I hadn’t planned to watch the Golden Globes. I had heard about the initiative to wear black to show solidarity and I thought it was great to see a movement, but I was dubious about the stage of an awards show being the platform. A part of it may also be that as I age it’s less magical to watch the pomp and circumstance. The young women, the older women, the hot young actors, the grizzled-and-still-deemed-hot-older-actors—it can be hard to make peace with the freedom to have work done or not have work done, to choose to be sexy or to not. I might feel sheepish watching in sweats while eating pizza.
My point is activism and life both come with flaws, some cosmetic, others fundamental. Initially, I thought not watching would be a stronger statement, but then Briar and Avery said, “Are we watching the Golden Globes?” and I didn’t have a solid answer on why we wouldn’t.
I continued making dinner for all of us and Ave found the correct channel. The first few minutes were filled with awkward small talk between the hosts and both girls played on their phones. When a few of the kids from Stranger Things showed up they chattered about how great they are and wondered where Millie Bobby Brown was. Their phones fell to their laps.
“Hey mom, how come the women are all wearing black? Like every single one?” Briar asked.
I explained that it was a collective statement about sexual harassment in the workplace, a kind of violence that has been going on for decades. The black attire was to say that it’s over and the hashtags #TimesUp and #MeToo were to reinforce that same message.
“Oh, I get it. It’s like a funeral for 2017,” Briar said.
I rolled that around in my head for a bit, smiling. “That’s right. You are right.”
We kept watching the show. I nodded and pumped my fist when Debra Messing and Eva Longoria each took E! to task for the gender pay inequality. They asked me about the women accompanying the famous women.
As we are currently obsessed with The Greatest Showman Avery asked, “Is Michelle Williams married to Tarana Burke?” The question was very matter of fact. I smiled, in our house homosexuality isn’t at all interesting. “No, honey, that is the woman who founded the #MeToo movement. Michelle and other actresses invited activists to attend the show to give them a different and very high profile platform to speak.” She nodded. “Oh, cool.”
They listened to Laura Dern’s +1, Monica Ramirez, talk about the connection between women in all fields facing sexual violence in the workplace. I was reminded of all of us watching the Obama Inauguration together, discussing the gender dynamics as Hillary Clinton ran for office.
It was in many ways just an award show as they grow up in a time that is breaking down many of the “way it’s always been” norms that I grew up with, and my mom before me. It also wasn’t just an awards show. I’m glad that we watched. I am looking forward to showing them the parts they missed. Hearing Natalie Portman address the all male field in the Best Director Category, the speech Oprah Winfrey gave as she accepted her award.
I would have been wrong to not let them watch. I need to remember to let them steer too.