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Blanca Blanco's Red Globes Dress Was Problematic; So Was Slut-Shaming Her

Ironically, the reactions have revealed the bigger problem that plagues women

Blanca Blanco's Red Globes Dress Was Problematic; So Was Slut-Shaming Her

Blanca Blanco's red dress received a lot of flak on the Internet

Amid the ocean of black that was the self-imposed dress code at the Golden Globes 2018, a few brightly-clad women stood out - like sore thumbs, social media said. Meher Tatna, the Indian-origin president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that gives out the Globes, Zenobia Shroff of The Big Sick fame, and Blanca Blanco, a little-known actress, showed up in startling red, while German model and actress Barbara Meier showed up in a sheer floral number. The backlash on Twitter was instant and brutal.

Given that the informal dress code was adopted by the women - and many men - of Hollywood to stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual assault and abuse, a hot-button topic in the industry in the post-Weinstein era, these women's decision to not conform irked and irritated many. Naturally, one might say - but by not wearing black, were these women really saying that weren't onboard with the newly launched Time's Up campaign?

meher tatna

While Tatna explained her reasons for wearing red (cultural), Blanco, Meier, and Shroff did not immediately comment. They were, however, commented upon incessantly on the Internet, and subjected to some curt writing in the news media for their sartorial choices.

Blanca Blanco's outfit, in particular, was quite mercilessly criticised for its daring slits and cut-outs. Some people stopped just shy of slut-shaming, while many others went right ahead.

Both Blanca Blanco and Barbara Meier have put forth their side of the story on social media.

In a series of short tweets, Blanco spoke about how the issue is bigger than the colour of her dress and that shaming was part of the problem.

Meier used Instagram to say that expressing her personality through fashion was who she was and standing up for her rights also meant having the freedom to wear what she wanted. According to Meier, restricting this freedom by enforcing a dress code, or shaming someone for not following it was a big step back in her opinion.

 

 

Viele Frauen werden heute im Zuge der Time‘s Up Bewegung auf dem Roten Teppich schwarz tragen. Ich finde diese Initiative im Allgemeinen super und extrem wichtig. Trotzdem habe ich mich entscheiden, heute ein buntes Kleid zu tragen. Wenn wir wollen, dass heute die Golden Globes der starken Frauen sind, die für ihre Rechte kämpfen, ist es in meinen Augen der falsche Weg, sich nicht mehr körperbetont anzuziehen und uns die Freude am Ausdruck unserer Persönlichkeit durch Mode zu nehmen. Wir haben uns diese Freiheit lange erkämpft, dass wir tragen können, was wir möchten und es auch in Ordnung ist, sich sexy zu kleiden. Wenn wir das einschränken, weil sich einige Männer nicht unter Kontrolle haben, ist das in meinen Augen ein Rückschritt. Wir sollten nicht schwarz tragen müssen, um ernstgenommen zu werden. Wir Frauen sollten strahlen, farbenfroh sein und funkeln. So wie es in unserer Natur liegt! Das symbolisiert in meinen Augen unsere Freiheit und neue Stärke. Um das aber dennoch nochmal klar zu sagen: Viele schreckliche Dinge sind passiert und dürfen sich nie wieder wiederholen! Und wir sollten das immer wieder und direkt ansprechen und aufklären! Ich freue mich auf starke und inspirierende Reden heute Abend! (c) @gettyentertainment --- A lot of women will wear black tonight to support the time‘s up movement! I think this is a great and extremely important initiative! Nevertheless I decided to wear a colorful dress tonight. If we want this to be the Golden globes of the strong women who stand up for their rights, I think, it’s the wrong way not to wear any sexy clothes anymore or let people take away our joy of showing our personality through fashion. We were fighting a long time for the freedom to wear what we want to and that it is also ok, to dress up a little more sexy. If we now restrict this, because some men can’t control themselves, this is a huge step back in my opinion. We should not have to wear black to be taken serious. US women should shine, be colorful and sparkle. Just like it is our nature. In my opinion this symbolizes our freedom and our new strength. But to make clear: A lot of bad things happened and should never happen again!!!

A post shared by Barbara Meier (@barbarameier) on

While both opinions and stances are legitimate, even for those who were sceptical about the whole idea of wearing black to make a point, the women who chose not to conform were a bit of a disappointment. Not because women united in a dress code is every closet sexist's wet dream, but because it is disappointing that even on an occasion when Hollywood showed an almost unprecedented level of unity, there had to be those few outliers who just couldn't resist drawing attention away from the topic being discussed and onto themselves.

There is, after all, a time to express one's individuality, and a time to hold hands. Strangely, at the Golden Globes 2018, these two important agendas seem to have clashed.

And even as the world tries to balance and navigate the rules of these confusing, complicated times, one thing is clear. There is never a time for slut-shaming a woman (or anyone). While it's okay to be sorely disappointed and comment on what looked a lot like the betrayal of a cause and all the women who have suffered sexual abuse, it is never, ever okay to comment on a woman's character.

barbara meier

It is ironical that while a lot of ink was spilled and heartburn was experienced by ideological watchdogs over Blanca Blanco and Barbara Meier's sexy clothes, Meher Tatna's (who is literally at the top of HFPA) choice was quietly swept under the rug. Most stories on the topic did not even mention Shroff's departure from the unofficial dress code.

Why? Possibly because their choices were afforded the protection from criticism that modesty often elicits.

Blanco, specifically, and Meier chose to show skin at a time when they were told not to. Perhaps it wasn't the right time or place, but ironically, their colourful clothes actually managed to cut to the heart of a factor that enables sexual exploitation of women - the society's harsh judgement of women wearing 'sexy' clothes, and its attempts to police what we wear.

Wearing black in solidarity is well and good, perhaps even necessary. But far more important is fixing our outdated thoughts and perceptions about women's bodies and what is on them. Until that happens, not conforming to a dress code to make a point should be the least of our worries. Time's Up on slut-shaming, maybe?

 

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