Sexism in society
Sexism is something that has existed systematically within society since the beginning of time. Male dominated societies with women who serve as the weaker sex, providing and nurturing the opposing sex. The twentieth century saw a significant turning point for women, with the Equal Franchise Act being passed in 1928. This meant women over the age of 21 could vote, however this did not automatically grant equality, one could say much like the separate but equal laws implemented upon African Americans in twentieth century USA. Throughout history we see women and certain ethnic groups being discriminated against and having to live alongside their white male counterparts as lesser beings.
The film and television industry is renowned for the gender inequalities and many cases of sexual harassment that occur. Many people in this industry are struggling and rely on those above them in more powerful positions to enable their rise to stardom. This kind of desperate dependency has seen many young girls being taken advantage of.
However, with the rise of social change and more social acceptance, the twenty-first century has been seen to illustrate and pave way to a more liberal, neo-cosmopolitan era. Where women are speaking out and calling for change, where people express themselves more openly and stand together against the submissive passive culture inflicted upon them.
Fashion as a tool for expression
We are living in an era where we are breaking down societal stereotypical norms and, in their place, rebuilding and redefining societies expectations, values, and beliefs. We are seeing a growth in celebrities and people in powerful positions using their platforms to raise awareness for certain political and social issues.
Fashion is something that lets us express ourselves, it is a powerful tool which we can use to restructure people’s perceptions through the art of expression and liberation. The red carpet is a marvel watched by many, it is a platform for the most successful and glamorous celebrities. The outfits worn by those who walk it are critiqued and marvelled at by spectators and the media, meaning the attention they get is the perfect opportunity to advocate and convey their political and social beliefs.
The red carpet as an advocate for change
The Time’s Up movement in 2018 was a response to the ‘#MeToo’ campaign. It was a direct reaction and response to the Harvey Weinstein case. It saw women dress in black and hold white roses on the red carpet. This was to call attention to sexual harassment in the work place. The 75th Annual Golden Globe awards was the first major red carpet event in which celebrities such as Emma Stone wore black and stood in solidarity for the cause. Other events followed suit with Dua Lipa holding a white rose at the Brits. This shows how the red carpet can be quite literally used as a platform to showcase not only the celebrities outfits, but their political standings too.
Fashion is ultimately how we express ourselves, whether you may be interested in it or not. The clothes we wear say something about us and who we are trying to be. Henceforth, incorporating a serious topic such as workplace harassment via wearing a black dress provides a bold statement to that. Women in a more powerful and privileged position were said to be standing up for those in a lesser one, those that have less media coverage and attention in the world.
Although the movement cannot disparage sexism completely, we see this patriarchal system starting to be slowly broken down. Since the movement began several men in both powerful and those in less high profile positions have been called out and fired. The movement has encouraged many women who previously did not have the courage, to speak out. Time’s Up set up a legal defence fund that saw $16 million being raised to help less privileged victims of sexual assault.
Positive media coverage
The New York Times details the many ways in which the movement has effected positive change; from promoting gender parity to penalizing companies that tolerate sexual harassment. The New York Times is one of the most read newspapers around the world, meaning it provides a great platform to spread awareness for the movement and provoke positive change. It is an issue which not just affects women, but men too.
With stereotypes indirectly inflicted on men, making them conform to this homogenous view held within society. Men are being encouraged to break out of these gender stereotypes, to embrace their emotional and compassionate side and to not be drawn to the toxic masculinity that is prevalent in our society. The journalism and publishing industry has always been a male-dominated field. Subsequently, the publicity articles like this bring, particularly from such a high profile newspaper, allows women to feel empowered and encourages women to peruse those high flying jobs in those industries they may have otherwise be scared to approach. The media coverage this article provides is a great way of getting the message out there and explaining and educating people on the movement.
“This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment.”Ms. Longoria
This directly depicts how fashion is used as a way to express an idea, it highlights the seriousness of the issue. It is not the fashion itself that they want the attention on, but the message behind it and what it stands for.
We’ve come a long way but still have far to go
As you can see, sexism is something engrained in our society, something not only the fashion industry has been battling for centuries. Positive change is a slow process but one which is underway. The red carpet has long been used to show the glitz and glamour of leading ladies and glamorous models.
The recent ‘Time’s Up’ movement has somewhat showed a revolutionary shift in this perception and has altered people’s position within the celebrity world. Encouraging people to declare their standing on certain issues such as sexuality, gender, and poverty and to use their position to promote change. The red carpet is of somewhat a metaphorically unifying place where we see the celebrities standing side by side in union against an oppressive patriarchal culture.