It's still all about bodies, stupid: Golden Globes 2018

 I completely  support the reason behind so many women wearing black to the Globes. Historically, women have only had visual power – and that’s doubly true in Hollywood. But I think it’s a shame that the only way women can still get massive media attention is through their bodies.

I have attended numerous glamorous events dedicated to famous female empowerment. The photocall to promote these events have been just about as unempowering as it gets – who is wearing what, who is ageing well, who is ageing badly, who has a new hairstyle. Salma Hayek once turned up to such an event with pink hair. Guess what she got asked about going down the red carpet?

I suggested to one organisation that if they really wanted to empower women, the dress code should be black tuxedos – and then I realised that all the questions would be about that, just like at the Golden Globes last night.

Golden Globe winners Big Little Lies: Courtesy HFPA

Golden Globe winners Big Little Lies: Courtesy HFPA

Let’s not mistake this. It was the female form, whether it was being abused, exploited, underpaid or decorated in black, that was being talked about at this year’s Golden Globes. The media loves the scrutiny of women because it is clickbait. This was just a different kind of gift to them. Although it was fun seeing gossip publications who peddle the total destruction of female self-esteem try and paint a veneer of sisterhood over their front page, scroll down and you’d see other headlines – “We can still look our best!” one bleated, doing its customary fashion parade. And it’s a small sort of triumph, to be a famous woman and to be asked by uninspiring reporters, instead of ‘what you are wearing?’, ‘why are you wearing black?’

Margot Robbie :Courtesy HFPA

Margot Robbie :Courtesy HFPA

 

And it’s a small sort of triumph, to be a famous woman and to be asked by uninspiring reporters, instead of ‘what you are wearing?’, ‘why are you wearing black?’

In the meantime, we lose proper scrutiny of other issues facing women in the entertainment industry – their total lack of representation in technical and writing categories (bar Greta Gerwig this year) , while our shallow media just wants to tick the box of a Oscar directing nomination for another woman, as if sexism within the industry is then somehow sorted.

Lady Bird director and writer Greta Gerwig with Saoirse Ronan. Courtesy HFPA

Lady Bird director and writer Greta Gerwig with Saoirse Ronan. Courtesy HFPA

Because the issue is this – it is women only being valued for their looks in Hollywood that has got us into this mess. That they are a piece of ass to be courted, or abused, when young, and discarded when old. It is women’s looks, or lack of them, that have sold magazines and newspapers and online clicks, and perpetuates the underlying feeling that the true value of a woman is in her body – is it coventionally beautiful, is it ageing well, is it tastefully decorated, has it managed to produce children, does it get to sleep next to someone else’s at night? These are the questions that we have asked women in the entertainment industry  under the pretence of asking them about their creative projects.  Couple of cursory questions to Angelina and then wham! – how are the kids?

We  have set up a platform, Electra Media, because unless we start asking famous women different questions that don’t revolve around their bodies, then no matter how brilliant Oprah Winfrey is, no matter what the dress code, I fear only token change.

 

WOMEN IN FILM, ELECTRAEmma Jones