By Taruni Kumar
After #MeToo shook the world in 2017 and Time Magazine dedicated its Person of the Year cover to ‘The Silence Breakers’, three hundred female Hollywood actors, agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives decided to begin 2018 with a bang. They’ve formed an initiative (on what is probably an unprecedented scale) to combat systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and blue-collar workplaces nationwide called Time’s Up.
It’s time to shift the balance in the workplace, from representing the few to representing us all. Sign the #TIMESUP solidarity letter and donate to the #TIMESUP Legal Defense Fund right here: https://t.co/GNhkSnWIDb pic.twitter.com/a5oi2Sbaam
— TIME’S UP (@timesupnw) 1 January 2018
“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it,” reads the campaign’s website.
It includes a legal defense fund, backed by 13 million USD in donations to help those women who are less privileged than the team behind Time’s Up. And what a team it is. The women involved include the legendary screenwriter and producer Shonda Rhimes (of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder fame), Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Rashida Jones, Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon and lots of other amazing women.
Buuuut, (and it’s a big but) one of Time’s Up’s first moves has been to urge women to wear black at the Golden Globes on Sunday. They say it’s an attempt to speak out against gender and racial inequality.
“This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” says Eva Longoria.
As Slate points out so well, isn’t that just putting the onus on women once more to engage in a performance of dissent, placing the focus on those who don’t get the memo or choose to not participate with their clothes even if they do in spirit? Where does it place the focus on the men and the perpetrators of sexual harassment?
Let’s not forget that #MeToo, despite all its power, faced some flack for being, in part, yet another form of emotional labour put in by women, the victims of sexual harassment and assault, as a performance for the men, the perpetrators.
“If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?” Rhimes was quoted as saying to The New York Times. And it’s true, if they can’t, who can? Here’s hoping this massive endeavour really does manage to take off the way it deserves to and shut down powerful men who misuse their privilege.