Activism in Hollywood has become lazy

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Activism in Hollywood has become lazy

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January 7, 2018 marked the 73 annual Golden Globes ceremony. The hot topic in relation to the Golden Globes this year was the Time’s Up movement.

For those of you who don’t know, the Time’s Up movement was officially announced on January 1, 2018 in Time Magazine. Time’s Up an movement made in cooperation with the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (The National Alliance of Farmworkers) in an effort to help people of all diversities who have lower access to big platforms to speak up about sexual harassment. Attached to the movement’s website is an open letter, originally signed by big names in Hollywood like Mila Kunis, Uzo Aduba, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, and more. The letter states, “We want all survivors of harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed, and to know that accountability is possible.” A paragraph dedicated to women in all lines of work, from janitors to workers in agriculture, letting them know that they are seen and understood.

As you scroll down, you can find the reason behind the word choice of “Time’s Up.”. “No more silence. No more waiting. No more tolerance for discrimination, harassment or abuse. Time’s Up,” according to the site.  

It was decided that this year, everyone attending would be wearing black since this is a topic so close to home with Hollywood actors and actresses at the moment. Instead of their flashy colors and couture designs, they opted to tone it down, to unify against a pressing issue and take the attention off of them. Pins were also worn with the name of the movement on them. Celebrities glided across the red carpet, everyone dressed in black, adorning their picture perfect smiles.

Well, almost everyone.

Actress Blanca Blanco was spotted wearing a bright red dress.

Self-claimed critics stormed in, calling her disrespectful and saying it just was not the right time or place to stand out from the crowd. Her name was splashed across news sites reporting on her outfit choice. If you haven’t heard her name before, you’re not alone. Her list of movies and TV haven’t really extended that far in terms of popularity, so you probably have no idea who she is. Because of this, people began accusing her of doing this for publicity, resulting in even more backlash.

In response to all the criticism, she released a simple tweet. “The issue is bigger than my dress color,” she wrote.

I have no idea whether or not this woman was actually trying to stand up for something, or just trying to boost her name to a higher platform but frankly, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of her intentions, what she said in her tweet does bring up an interesting point:

Talk is cheap; if you’re going to stand up for something, actually stand up for it.

I came across a New York Times article titled “Time’s Up Pins Are the Political Accessory at the Golden Globes,” and the word choice caught my interest. When you look at what the Golden Globes did with the Time’s Up pin, it felt like more of a publicity stunt for the actors and the ceremony itself, rather than something to personally help the victims of sexual abuse. Most people who wore the pin didn’t really speak on it, and have never shown any prior interest in the helping victims of sexual abuse. What started as a beautiful movement to aid real change and help people in serious need, turned into a fashion statement.

As usual, Twitter is where the brunt of judgment took place on the matter. People have started to criticize actress Selena Gomez for working with director Woody Allen, a known sexual abuser, meanwhile, also having been a huge benefactor to Time’s Up; the thought is, she’s playing both sides.

Unfortunately, a lot of actors will do this in fear of their career. After all, It’s hard to turn down a great job for your morals. They’ll support it outwardly, but still star in films with these people because if they reject the offer of a job, they could lose more in the future.

Some, however, are just plain lying about supporting the cause. Comedian Aziz Ansari and actor James Franco were seen wearing the Time’s Up pin at the Golden Globes, and have now been outed as sexual abusers. The people supporting this cause were the ones creating it, and the issue lies in believing that just because someone says, they do.

So to get back to my point here: if you’re going to support something, support it. If you want to claim yourself an activist, you have to participate in change for it to stick around. Wearing a color will not change the world, but if that’s all you can do, wear that color. Try to learn more, go to marches, donate money to causes that matter to you, seek the truth in all cases.

These things are not glamorous, nor is anyone trying to make them. But when big Hollywood stars use feigned activism as a front for remaining neutral with the public, that’s when any real progress starts to recede, when the problem itself is pretending it doesn’t exist.

We need to do better.