At this year’s Golden Globes, the once glittering and elaborate dresses of the red carpet were put aside and replaced by a sea of black. This extravagant night took on a somber and powerful tone as the women of Hollywood presented themselves as a united front for the Time’s Up Movement. Instead of dates, the award nominees brought guests, activists and empowered women in order to give them a platform to speak their minds in an otherwise closed off society. Interviews on the red carpet were refreshingly real, as women refused to talk about their appearance and dresses and instead directed the attention to their guests, their important messages and the work they have done. Men and women donned Time’s Up pins to bring attention to the new initiative that funds legal support for victims who have experienced sexual harassment or assault and aim to seek justice.
The talented female winners of the night used their speeches to raise important issues and support the Time’s Up movement. Oprah’s acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille award was an empowering, honest and rallying speech that left people calling for Oprah for president. Amongst this incredibly powerful and inspiring night there was one aspect that many took issue with: none of the male winners used their platform to talk about the Time’s Up initiative. In fact, none of them even mentioned anything about gender inequality or harassment.
While I understand it was glaringly obvious that men were not speaking about these issues and how that could bother some people, is that necessarily a bad thing right now? The Time’s Up initiative is made to support women who are trying speak out about their trauma and be heard. Why are we so concerned about what the men have to say when the whole point of the movement is to finally listen to what women have to say?
So where do we go from here? This seems to be the popular question following the 2018 Golden Globes. How should these men be punished? Many believe that this should be it for them. If they have abused their power and sexually harassed someone, then their career should be over. Many others believe that there is room for reconciliation and forgiveness. The thing is, no one really has an answer to that question yet. We, as a society, have gone from silencing women and their experiences to, now that they have finally come to the surface, immediately trying to push them aside again. There is a call for ‘dealing’ with these accusations, how to respond to them and enact some sort of punishment so that we can move on. Men are becoming uncomfortable in this limbo and they just want it to end, but is it not okay to allow for a brief period in which women can own their experience and exert some power over it?
Let’s stay in this space right now, where women are applauded and encouraged to step forward. A place where men do not have the ability to tell us how we should feel or that we are overreacting to our experiences. Let’s give women a time to breathe, be loud and take charge without a man commenting or criticizing where they are not wanted or needed for a change.
To men: you really do not have the right to speak to these women’s experiences and what should be done with them, but you still do have a place within the Time’s Up initiative. Your place is to finally listen to and support women. Listen to their experiences, concerns and objections and maybe realize the things that you do in your own life. Reflect upon these problems that our society has with harassment and inequality and make a change in your own views and actions. Apologize and deal with the repercussions, knowing that you have done something wrong and should have to face them. Instead of giving your voice to these issues lend it to a woman; let her speak, do not change the topic and listen. You have had your time.
Samantha Pierce is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.