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Award Shows: A Secret Platform for Social Change

Award Shows: A Secret Platform for Social Change

Remember the days when watching the Golden Globes or the Emmys was just about laughing at terrible dresses and gaping at elaborate ones? Well, those days are gone, baby! With all the crap circulating in society and the news, some celebs and designers have not missed the opportunity to speak up for what they believe in.

We’re finding it more and more. We all used to check the magazines the day after the show and look for best and worst dressed of the night. But now, some threads that celebs are wearing are making the front page of hard hitting news magazines. Why, you might ask? Because why not make the red carpet a platform for doling out a message that just doesn’t seem to be getting across?

It kind of all started in 2016 with Emma Watson. She boldly showed up to the Met Gala, quite possibly one of the most exclusive and most televised events of the year, in a showstopper Calvin Klein design. Now, we all know that our dear Emma Watson is the perfect definition of a boss babe. Not only is she a beautiful actress but this girl also graduated from Brown University while she was still filming the Harry Potter series. After she finished that, she didn’t really continue acting like you would expect her to do, but she uses her fame to talk about women’s issues (‘bout time!).  

Okay, back to the Met Gala. Here Watson shows up in that bold Calvin Klein design. And she’s wearing trousers (the scandal!). But that wasn’t the most unusual thing about her outfit; these gorgeous black and white threads were made out of recycled plastic. The point was to get people to talk about how much plastic is affecting our oceans. It’s true that scientists were already talking about it, but Watson provided the incentive for the masses to talk about it too, because sometimes we all just need a slap across the head to realize some things.

Not just anyone could pull off this look. It had to be Emma because her statement didn’t fall flat. It not only worked because she is an open advocate for this sort of thing, but the outfit was designed to be worn again--something that is unheard of in the fashion industry--which is why the piece was divided into three different garments.

The very next year, it happened again. In 2017, we found ourselves in the middle of the biggest women empowerment movement since women’s suffrage in the 20s. Woah, right? It was wild, and a truly amazing thing to witness, especially when many women (and men) wore all black to the Golden Globes for the #MeToo movement. And we can’t forget Oprah’s and Meryl Streep’s 2017 and 2018 speeches at the Golden Globes that shook the country. When goddesses like this speak, we listen.

These powerful ladies did more than use their wardrobe to voice their opinion; they used their time at the podium not to acknowledge their success, but to bring to light the justice that needs to be served. Hell, Oprah even made people cry.

And it hasn’t stopped there. This year’s Met Gala brought Jennifer Lopez and many other celebrities and their effort to help out those diagnosed with AIDS. Lopez’s stunning embroidered and feathered Balmain gown is one of the many custom-made designs up for auction. Each bid is set for a minimum of $5,000 and all proceeds go to a charity called (RED).

It’s impressive that so many A-listers are raising money for a disease that has often been labeled as taboo. These celebrities are giving a different opinion on issues that only get talked about in a negative light. Remember when AIDS was associated with people who lived a “dirty lifestyle”? Yeah, well that stigma is gone thanks to powerful people like this.

Most of the American people might think that celebs are just out there to look good and tell us what to buy, but the truth is that they’re just as passionate about tough issues as we are. And they have the power to influence a helluva lot of people. How many of your friends listen to whatever Rihanna says or buy whatever makeup line she comes out with, even if they never use it? Exactly. We hold a lot of celebs in the highest regard, so they’d be stupid not to take that opportunity to voice their opinions.

It might be hard to believe, but celebs can often get people talking faster than government  officials or professionals can because we’ve grown up knowing that we can’t always trust those people, but we can trust our favorite celebrity. And those celebs aren’t dumb, honey (but if they are, they’ve got PR people telling them what to do). They know what to say and when the right time to say it is.

Like why not point out that women are being mistreated everywhere at the biggest television award show in America? Everyone is watching; it’s basically like the Superbowl for people who hate football.

Why not tell the world that we’re mistreating our oceans by wearing the very thing we’re poisoning it with to the most exclusive event of the season? I mean, Emma basically just rubbed the fact in everyone’s face, because I’ll tell ya, most of the people there probably didn’t give a damn about our oceans until Emma made them think.

Why not shed light on a very serious disease that most “Christian” people try to suppress at a gala whose theme was about Catholicism. That’s definitely one way to ruffle some feathers. But it’s true, isn’t it? Many people who claim to be Christians are the ones doing most of the persecuting, and Jennifer Lopez is just one of the many who picked up on that.

I mean, speaking out at award shows is still a new thing. Only a couple people have been brave enough to do it, and for the most part have gotten positive feedback, but there will always be people looking to get angry. These women have started something; they’ve provided a new platform for social change where people actually listen and are intrigued.

So, buckle up buttercup, we should all expect this newfound tradition to continue.

Cover image via Otago Daily Times

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