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Will a black suit really make a statement against sexual harassment?

Men in Hollywood just can’t seem to get it quite right

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By Hannah Banks-Walker on

Poor men. The world just can’t cut them a break at the moment, it seems. They’ve been criticised right, left and centre for everything, from sexual harassment to standing up for their fellow men who aren’t sexually harassing people. It seems – to most of us, anyway – simple enough: abuse, in any form, is wrong, so let’s denounce the criminals, face the consequences of this society-wide, systemic problem and set about trying to repair the damage. Obviously, it’s a little more complicated than that, but probably not as complicated as the likes of Matt Damon are making it, suggesting that we focus on men who aren’t being sexually inappropriate in any way. Guys, give them a gold star! They’re not abusing anyone!

Well, to do their bit, men are reportedly going to join many of Hollywood’s women and wear black to the Golden Globes as a form of protest against sexual misconduct. Ilaria Urbinati, a stylist who works with Tom Hiddleston, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Donald Glover and Armie Hammer, among others, posted the following on Instagram: “Because everyone keeps asking me... YES, the men WILL be standing in solidarity with women on this wearing-all-black movement to protest against gender inequality at this year’s Golden Globes. At least ALL MY GUYS will be. Safe to say this may not be the right time to choose to be the odd man out here... just sayin…”

It may feel more poignant if more of Hollywood’s men were also taking active steps to denounce the monsters that have loomed large, and still do, over the industry

Johnson was quick to comment on the post with “yes we will”, confirming his participation. But many soon started criticising the idea, pointing out that most men wear black tuxedos to the awards, anyway. As Mic.com pointed out: “Think how much bolder of a statement this protest would be if the color everyone was uniting themselves with wasn’t black but pink or purple or red or yellow — a bold colour that would send an unmistakable signal, especially on men, who hardly ever embrace color on the red carpet.” While it’s a gesture with good intentions, it does also seem somewhat empty.

Or, at least, it may feel more poignant if more of Hollywood’s men were also taking active steps to denounce the monsters that have loomed large, and still do, over the industry and – more importantly – the women within it. Because, as we all know, this is not a problem exclusive to Hollywood. But as one of the most visible industries in the world, it does carry more influence that most. A black suit is not the drastic change we so need right now.

@hlbw 

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Photo: Getty Images 
Tagged in:
Hannah Banks-Walker
Hollywood
Sexual abuse
Sexual assault
sexual harassment
women at work

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