By JENIBELLE HSU
Welcome to a “new order in Hollywood.”
With the start of the new year, Hollywood stars banded together and made the ultimate new years’ resolution: to end sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.
Accordingly, the 75th Golden Globes Awards ceremony on Jan. 7 seemed more like a political rally than a festive celebration, featuring moving acceptance speeches and even a “nomination” for a 2020 presidential candidate.
Nevertheless, the Golden Globes gave hope to the actresses who dared to say “me too” and foreshadowed real changes that will promote gender equality in the entertainment industry.
Ultimately, it was truly the women’s night: Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to take home the Cecil DeMille Award, and television shows and films with female leads dominated the winners list. The image of female heroines on and off the screen highlighted not only their strength, but their voices.
This growing recognition also diminished the double standard in judging women’s worth or capabilities in a male-dominated industry. As The Handmaid’s Tale star Elizabeth Moss said, “We no longer live in the gaps between the stories. We are the story and print and we are writing the story ourselves.”
As women become leading figures in Hollywood, the men who dared to exploit their power find their hands tied, because in contrast to previous years, women assured that they will not be silenced or controlled.
In fact, the iconic Oprah Winfrey emphasized the power of truth and united both men and women by telling them to “take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.” Her determination and optimism in her speech reassured victims in Hollywood that they will receive the justice and closure they deserve. For the people who buried their secrets to protect their livelihood, Winfrey’s speech confirmed the end of the silent era in their lives.
Yet, women were not the only ones who raised their voices. Host Seth Meyer’s provocative satire of Hollywood’s notorious corruption revealed a desire to improve the industry. By tackling the issue of sexual harassment head-on, he sparked a relevant conversation that will last long after the night and set a high standard for future hosts.
However, to many viewers at home, the Hollywood elites were all talk and no action at their political convention. Although they earned standing ovations from their fellow A-list actors and actresses, they failed to connect with viewers at home.
For instance, the black wave on the red carpet supposedly symbolized the stars’ unanimous support for an anti-harassment initiative called Time’s Up, but they appeared to unite themselves instead of the entertainment industry. Ironically, others may assume that most women are unprotected in the hierarchical Hollywood because only the few with such unreachable power are heard.
Even Meyers poked fun at the celebrities: “I know if you’re watching at home, and you see everyone in their tuxedos and gowns, this looks like a room of privileged Hollywood elite. And that’s fair.”
However, the stars were part of a larger cause than themselves and showcased their support for gender equality rather than their dresses during the awards ceremony. Although the night revolved around Hollywood, sexual harassment took front and center.
While their outfits merely influence the fashion world, it is undeniable that celebrities can make a greater impact.
In 2016, the nominees protested the lack of diversity in top categories with the hashtag #oscarsowhite. Yet, by the next year, more stories starring non-white actors and actresses joined the ranks of Oscar-nominated films. In fact, Moonlight, which features an all-black cast, took home the Best Picture in 2017.
Nonetheless, recognizing the problem is just the beginning. To make real progress, everyone must evaluate what is right or wrong and gather the courage to challenge those who crossed the line. Though Hollywood will not change overnight, the Golden Globes signifies that change is within reach.