The #TimesUp and #MeToo movements have gained momentum at recent awards ceremonies such as the Golden Globes, Grammys and the Brits. But are the celebrities taking part really making a difference or merely a gesture?
The Brit awards organising body, the British Phonographic Industry, invited artists and guests attending to wear a white rose pin as a “symbol of solidarity” however, interestingly, a reason why was not stated in the memo.
The roses were met with a mixed response as some chose to use their platform to publically rebel by refusing to wear a rose but instead choosing to voice their agreement with the movement, and not just the gesture.
“I personally will not be wearing a flower, not because I don’t have sympathy with the cause – I myself have experienced sexual harassment – but I feel however well-intentioned this action is, we should all be focused on creating meaningful change,” says Vick Bain, chief executive of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
78% of women have experienced sexism in their career according to Women Make Music. This statistic surprises no-one. The display at the Brits surprised no-one. What is uprising is still not going beyond gestures at big award ceremonies.
The music industry has come under the spotlight following Hollywood’s growing list of sexual harassment allegations. Is the music industry about to experience a reckoning on the same level as the Weinstein scandal?
For decades the industry has been described with one old adage of: “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”. But, is this very description actually more fitting for the dark-side of the music industry.
No longer are women afraid of repercussions, instead artists across the industries and being empowered by other women such as Rose McGowan. Though this a step in the right direction it is not enough.
Dua Lipa is becoming an increasingly vocal voice within the movement, upon accepting her award for best British female solo artist, she thanked:
“Every single female that’s been on this stage before me that has given girls like me – not just in the music industry but in society – something to look up to, and has allowed us to dream this big. Here’s to more women on these stages, more women winning awards, and more women taking over the world.”
This was not the only politically driven message shared during the night. Stormzy, 24-year-old south London rapper, used his performance as a platform to attack Theresa May shouting into the audience: “Theresa May, where’s the money for Grenfell?”.
Stormzy brought religion, politics, and road to the #BRITs Backed it for Grenfell, gave a shout out to Daniel Kaluuya & Jourdan Dunn, sang in the rain, and didn’t get muted once. He’s a legit national treasure
— Elizabeth Pears (@BizPears) 21 February 2018
Though the nights focus remained on the #MeToo campaign. The arena floor was once again filled with the words of one female after another empowering others.
When Dermot O’Leary asked what was missing from this year’s ceremony, Emma Willis, presenting an award with him, replied “Female co-host?”
2018 is the year of powerful women but will it be the year of change too? Or are we all empty gestures and big speeches?