I’ve made no secret that I am fully behind the Time’s Up and Me Too movements and anything that promotes gender equality is great in my eyes. I consider myself a feminist but I have written before that to me feminism is about having the right to choose. It’s about having the freedom to not be dictated to, not by men and certainly not by other women.
Last night at the BAFTAs, guests and nominees were invited to wear black to show solidarity to the TimesUp campaign. The Duchess of Cambridge has faced criticism for not toeing the line and not wearing a black dress. It wasn’t as if she was wearing a hot pink tutu. She was wearing a suitably dark green dress with black accessories, the latter possibly being a nod of support to the prior mentioned campaigns.
This wasn’t enough for some people.
“She clearly doesn’t believe in sisterhood.”
“She doesn’t care about women’s rights.”
“She’s out of touch.”
Surely dictating to a woman what she should and should not be wearing is the antithesis of what the TimesUp campaign is supposed to be about. It is possible to agree with the sentiment without being a conformist. Look at the Frances McDormand’s wonderful acceptance speech. Whilst she admitted she didn’t want to conform by adhering to the dress code, she added “I stand in full solidarity with my sisters in black.”
As a royal, and wife (and mother) to the future king, Kate is expected to avoid political statements. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t support other women in their fight for gender equality.
The daily obsession with what Kate wears borders on insanity at the best of times, and the media scrutiny must be pretty exhausting. With this one I can’t help feeling it’s the old case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. If she’d worn black she would have been accused of overstepping her position. Choosing not to meant that she wasn’t supporting a woman’s righty to equality. She would have faced controversy whatever she had chosen.
People need to remember how you choose to dress doesn’t and shouldn’t define you or your beliefs.
After all, what is wearing black actually achieving? Raising awareness, maybe. But I’d be willing bet there were plenty people there last night decked out in black who couldn’t care less about female equality. Wearing a black dress, or tuxedo, or pin, doesn’t actually change anything. Actions do. There is something slightly nauseating about seeing these men and women in black bleating about equality in their expensive get ups. Nothing says true equality like a £10,000+ frock!
I am in no way trying to negate the work and bravery of women campaigning for gender equality. I applaud those who have spoken out and are trying to encourage change. I just don’t feel that dictating how a 7 month pregnant woman should be dressing is the best way to go about it.
Doesn’t sisterhood extend to the Duchess? Can we not have the compassion to see that she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Shaming women for how they dress is not my idea of feminism.
This is not equality.