For a very long time, many have questioned whether or not the red carpet is sexist: in 2014, filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom founded the Representation Project and the #AskHerMore campaign, urging journalists to ask women questions beyond, ‘Who are you wearing?’
Since then, many of Hollywood’s brightest stars have joined the movement: we’ve seen Elisabeth Moss hide a secret “f**k you” to the patriarchy in her outfit, and Blake Lively shut down incessant questions about her “go-to power outfit”. Jennifer Aniston, Julianne Moore and Reese Witherspoon famously refused to put their hands in E!’s infamous mani-cam in 2015. And, shortly after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, Cate Blanchett used her platform at the Style Icon Awards to further highlight the misogynist nature of the 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.”
So it makes sense that, in a post-Weinstein world, Hollywood’s brightest stars are planning to take the opportunity to reclaim the red carpet and use it for good.
First things first, actors and actresses alike have been urged to don one special accessory in particular.
The Time’s Up pin (seen here at The Hollywood Reporter) was commissioned by Reese Witherspoon – and designed by Arianne Phillips – to draw attention to the new sexual harassment prevention initiative of the same name that launched on 1 January.
And that’s not all: the enamel pin comes on the heels of the news that both men and women will wear black to this year’s Golden Globes to protest sexual harassment and stand in solidarity with the victims.
“This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” Longoria shared with the New York Times.
“For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colours and our beautiful faces and our glamour. This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”
Saoirse Ronan, who has been nominated for an award thanks to her stellar performance in Lady Bird, echoed Longoria’s sentiments during an interview with Extra’s Mark Wright.
“It is the most important thing, and I’ve never felt so encouraged and inspired and supported to use whatever voice I have and for all of these people, men and women, to be able come together and use their influence and to open up the conversation and raise awareness and support anyone who’s gone through, or anyone that has questioned their safety or their stance when they’re on set,” she said.
“I think it’s invaluable and paramount that this happens now.”
According to FemaleFirst, Mudbound’s Mary J. Blige added: “There’s so many women that don’t get a chance to speak in other industries that are not the film industry, the music industry. It’s important for us to stand up for them so they can get a chance to speak.
“I am one of those women, so, you know, I don’t want to go into detail about that and I haven’t, but I am, and I stand with those women. I champion them.”
And that’s still not all: E! News recently revealed that a number of high-profile women will pair up and walk the red carpet together – including Witherspoon and Longoria – in a bid to further draw attention to Time’s Up.
The initiative, as we previously reported, will seed a legal defence fund, backed by $13 million in donations, to help less privileged women protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.
It will also include the legislation needed to protect against sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace, as well as a drive to reach gender parity across Hollywood.
You can read all about Times Up and learn how to get involved here.
Images: Rex Features