At the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, the Hollywood-helmed Time's Up initiative members wore black gowns as a symbol of their solidarity against sexual abuse, pay inequality, and discrimination. Actresses brought activists like Tarana Burke as their dates and allowed them to use their voices on red carpet interviews. It was a well-organised, if imperfect statement.
At the 2018 Academy Awards, things are going to be a little different. The Oscars will still address sexual harassment in a segment produced by Time's Up. Three of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein accusers will also present an award together: Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, and Annabella Sciorra.
The red carpet won't be the avenue of protest, explains Shonda Rhimes, Laura Dern, and other Time's Up activists, reports Glamour. Rhimes explained that the red carpet isn't the only way that Time's Up wants to get their message across. "It’s really important that you know that Time’s Up is not about the red carpet," said Rhimes. "Those women you saw on the red carpet representing Time’s Up are now off the red carpet working their butts off being activists."
Time's Up's black gown dress code at the Golden Globes wasn't without its critics, including Refinery29's own Connie Wang. Actress Rose McGowan countered the black dresses by calling it a "silent protest" while others on social media criticised the dress code as hollow. It's unclear if Time's Up is cynically reacting to the blowback it received for the black gowns, or if the initiative is simply evolving into other forms of protest.
Still, Rhimes insists that the most important work is being done behind the scenes. Indeed, in any forms of activism, the least visible work is often the most consequential, and that strategy is just as important as statements. Referring to the activists on the red carpet, Rhimes said that "some of these amazing women have a superpower, and we like to deploy that superpower usefully and in an intelligent way—and not just because we can."