Men Are Wearing Pearls at Award Shows to Support Women in the Industry

Unless a symbol manages to produce action, it's useless.

sterling brown

Image via Getty/Christopher Polk

sterling brown

At the Golden Globes men sported “Time’s Up” pins to display their solidarity with women in the industry combating sexual violence and pay inequity. Of course, that symbol was quickly rendered mute as accusations against James Franco and Aziz Ansari, as well as criticism of some including Justin Timberlake, swept the internet after the award show.

In a similar attempt to display solidarity, men are wearing pearl pins during award show season to show their support of women in Hollywood. As Teen Vogue points out, the movement is being facilitated with the help of Pinned By Pearls. According to their website, the pearl pin is inspired by the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and wearing it comes with the following silent pledge: “I am actively looking for projects directed, produced, written by and starring women, as well as other marginalized voices. I believe our industry culture will only heal when there are new, diverse voices in power. I wear this pin because I don't want to stand by; I want to stand up for change."

So far a few actors, including Tom Hanks and Sterling K. Brown, were seen wearing the pins during the SAG Awards and the Golden Globes. Even more are expected to be sporting it for the Oscars in March. Unlike Time’s Up, Pinned By Pearls is a public declaration, rather than a fundraising campaign, and the two movements are not related. “We are an opportunity for those with influence in the industry to make a public pledge, seeking out diversity and equality in leadership,” their site says.

This gesture is promising, but as we saw with the Golden Globes, gestures mean little without action. A huge wage gap still exists and, as Teen Vogue points out, only four percent of directors in the past decade have been women. 

Tonight (Jan. 28) at the Grammys, artists are planning to wear white roses in support of the Time's Up movement, another nod to the favored color of suffragettes. The demonstration is being led by Roc Nation's Meg Harkin and Interscope's Karen Rait. Halsey, Dua Lipa, Tom Morello, Kelly Clarkson, Rapsody, Cyndi Lauper, and Rita Ora are some of the artists planning to participate. The roses are a reminder that sexual violence and pay inequity affect women in all industries, not just in Hollywood. The demonstration coupled with a performance by Kesha, who came forward with allegations against her former producer Dr. Luke, show the power representation and symbols can have if they are followed with action. 

Male celebs can talk all the talk they want, but the industry needs to dismantle larger systemic barriers women in the industry face if they want to walk the walk.

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