This Golden Globes red carpet was not a fashion show, but a show of power. The cynics dismissed a black dress code as a lazy form of protest against harassment and gender inequality, but when it happened, many of those watching felt the impact. With an almost airtight blackout and a sea of Time’s Up pins, the images from this year’s ceremony spoke of women in terms of power and solidarity rather than glamour or competition.
This was a dazzling kind of blackout. There was Angelina Jolie in feather-trimmed black tulle, arm-in-arm with her teenage son Pax sporting his Time’s Up pin. Reese Witherspoon and Emma Stone stood (bare) shoulder to shoulder with Billie Jean King, founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, whom Stone portrays in Battle of the Sexes. Claire Foy and Mat Smith, stars of The Crown, wore matching tuxedos; Laura Dern, in black Armani, stood with Monica Ramirez, a campaigner who fights sexual violence against farmworkers.
This was not so much a silent protest as a multimedia one. Natalie Portman inserted two pointed words – “all-male” – into the list of best director nominees she read out on stage; she also, like many other female attendees, chose to be photographed on the red carpet arm in arm with other women, rather than squired by her husband. Those images of groups of women – Portman with Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer and America Ferrara; Eva Longoria clutching Reese Witherspoon with one hand and reaching for Salma Hayek with the other – have a simple visual power which will reach a different demographic than those who stayed up to toast the night’s speeches.
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