#TimesUp: The Movement
With rumors of celebrity stylists running out of black dresses ahead of last night’s Golden Globes awards, the red carpet became a visual manifestation of the #TimesUp initiative. Launched on January 2, it debuted on social media with the motto: “Time’s up on silence. Time’s up on waiting. Time’s up on tolerating discrimination, harassment, and abuse.” This motto was followed by an open letter to women. “Dear sisters, we write on behalf of over 300 women who work in film, television, and theater. A little more than two months ago, courageous individuals revealed the dark truth of ongoing sexual harassment and assault by powerful people in the entertainment industry.”
The platform extends to women who have experienced harassment at all levels of society and across all industries. A 2017 NBC poll stated that nearly half of working women have experienced harassment in the workplace. More than one-third of the world’s countries do not have any laws prohibiting sexual harassment at work – leaving nearly 235 million working women vulnerable in the workplace. The movement was immediately backed by more than 300 award-winning actors and producers, and raised just shy of US$ 16 million for its legal defense fund via its GoFundMe page.
The fund will “provide subsidized legal support to women and men who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace and while in pursuit of their careers… Access to prompt and comprehensive legal and communications help will mean empowerment for these individuals and long-term growth for our culture and communities as a whole.”
#MeToo: How and When it Started
The #TimesUp movement is a call to arms in answer to the #MeToo movement. Originating as a phrase coined by civil rights activist Tarana Burke in 2006 to raise awareness about sexual abuse and assault in society, “Me Too” quickly transformed into a hashtag uniting women around the world sharing stories of sexual harassment.
The snowball effect began with a series of investigative articles by Ronan Farrow in The New York Times from October 5, 2017, accused movie magnate Harvey Weinstein of numerous counts of sexual harassment. Five days later, New Yorker published 13 more accounts from women alleging harassment and rape. Weinstein has denied all counts of non-consensual sex. Some of the women who have gone on record about Weinstein include Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Making a Statement with Style
The people behind the #TimesUp movement encouraged women and men attending the Golden Globes to wear black in solidarity. Practically every single attendee wore black, while a handful of stars invited activists to join them on the red carpet. Michelle Williams was accompanied by Burke.
Emma Watson walked the red carpet with Marai Larasi, executive director of Imkaan, a British network of organizations working to end violence against black and minority women. Ai-jen Poo, who organizes immigrant worker women and is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, accompanied Meryl Streep.
Many women took their press time on the red carpet to speak about the movement. Eva Longoria and Debra Messing chose their mic time with E! hosts Giuliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest to state that E! does not support equal pay for its male and female employees. The woman of the hour was Oprah Winfrey. The first black female recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille award, an honorary Golden Globe for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment, captured the spirit of the campaign in her speech, stating that “a new day is on the horizon.”
For more information about TimesUp, visit the campaign website, which includes helpful resources about the legal fund and what to do if you experience or become aware of abuse in the workplace.
Related Read: Read Oprah’s powerful speech in full