Like many last night, I tuned into the 2013 Golden Globe Awards and signed into twitter. Award shows bring out the snark in me and twitter is the perfect place to share. One of the things I noticed was the excitement that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were hosting. Even my jaded heart has to admit that they were hilarious and I honestly felt like we didn’t see enough of them and their antics. Who didn’t love Poehler quipping, “wow that was an exceedingly special guest, that was Hilary Clinton’s husband,” after former president Bill Clinton made his appearance?
And they’re right, Ricky Gervais who?
Notable moments included the always classy Ann Hathaway, who pointed out that Sally Fields paved the way for her. As a huge fan of Sally Fields, I couldn’t help but be incredibly moved. Then there was Jodi Foster, who was given the Cecil B DeMille award for her lifetime of work in the industry. Foster used the opportunity to come out, attack 6 year old honey boo boo and then lecture everyone about privacy.
“I hope you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming-out speech tonight. I already did my coming-out about a thousand years ago.
“Back in the days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now apparently every celebrity is expected to expose the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a reality show.
“I’m sorry, that’s just not me and it never will be.”
Then you had Lena Dunham, who took home two awards for her navel gazing HBO show Girls. In her first acceptance speech, Dunham said, “This award is for every woman who has ever felt like there wasn’t a space for her. This show has made a space for me, thank you so much.”
I think it would be fair to say that women had some pretty impressive moments at last night’s Golden Globes. The problem is that the women who won notable awards and made interesting comments were all White. The only exception was Dr Aida Takla-O’Reilly, outgoing head of the HFPA, who referenced 2012 pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen in her speech by saying, “As I disappear into the delta twilight … allow me to say three little words to Bradley Cooper…Call me, maybe?” Ooops, silly me, I forgot that they did let Lucy Liu give out an award. So yeah, that makes two WOC who were allowed to grace the stage momentarily. Of course, while I was busy cheering about finally seeing a non White female face, people on twitter were busy commenting on how ugly Liu’s dress was.
Last night’s Golden Globes is certainly not the only award show to be White centric. I have become used to White people celebrating their achievements on award show after award show. The problem for me is that last night as I tweeted my sarcasm, I couldn’t help but notice how many people tweeted about how feminist the show was and how it advanced the work of women in Hollywood. No one bothered to ask which women? If you happened to be a White woman, then last night was a refreshing change but if you, like me, are a WOC, then last night was business as usual.
The award winner who by far irritated me the most, was Lena Dunham. This is a woman who won for a navel gazing show, which just accidentally failed to include any people of colour in the first season and then claimed that her award was for any woman who felt that they didn’t fit in. Did she for even a moment pause to think that her privilege and racism continues to support spaces where marginalized women don’t fit? Girls posits itself as representative of women from a Dunham’s generation but the truth of the matter is that to identify with Girls, one must necessarily be White and exist with a certain amount of class privilege.
Then there was Jodi Foster’s public acknowledgement of her BFF Mel Gibson. To be clear, this is a man who used vicious anti-woman slurs and then suggested that his ex deserved to be “raped by a gang of roving niggers.” I suppose you can afford to ignore these things when you have race and class privilege. Foster may have come out for the first time publicly but I fail to see why I should celebrate the life of a woman who by her support of Mel Gibson, has proven that she has no problem with racism, antisemitism, and of course brutal misogyny. Her support of Mel Gibson, says more about her, than the Cecil B DeMille award ever could.
Last night women won awards for playing a neurologically atypical CIA agent and for singing their way through the French revolution and so it would be fair to say that the work which garnered attention was varied. The problem is that these roles were all played by White women. Women aren’t advancing — White women aren’t paving the way for all women — they are simply patting each other on the back and having one big exclusive slumber party. We didn’t have a feminist or pro woman Golden Globes; we celebrated the beauty, talent and skill of White womanhood last night. There isn’t a single actress who won last night whose role couldn’t have been played by a WOC and that this will never be acknowledged publicly, speaks volumes.