Visible Women

How women brought feminism to the Golden Globes, one year on from Time’s Up

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Moya Crockett
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Golden Globes producers wanted this year’s ceremony to be less political – but this is a movement, not a moment. 

Twelve months have now passed since the Golden Globes went dark. At the awards ceremony in January 2018, almost every female guest dressed in black – a statement meant to draw attention to the launch of Time’s Up, the initiative designed to support victims of sexual misconduct in the workplace. 

In the wake of the revelations about Harvey Weinstein and the global, roiling rage of the #MeToo movement, the mood at the usually-cheerful Globes in 2018 was raw and angry. But the sight of all those women clad in funereal tones was also extraordinarily powerful, and – somehow – hopeful. We knew that sexual harassment and assault weren’t going to be stamped out as a result of celebrities wearing expensive black gowns on a red carpet. Yet it still felt profoundly significant to see the most famous women on the planet discussing the realities of sexual violence, and highlighting a diverse range of feminist voices by bringing activists as their dates.

Ahead of the 76th Golden Globe Awards, which took place in Beverly Hills on Sunday 7 January, the event’s producers had reportedly attempted to ensure that this year’s ceremony would not be quite so political. But while the 2019 Globes were less of a protest than in 2018, female guests still ensured that the subjects of equality and diversity were at the forefront of everyone’s minds. 

Actors and activists at the 2018 Golden Globes 

Not only did many powerful Hollywood women incorporate Time’s Up ribbons into their Golden Globes outfits, but several used their time in the spotlight to continue the conversation about gender politics. Accepting the Golden Globe for best supporting film actress for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk, Regina King announced that she will ensure gender parity in her future film projects – both on and off-screen.

King, who is a director and producer as well as an actress, pledged that “everything” she produces in the next two years will have a cast and crew made up of “50% women”.

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“The reason why we do this is because we understand that our microphones are big and we’re speaking for everyone,” King said.

“I just challenge anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries, I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity and do the same.” 

Regina King at the 2019 Golden Globes 

For Patricia Arquette, talking about feminism at awards ceremonies is second nature. The actress, who won her second Golden Globe on Sunday for her work on TV series Escape at Dannemora, famously used her Oscars acceptance speech in 2015 to speak out about the need for wage equality and women’s rights.

Backstage at this year’s Globes, Arquette said it was crucial for discussions about pay and gender equality to include women in all industries, not just Hollywood.

“We have a lot of mums out there who are sole breadwinners or primary breadwinners for their families,” she said. “We have to look at equal opportunity and equal pay [for them].”

Patricia Arquette with her Golden Globe for best actress in a limited series or motion picture

One of the night’s most uplifting feminist speeches came courtesy of Glenn Close, who won the Golden Globe for best actress in a drama motion picture. Close was recognised for her performance in The Wife, in which she plays the unfulfilled spouse of a narcissistic, Nobel Prize-winning husband – and she said the role taught her that women need to “follow our dreams”.

It is “expected” that women will be “nurturers”, Close said. “We have our children. We have our husbands if we’re lucky enough, and our partners, whoever. But we have to find personal fulfilment!”

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Speaking to reporters backstage, Close said she was encouraged by the number of women in Hollywood who are deciding to tell their own stories, rather than waiting for the right films and roles to be created for them.

“That’s the advantage of all the places where these wonderful stories are being told now,” she said. “Women are taking control and starting production companies and nurturing stories that will give them good roles. I really long for the day when it’s not just a ‘woman’s movie’ but just a ‘good movie.’ ”

Glenn Close (far right) with Octavia Spencer and Olivia Colman at the Golden Globes 

In the year since Time’s Up was launched, the US arm of the initiative has supported more than 38,000 women and men who have experienced workplace sexual misconduct. The organisation’s focus expands far beyond Hollywood: its Legal Defence Fund, which provides financial support and legal advice to people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted at work, notably supported female employees at McDonald’s in filing sexual harassment complaints against the fast food giant.

On these shores, the UK Justice and Equality Fund has raised more than £2.7 million to support victims of sexual misconduct at work. The British branch of Time’s Up, which was launched by Emma Watson in February 2018, has a particular focus on people in low-paid and unstable employment, as well as those who face intersecting disadvantages related to race, age, class, immigration status, disability or sexuality.

In July 2018, a report by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee stated that 40% of UK women had been victims of unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace – and noted that the majority of incidents are still “never reported to an employer”.

One year on, #MeToo and Time’s Up don’t feel quite as raw as they did in January 2018, but the problems they raised are still present. Like Regina King, Patricia Arquette and Glenn Close, we need to keep talking about systemic issues of gender inequality – because it’s a movement, not a moment

The evidence of stress in our lives is everywhere, from bad sleep to increased anxiety. So in January 2019, is dedicated to creating a life less frazzled. We’ll be focusing on uplifting news, feelgood features and recommendations for fun things to do, with the goal of making you feel calmer and more positive about the coming year.

Images: Getty Images