After a wealth of shocking and saddening revelations in the last few months, it is no surprise that there has been more interest surrounding the support of the Me Too and Time’s Up campaigns at this year’s BAFTA’s than of the awards and winners themselves.
The majority of attendees dressed in black for the event, with many also wearing Time’s Up badges and a number addressing the importance of raising awareness and standing in solidarity with women who suffer abuse. Since the beginning of the campaign, which was set up by 300 powerful women in Hollywood after the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations, over 25 million pounds have been raised to support victims of abuse, with the Bafta’s being the latest chance to exemplify this support.
“I stand in full solidarity with my sisters”.
Interestingly, not all attendees used their outfits to support the movement. Best actress winner Frances McDormand wore a colourful red outfit but announced that this was only as a result of her having ‘a little trouble with compliance’, and assured the crowds of her support, saying ‘I stand in full solidarity with my sisters’.
The Duchess of Cambridge has also gained attention for wearing a green dress to the event in favour of black. This is likely because the Royal Family traditionally do not join political protests, although it brings to the fore the question: is Time’s Up a political protest? What it has done so far is raise money and awareness for protecting women from sexual harassment in the workplace, arguably making it more of a human rights campaign than anything political. Supporting Time’s Up has no direct implication of a particular political standpoint and in fact, has more in common with being a charitable cause, something the royal’s frequently support.
“There are still certain rules and regulations they feel subjected to.”
That said, it is wrong to suggest that Kate is not a supporter of the movement. In fact, it seems that by wearing a dark green dress she got as close to participating as possible while still operating within the boundaries of what is acceptable as a royal. The black sash around the waist of the dress may even have been a subtle nod to Time’s Up that would be discreet enough to avoid too much controversy. It seems clear that while we deem the younger royals to be more relatable and approachable and having broken away from the more traditional style of the monarchy, there are still certain rules and regulations they feel subjected to.
Aside from the Duchess of Cambridge, many other attendees did have the chance to speak out about the movement. Joanna Lumley, hosting the event, likened the Time’s Up movement to the Suffragettes, a timely comparison at the centenary of some women winning the vote. She recognised the ‘determination to eradicate the inequality and abuse of women the world over’ in both movements, invoking solidarity among women not only today, but throughout history.
“attendees spoke through their chosen guests”
Other actresses such as Salma Hayek addressed the issue from the stage, and other attendees spoke through their chosen guests. Andrea Riseborough brought UK Black Pride co-founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah whilst Made In Dagenham actress Gemma Arteton brought Gwen Davis and Eileen Pullen, two of the original 1968 Dagenham Ford factory pay campaigners. Arteton explained that it was important to speak out and give a voice to those who hadn’t had one before and to use the outreach and privilege of actors to garner attention for important causes.
As important as the awards themselves are, it seems right that this year the focus was firmly on the support of a movement which has affected and touched so many people and has only so recently come to attention. It is hopeful and inspiring to see powerful people come together and use their voices to speak up for those who have been silenced for too long.
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