2018 Golden Globes: Black gowns on the red carpet a message to women

MESSAGE: Me Too movement founder Tarana Burke and actor Michelle Williams walk the red carpet in black. Picture: JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP
MESSAGE: Me Too movement founder Tarana Burke and actor Michelle Williams walk the red carpet in black. Picture: JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP

While Hollywood red carpets are usually home to gowns in a rainbow of hues, actors stuck to a more sombre palette of black at the Golden Globes.

The decision, in support of movements that have sprung up in the wake of sexual harassment and assault allegations against high-profile figures, garnered the support of at least one local voice for women’s rights.

Centre for Non-Violence chief executive officer Margaret Augerinos described the move as a powerful, validating statement.

“It’s a message ‘We have something to say here’, and I think the symbolism of the red carpet is that the focus is often on their outfits and not them as a person… representing a body of work,” Ms Augerinos said.

While the awards ceremony happened half a world away, Ms Augerinos said movements such as #MeToo – in which women shared their experiences of assault and harassment on social media – encouraged others to speak out.

She explained that attitudes towards those who did speak out often discouraged others from making their experiences heard, with many often met with disbelief and even blame.

This means sometimes women do not find the courage to speak out until long after they first experienced the harassment or assault.

“I think many women probably do try and communicate what is happening, and aren’t believed or are blamed,” Ms Augerinos said.

“For women who have experienced that sort of response, it acts as a disincentive.”

She said the community needed to challenge views that were sexist and misogynistic, as these fostered a culture in which assault and harassment occurred.

“We have a responsibility to speak out, to not stand by and allow this behaviour to occur,” she said.

Those who experience a crime are urged to contact the police.

Ms Augerinos also recommends people contact a specialist service, such as the CNV, women’s refuge Annie North, or the Loddon Campaspe Centre Against Sexual Assault.

The CNV can be contacted on 1800 884 292 or 5430 3000.