The Vice-President’s Gown

Words will be murdered to pretend that virtue signalling in Valentino would make up for the fact that Hollywood elites were putting on a show. Load up on adjectives and, for the intellectually weak but unduly passionate, it will make them feel brave and fierce even though they did nothing but go to a gala awards show.

Tonight, you will see just such an experiment as myself and hundreds of women from the Time’s Up movement will reject colorful gowns for black ones on the Golden Globes’ red carpet and at related events across the country. Wearing black is not all we will be doing. We will be doing away with the old spoken codes in favor of communicating boldly and directly: What we are wearing is not a statement of fashion. It is a statement of action. It is a direct message of resistance. Black because we are powerful when we stand together with all women across industry lines. Black because we’re starting over, resetting the standard. Black because we’re done being silenced and we’re done with the silencers. Tonight is not a mourning. Tonight is an awakening.

Plunging necklines and gaudy jewelry, because even women in black need to look chic. Or as a lesser light of feminism explained, “Reminds me of the initial mockery of the pink pussy hats that ended up being so iconic.” Me too! It was empty symbolism that insipid people embraced because it was so much easier than hard work.

Oprah Winfrey, who has her own TV network to express her oppression, summed it up.

So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again. Thank you.”

The calls for Oprah 2020 immediately began, as our experience with celebrity presidents who know nothing of law, governance and the Constitution has worked out so well. Then again, she may be exactly what the Democratic Party is looking for.*

The call for black dresses was ridiculed by some for empty symbolism, its oppressive demand for conformity and its rank hypocrisy. People gushing about virtue who knew of, were silent “victims” of (while enjoying the consideration they received in exchange), enabled and empowered rape and sexual assault were cleansed of their sins by wearing black.

Harvey Weinstein may have been the king last year, even though everyone knew and acquiesced in his today-horrific conduct, but was ousted this year, the butt of boos and jokes. Nobody wants to talk about Roman Polanski. At least now, there isn’t anyone left in Hollywood who isn’t pure as the driven show and completely dedicated to respecting women. That has to be true, or the whole deal is a total sham.

Except this woman.

So what if Variety’s Cynthia Littleton outfit-policed her.** The narrative that women can do as they please doesn’t apply. This was a protest, and failure to adhere to the Hollywood Women’s Code is shameful.

For most actresses on red carpets, what you’re wearing is less an expression of who you are and more an expression of what you’re worth. The very act of getting ready for an award show can be a masochist’s checklist of one’s value: Airbrush your arms so that they look more toned. Check. Get a peel or injection to make sure your face looks flawless. Check. Lose bloat by eating only before 6 p.m. and stop drinking all liquid 24 hours before the big day to send your metabolism into shock. Check. Prepping for award shows can be a weeklong marathon in dread, resulting in a one-time portrayal of improbable beauty.

That sounds awful. Who put a gun to your head and forced you to do this to yourself?

You’re also often assigned a look that doesn’t reflect who you truly are but reflects what a runway wants you to be. Platform high heels and frilly dresses and a clutch purse made from the skin of dead baby lizards. I’ve spent the better part of my two decades as an actress accumulating more designer high heels than most could ever dream of, only to hit my 30s and realize I hated wearing most of them and always had.

The worst part of this is that I can’t recall the shoes worn by any actress ever. Nor the clutch purse of dead baby lizards. Who would even care about such things? Who “assigned” you a look? Why would you comply? Where was all that fierceness and bravery you attributed to yourself and your fellow females in black?

If Oprah runs in 2020, she should consider the woman who wore red as her running mate. She may know no more about policy and governance than Oprah or Trump, but she at least did something no other woman in Hollywood had the guts to do. She refused to go along with the crowd and play the role assigned to her.

P.S. As my editor, Beth Bell, reminds me, black dresses are an excellent choice to hide the coffee stains. Whether they’re slimming, I defer to the fashion police.

*Some might assume the party’s slogan to be “identity over positions,” but it would appear the new slogan will be “vote vaginas” without regard to the transphobic undertones.

**No doubt you all know who she is. I don’t. It’s not important.

24 comments on “The Vice-President’s Gown

  1. Richard Kopf

    SHG,

    I missed it. May I assume that all the men wore Hawaiian shirts?

    Inquiring minds and all.

    All the best.

    RGK

    Reply
  2. Skink

    The men wore black–penises having been lost in a crap game.

    I’d vote for the woman in red, but for different reasons. I remain eternally bad.

    Reply
  3. Skink

    I’m not a suggestor. Did you have to select the Plan 9 From Outer Space of music? That thing is unlikely to leave my head this week.

    Reply
  4. delurking

    “You’re also often assigned a look that doesn’t reflect who you truly are but reflects what a runway wants you to be.”

    Well, yes. If you want people to pay to look at you, you have to look like what they are willing to pay to look at. If you don’t want the job, there are others.

    Reply
  5. Michael McNutt

    More than ever I miss Joan Rivers commenting upon the red carpet and beyond….sure she would have loved the red dress……

    Reply
  6. Matthew S Wideman

    I would feel bad for every one of the women if they weren’t either getting paid to be there, were invited to be there, receiving an award, or furthering their personal brand by being there.

    Frankly, suits for office days only are ridiculous. I love practicing law in basketball ball shorts and a Patagonia fleeces. But, Archaic rules set down by Moses at the first law firm on Mt. Sanai require formal dress. We are all slaves to appearances.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      Suits don’t make me feel oppressed. They make it really easy to decide what to wear in the morning, the only choice being blue or gray.

      Reply
  7. B. McLeod

    It was protest? Whew! I missed whatever segment in which they were explaining it, and thought all those people in black had to do with space aliens, and were going to blank my memory.

    Reply

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