A NEW DAY IS ON THE HORIZON

A revolutionary call-to-arms, a red-carpet blackout and a movement declaring that the time is truly up on sexual assault, harassment and inequality. Welcome to 2018: the year of the feminist reckoning
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A NEW DAY IS ON THE HORIZON

IF YOU WANT PROOF OF JUST HOW MUCH THINGS HAVE CHANGED in the last 12 months alone, look for some best-dressed lists from Monday’s Golden Globes. Conspicuous by their absence, the distinct lack of reductive who-what-wear round-ups is representative of exactly how much the glamour, the dresses, and even the gongs themselves, took a backseat at the red-carpet ceremony this year. Instead, the Globes were almost unrecognisable, acting as a far more dramatic, unprecedented vehicle for the Time’s Up movement to really make its voice heard. And as for the dresses? They came in any colour as long as it was black; a litany of LBDs serving as a powerful and unifying sartorial statement of solidarity. The message rang clear: “The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.” Put plainly, this was never going to be your average awards show.

Alicia Vikande

Launched on 1 January in The New York Times, the Time’s Up manifesto came via a letter addressed, “Dear Sisters,” pledging support and, crucially, real aid courtesy of a legal-defence fund to help “victims and survivors… access justice and support for the wrongdoing they have endured.” What started with the Weinstein scandal – and even the women’s marches last January – segued into #metoo, and has now led to over 300 of Hollywood’s mostprominent actresses and female agents, writers, directors and producers to come together to form Time’s Up; a callto-arms to end systematic sexual harassment and inequality in the workplace – for all women, everywhere.

The initiative, as described by The New York Times as “driven by outrage and a resolve to correct a power imbalance that seemed intractable just months ago,” was set into motion in the wake of LA’s Take Back The Workplace march last November, where 700,000 Latina farmworkers penned a letter to the “brave men and women of Hollywood,” vocalising their solidarity but also how they “weren’t surprised,” given “it’s a reality we know far too well.” They continued, “Even though we work in different environments, we share a common experience of being preyed upon by individuals who have the power to hire, fire, blacklist and otherwise threaten our economic, physical and emotional security. Like you, there are few positions available to us and reporting any kind of harm or injustice committed doesn’t seem like a viable option. Complaining about anything – even sexual harassment – seems unthinkable because too much is at risk.”

Margot Robbie

The women of Hollywood – including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry and Tracee Ellis Ross – answered, writing, “we… recognise our privilege and the fact that we have access to enormous platforms to amplify our voices… we want to lift up the voices, power and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation.” A galvanising message that highlights the true meaning of sisterhood; that feminism is a tide where all ships rise together, but only if we leave no woman behind.

The night belonged to all women, but special mention goes to Natalie Portman, whose deliciously pointed “and here are the all-male nominees” quip when announcing Best Director became instant, memeable gold, and to Debra Messing, who took absolutely no prisoners, telling a reporter from E!, “I was so shocked to hear that E! doesn’t believe in paying their female co-hosts the same as their male cohosts.” Pow.

Jessica Chastain

And then there was Oprah. Her rousing acceptance speech when receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award – the first black woman to do so – garnered not only an ongoing standing ovation from an emotional crowd, but also launched the top trend on Twitter; the #oprahforpresident2020 hashtag. Seizing every bit of emotion in the room, from anger to hope, she told the audience: “For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up!”

Pulling together the personal and the political, Oprah continued, “I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue,” concluding by saying, “I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who have withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, and some pretty phenomenal men, are fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.” Oprah for president? 2020 vision, here we come.

Dakota Johnson

Photos: Getty Images and REX