Criticizing women who didn't wear black to the Golden Globes is part of the problem.

Not every woman wore black on the red carpet, and that's totally OK.

With so many stars decked out in black for this year's Golden Globes, it was hard not to notice actress Blanca Blanco's bold splash of red.

The  all-black look, adopted as part of the Time's Up campaign to end workplace harassment, became a sort of de facto red carpet uniform. Many of the night's guests adopted a more conservative look compared to years past, transforming the often obnoxious (and occasionally sexist) "Who are you wearing?" type of questions into an opportunity to discuss important societal issues.

Actresses Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Salma Hayek, and Ashley Judd attend the 2018 Golden Globes. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.


Blanco and a few others, like Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Meher Tatna, donned bold colors — but with a purpose.

Blanco arrived in a daring red dress alongside actor John Savage, people immediately took notice. Variety reporter Cynthia Littleton remarked on Twitter, "I think I would call this look 'not reading the room' this year."

"The problem is that when millions of women [fight] sexism and the sexualization of the woman's body, you are just the image of what those women are fighting," wrote one Twitter user, placing the blame for sexism on women like Blanco. "Wearing a dress like this when women are asking to heard not just seen is so appalling," wrote another.

But these negative reactions sound a lot like the victim blaming and objectification of women in the workplace that the #MeToo movement is trying to address.

Blanco's choice to buck the night's unofficial dress code wasn't intended as some sort of rebuke of the Time's Up movement — in an interview with Fox News, she said that she she is "excited about the #TimesUp movement; true change is long overdue."

Similarly, there was no hidden meaning behind HFPA's Meher Tatna's outfit. PR firm Sunshine Sachs tells us Tatna stands with and supports Time's Up but wore a dress custom-made for her by Anamika Khanna because in her culture, it is customary to wear festive colors during a celebration. And this was the 75th anniversary of the Golden Globes. Tatna did, however, don a Time's Up pin in support.

Blanco, too, stands by the movement. "I love red," she offered Fox. "Wearing red does not mean I am against the movement. I applaud and stand by the courageous actresses that continue to break the cycle of abuse through their actions and fashion style choices. It is one of many factors leading women to a safer place because of their status."

After the awards, Blanco took to Twitter, saying, "Shaming is part of the problem" and "The issue is bigger than my dress color."

Shaming really is part of the problem, feeding into tired tropes about scapegoating women who were "asking for it" based on what they were wearing at any given moment.

HFPA president Meher Tatna, model Barbara Meier, and Blanco opted not to wear black to the 2018 Golden Globe Awards. Photos (L-R) by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Arguing that Blanco and her dress (whether the color or the style) are somehow at fault for sexual assault and harassment is patently ridiculous — a contradiction of the spirit of the #MeToo movement and feminism itself, which is focused on equal rights for women, who should be granted the agency to make their own choices for their own reasons.

The only people to blame for harassment and assault are, by definition, those who harass and assault others, reinforcing the act's cultural acceptability.

Whether you see Blanco's red carpet dress as a fashion hit or miss, it's unfair to take it that extra step further to criticize her for the culture that made movements like Time's Up and #MeToo so sadly necessary.

Savage and Blanco attend the awards. Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images.

Black dress, red dress, or something else altogether, we should work to make blaming women's fashion decisions for sexism a thing of the past.

Clarification 1/9/2018: The headline was updated because not all women pictured in the share image are actresses. Additional update 1/11/2018: Information about Meher Tatna's red outfit has been included.

Most Shared

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture