Written by Sophie Hodgson
International Women’s Day in 2018 feels, for a myriad of reasons, different. #MeToo and #TimesUp are movements that have forced a change of narrative. Shining a light on behaviour that is abusive and incomprehensible, they’ve created a climate for women to come forward – from sports through to politics – and say ‘this happened to me and it is not OK.’
This should be applauded. Yet it also feels disconnected from day-to-day life; after all not everyone has a designer pal they can call on for a fabulous black frock for a red carpet show of solidarity. #TimesUp is seeking to be more ‘grass roots’ by providing a fund for women from all walks of life – not just the rich and famous – to get justice for inappropriate behaviour.
But #TimesUp is also walking a fine line between ‘doing good’ and hypocrisy. An A-list star advocates #TimesUp, yet donates just $500; women sidelined for years, welcomed back to Hollywood with open arms and adorned with glossy magazine shoots; an A-list celeb has yet to wear a Marchessa outfit since the scandal broke, yet surely no-one can argue that Georgina Chapman (Weinstein’s former wife) will have had her heart ripped out and stamped on.
What’s my point? Well, it’s that these movements are in danger of creating an atmosphere where if you don’t 100% agree and stick to the messaging sheet, you’re demonized. Clearly wrong behaviour cannot and should not, be tolerated and it’s great that women have found a voice in Hollywood. But what would be even better is if those efforts and their profile were more directly applied to making this an inclusive movement, because who really knows where #TimesUp will be in two, five or ten years? Will it be a footnote in history or will be a watershed moment?
Yes, our hopes for equality should not be pinned solely on acting’s finest. Closer to home, the UK Government initiatives are trying to create a more transparent dialogue, but corporate appetite for this is tepid at best. 100 years after some women won the right to vote, the one thing this hard-fought-for victory tells us is that change has to be sustainable. It cannot peak around a fad for white roses, lapel badges and frocks. We need to create a progressive platform that creates a voice for all women. Clearly that’s no easy task, but its hard to see what these current movements are doing to create such foundations.
So, my wish for #IWD2018 is that it be about inclusion, empowerment and a dialogue geared towards ongoing and sustainable change.