Black dresses/Golden Globes

I watched the red carpet and the Golden Globe Awards ceremony last night. I admit that many of the nominated films aren’t available in area theaters and many of the television shows are on platforms or channels I can’t access, but I am interested in award shows for cultural reasons.

This year was especially interesting for its part in the ongoing efforts to finally make lasting change in the areas of gender equality and sexual harassment/abuse. As was widely reported prior to the the ceremony, women were wearing black to call attention to these issues. In the days leading up to the ceremony, some commentators wondered aloud if that was too frivolous a protest.

It was not.

The questions from reporters on the red carpet, usually centered on which designer made your outfit, presented opportunities for women nominees and presenters to highlight the issues, demands for systemic change, and efforts underway to address the problems, including a legal fund just started to assist victims of sexual harassment/abuse across all walks of life and types of workplace.

Many of the men joined in the efforts as well, wearing “Time’s Up” buttons in support of the effort and adding their own comments to the discussion. Some of them also wore all black, replacing the usual white shirt with a black one under their tuxedo jacket.

The emphasis continued during the award ceremony itself. Some presenters pointed out gender inequity in the industry. Many of the winners spoke passionately about telling the stories of people who have been underrepresented and unheralded and emphasized that things were going to change in our society to make it fairer and more just – and that the energy for change would not flag as it sometimes has in past efforts.

The highlight of the evening was Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. deMille Award, which was hopeful and inspirational. The text of the speech is here.

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.

May that day dawn soon.
*****
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out more here:
https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/08/jusjojan-daily-prompt-january-8th-2018/

 

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Another voice

In response to this powerful article by Sister Christine Schenk, I wanted to share one small story of an incident that happened when I was working at an office as a summer job.

I was doing some filing when a man came up behind me and tickled me on my ribcage. I turned around quickly and an older man from another department was standing there right behind me. He said in surprise, “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were Maggie,” and walked away.

I was shocked. As a young feminist from Smith College, I knew that this was totally unacceptable office behavior.

I told Maggie (not her real name) and some of the other women in the office what had happened. Maggie acknowledged that this man often did this kind of thing; she supposed it was because he was trying to cover up the fact that he was gay. Best to keep quiet about it so as not to get him in trouble.

It was discouraging to me that anyone would behave that way and get away with it repeatedly, but the other women just accepted it as the way things are.

It is even more discouraging that decades later, people still make excuses for abusive behaviors of all kinds.

No, it is not okay to touch another person against that person’s wishes.  It is not okay to belittle or bully or threaten another person.

Every person is due respect at all times.

No matter how rich, famous, powerful, or talented a person in, they never have permission to treat another human being in a disrespectful way.

Period.

How to Be a Woman in a Man’s Idea

A powerful poem from Heather Dorn, current director of the Binghamton Poetry Project and the creator of Sappho’s Circle, a women’s poetry group. She has been invaluable to me as an emerging poet. Congratulations, Heather!

Slink Chunk Press

by Heather Dorn

I fall down the stairs like a rag doll

again and again when I’m four.

The hat rack breaks my body’s tumble

and I thump to a stop. Nobody ever

moves that hat rack, maybe worried

I’d crack headfirst into the wall instead.

Better to be impaled. There is something

slippery about being four and next to the steps

in my house. There is something

that still pushes me over the edge

of that first step now. I have seen how

this is inherited. I watched my brother

bang his three year old head into

concrete over and over again. He is too

sturdy to fall down the stairs and has to

break himself another way instead. I see

my mother’s face, like blue ink spilled

on her eyes. She did not fall, whatever

she says. I watch my father’s fist raise

above her, gripped, as if…

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