Tag: Sexual Assult

What Classifies as an Award Show Fashion Statement?

Unsurprisingly, award shows have always been riddled with celebrity fashion statements. Nights such as The Grammys where all the stars (and cameras) gather are without a doubt a great time to speak up. However, it is also true that TV & Film award shows tend to have more subtle protests, while music award shows are more theatrical.

The point is that they all seem to get political in one way or another.  Some of the most notable recent award show fashion statements include Pharell dressing his backup dancers in hoodies to honor Trayvon Martin at the 2015 Grammys, various stars wearing blue ribbons to the 2017 Oscars to signify support of the ACLU and, of course, Joy Villa in her controversial “Make America Great Again” gown at last year’s Grammys.

This year, many celebrities elected to wear black to the Golden Globes to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault. The lack of color on the red carpet was definitely noticeable, but the problem is that it wasn’t really that groundbreaking. Many critiqued the protest by noting that black gowns at an award show are hardly a statement.

On the other hand, many artists at this year’s Grammys adorned white roses to support the cause. This protest, while still simple, seemed to say a little more. The white roses were obviously meant to symbolize something and weren’t easily confused with a regular Grammy accessory.

This difference is huge because a protest is hardly a protest if it doesn’t require much diverting from the status quo. Fashion statements, just like any other protest can’t afford to be subtle if they truly aim to make a difference. While TV & film award shows such as the Golden Globes don’t offer as many opportunities for performance art protests as music award shows do, they do offer just as much public attention, and therefore should be just as bold when it comes to their political fashion statements.

Be the zeitgeist.

 

 

Terry Richardson Is Just One Piece of a Bigger Problem

On Monday, October 23, Condé Nast International’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, James Woolhouse, sent an email to the company’s many leaders informing them that Condé Nast would no longer be working with the photographer, Terry Richardson. Woolhouse ordered that there be no new content created with Richardson and that already existing content created with Richardson that had not yet been published remain unused.

This was the company’s response to the fashion industry’s very own Harvey Weinstein situation. Richardson, who has been accused of sexual assault against various models in the industry claims that because his work is known to be “sexually explicit,” his professional encounters with women are sexually explicit by nature, but always “consensual.”

Whether Richardson is delusional enough to actually believe that or he’s just trying to spin the story (I’d bet on the latter), it’s easy to see how innate misogyny may have blurred the lines and led to an explicit photoshoot becoming a scene for sexual assault. Living in a white male dominated society gives a white male, such as Richardson, a sense of entitlement and either a bad gauge or little regard for other’s reactions to his actions.

And while the story of Terry Richardson and his victims is a sad one, it opens the door to another interesting and sad topic: misogyny in the fashion industry. Fashion is one of the few female-dominated industries, after all. The majority of the power players are women, women are the main focus and “men’s” or “male” anything tends to be a subcategory or a smaller piece of the picture.

So how is it that misogyny is so ingrained into our society that it found its place in an industry dominated by women? How is it that so much of fashion isn’t about feeling beautiful, but looking beautiful in the eyes of men. How is it that someone like Terry Richardson, who I’m sure is just one of many, was able to become a mainstay in fashion while brutalizing women?

What’s even sadder is that even the conversation caused by this scandal is insufficient. People aren’t talking about Richardson being a sexual predator, people are talking about Condé Nast blackballing him. Furthermore, this exile is a bit late. Stories of Richardson’s misconduct have swirled for years. So much so that he even wrote about it (yes, they let him write the story himself) for “The Huffington Post” in 2014.

As formor i-D editor, Caryn Franklin, told Britan’s “Sunday Times” on the matter, “[This] age-old culture of predatory behaviour is based upon the premise that it is a young woman’s duty to protect herself from it and not an older man’s responsibility to behave with respect.”

Even in a woman’s world like that fashion industry, women aren’t granted basic respect. That’s why we have Terry Richardsons and Harvey Weinsteins. That’s why these scandals aren’t even surprising anymore. That’s why women don’t feel safe speaking up until others do, and sometimes not even then. It all comes down to respecting us as human beings and respecting our right to say no.

 

Be the zeitgeist.