on the Internet, just don't.

“Instead, I just say, ‘bring it on, ladies!’ Break it wide open. I think you're all extraordinary.”

Images: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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