The actress wore a red gown in a sea of black but was she in the wrong?
The sheer volume of allegations made against various male Hollywood actors, directors and agents have rocked Hollywood over the last year with allegations dating right back to the 90's. A seedy underbelly was exposed depicting many revered big players in Hollywood such as Harvey Weinstein as nothing more than sexual predators who used their power and position to take advantage of young actors.
What made it even more shocking is it appears that, whilst these allegations may be new to the general public, many incidents seems to have been an 'open secret' in the industry with many admitting that they had heard rumours or witnessed things but chose to keep quiet for fear of blackballing their own careers. In the instance of actors like Corey Haim, Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette who chose to speak up and found their respective careers affected in one way or another.
The Time's Up is a movement against sexual harassment founded in 2018 in response to the 'Weinstein Effect' and Tarana Burke's #MeToo campaign.
The 2018 Golden Globes served as a powerful platform for the Time's Up movement, formed just a few weeks ago and already endorsed by hundreds of the entertainment industry's biggest names in response to the overwhelming number of women and men over the last year to share their experiences about being sexually harassed, assaulted or otherwise mistreated.
Although black was not the official colour of the Golden Globes, the Time's Up initiative used the historic awards show as a vehicle to promote their noble cause. Attendees were therefore encouraged to wear black in order to show solidarity with victims and accusers.
Stars such as Angelina Jolie, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Issa Rae and Meryl Streep showed up resplendent in their black gowns. Many of them were accompanied by activists; women who had made powerful impacts on their respective causes. It was a poignant display of sisterhood and an undeniable display of female defiance.
Blanca Blanco's outfit may not have raised an eyelid on any other occasion but against a sea of black, her red Atria Couture gown was like a drop of blood in the water and not long after, the sharks were circling.
Blanca found herself at the centre of a media storm with many misguided commentators accusing her of not supporting the Time's Up movement and using the moment to shamelessly self-promote herself.
The actress took to Twitter soon after to defend her choice to wear red.
She spoke at length to Refinery29.com about why she did what she did.”I love red. Wearing red does not means I am against #timesup movement. I applaud and stand by the courageous actresses that continue to break the circle of abuse through their actions and their style choice. It is one of many factors leading women to a safer place because of their status in the acting world.
I am excited about the Time's Up movement because true change is long overdue. We have people who appreciate you and others that don’t,” she added. ”The designer Atria Couture did an amazing job with my dress and I appreciate them for dressing me.
Shaming is part of the problem.”
Without realising, the reaction to Blanca is very much a part of the problem people wore black to try and shed light on. For centuries, women have been governed and policed by what they choose to wear and the very onus on the movement is to highlight female agency and the right to choose.
In criticising Blanca, what have we done? Exactly what we said we didn't want to do.
On the night of the Golden Globes, Blanca chose to wear red and in true fashion, she was heavily criticised for it. It's flippant to assume that wearing black automatically makes one an ally.
As one Twitter user said, if Harvey Weinstein had not been exposed in the way he was, it is very possible that he too would have been sitting at one of those tables, in all black, also pretending to be an ally.
Kirk Douglas, who was accused of raping actress Natalie Wood by Robert Downey Jr. , was honoured at the show and given a standing ovation, all whilst wearing the significant colour, black.
Twitter called out the blatant hypocrisy of the Golden Globes celebrating somebody accused of sexual assault. Most people chose to overlook this and instead chose to shame Blanca Blanco for simply 'not wearing the right colour'.
If anything, this show that we have a very long way to go in order to fully understand and respect the intricacies of movements such as #TimesUp and #MeToo. Women are simply given the illusion of autonomy but the very way our society is set up, the way in which we instinctively think is still skewed against women.
Whenever a woman goes against the grain, our instinct is to chastise and criticise.
It may well be Blanca Blanco wore the red dress to stand out and it may well have been a publicity stunt in bad taste but the fact is, for the global media to devote their time to picking apart her choice of dress, irrespective of what everybody else was wearing, there is still a huge problem and reinforces the need for such movements.
It may take decades to unlearn this behaviour, but every long journey begins with those crucial first few steps.
Time is well and truly up.