The Outlook Talks #METOO

default article imageAs the #METOO and “Time’s Up” movements continue throughout awards season, celebrities are often embracing forms of advocacy in their speeches and on the red carpet.

Philanthropist and actress, Oprah Winfrey gave a rousing speech at the Golden Globe Awards in January; Big Little Lies actresses Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern spoke about the importance of speaking out and stopping harassment in the industry.

Most obvious was the red-carpet protest – almost all attendees wore black, with some celebrities donning “Time’s Up” pins.

The Grammy Awards saw similar forms of activism as stars wore white roses and the same pins. Janelle Monae spoke about the importance of undoing a culture that has created an environment for sexual harassment and assault; Kesha performed “Praying” with many other female figures in the industry.

While these advocacy efforts have been visible at awards shows, some Outlook editors have questioned whether they are the most effective form of activism, and whether they caused real change.

Only about half of the editorial staff members were aware of the efforts being made. Those who did not follow awards shows were unaware of the attempts at advocacy. One editor was aware of the Golden Globes all-black dress code, but was unaware of the white roses and pins at the Grammy Awards.

“I feel like it was almost the focus of the Golden Globes, whereas it was not as big of a topic at the Grammys.” “I was not really aware of the advocacy efforts on the award shows because I do not watch them,” said one editor. “The only way I really heard of it was by social media.”

While the efforts made were celebrated on social media and were mentioned in some news cycles, some editors were unsure about how effective the on-carpet activism was.

“I think it was effective in the sense of making [the issue] more talked about and making people more aware,” said one Outlook editor. “I don’t know how effective it was at a local level but it has to start somewhere. Big celebrities bringing issues to light helps people realize that this is a big deal and things need to change.”

“At a local level, I’m sure it has made a difference,” added another editor. “How much of a difference is what’s questionable. Celebrities are ‘worshipped,’ so to speak, by everyday people. Some of their movies and TV shows have ‘cult’ followings. For an actor who is held in such high fashion among those who watch their shows, wearing a pin to advocate a movement or wearing a specific color to voice an opinion will definitely stick in their minds as something they should be a part of as well.”

Another editor disagreed. “I do not think they always make the change that they hope they will. Celebrities are not as impactful as they once were, and no one really watches the Grammys/Oscars anymore. I do appreciate their efforts to make statements.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 2018 Golden Globe ratings were down five percent, a decline from 2017. According to The Independent, Grammy Award ratings hit a nine-year low, with a 24 percent decline from 2017.

Another editor felt that celebrities were receiving too much praise for not doing much work, with one editor calling the effort “passive activism.”

“I feel if their only effort was to wear a dress, then they should not be recognized as ‘saving the world,’” commented another. “I feel the celebrities that should get praised are the ones who actually do work with groups, go out in the real world and actually try and cause change.”

While the local, real-world impact of celebrity activism is debatable, editors were in agreement about the importance of celebrities generally using their status to bring issues to light.

“As each person consumes and interprets media, they unconsciously bring it into their daily lives and thoughts. If the actions seen by these celebrity activists got the consumer thinking, it is quite likely they might change even in the slightest on a local level. Some people who were already considering these movements might go to new lengths and be seriously touched, it’s all about the person and their previous exposure and predisposition,” said one staffer.

“I think that the celebrities have the right platform to bring the movements to light, but at the end of the day they are not the average person,” added another editor. “I do not necessarily think that these celebrities can cause change at the local level. It will take another, more local activist to really get the ball rolling in the community.

Editors also had several suggestions on how celebrities can continue to use their platforms to bring light to issues. Potential methods included going to marches and giving speeches at events, focusing on more charitable efforts, and not working with those who have “suggestive pasts,” as well as championing and rallying behind others in difficult situations.