things Hollywood men could have said at the Golden Globes


So the women of Hollywood came out at the Golden Globes on Sunday night and used their soapboxes to say powerful things about how sexual harassment and unequal pay would no longer be tolerated, nor would the sidelining of women’s stories and women creators, and just generally sounded off about the lousy positions of girls and women not only in their industry but everywhere. And they vowed to work for change and betterment for everyone.

And the men? As Sophie Gilbert at The Atlantic tells it:

Accepting their awards, they thanked their mothers, their wives (in one case their wives and their girlfriends), their agents, the nation of Italy for its great food. The composer Alexandre Desplat observed that this award was a different color to the previous one he’d claimed. But, facing a sea of women wearing black, not one of the dozen-plus men who received an award seemed compelled to note that anything about the night was different.

Why? Cara Buckley at The New York Times:

Publicists and agents guiding male clients through this unusual awards season said it was highly likely that some of the men were terrified of making missteps on the world’s stage.

When every word men utter about Time’s Up and the #MeToo movement is pored over, parsed and often harshly criticized, silence is often the best option…

Silence would, in fact, have been a very powerful message for men to send in an industry where their voices regularly drown out women’s. Imagine if all the male winners said nothing more than a simple “thank you”! But the men were not silent. They blathered ordinary award-show blather like the Other Thing going on had nothing to do with them. Or maybe they thought they’d been transported to a parallel universe where nothing had changed. Except when Natalie Portman pointed out that all the nominees for best director were men. Then they all looked embarrassed, or annoyed, as if it were their fault they’d benefitted from endemic and entrenched biases in their favor all these years.


I know that it’s difficult for men to not always be the center of attention, and impossible for them to imagine taking a stance that might sideline their awesomeness. And yet with just a few minutes thought I was able to come up with a bunch of ways that they could have acknowledged their complicity in problems they helped to create, committed to helping to fix inequalities that have worked to their advantage, and promised to make room for talented women in the future. Which is probably why nothing like this got said.

But still! A few suggestions:

• “I’m listening.”

• “I’m sorry I didn’t notice what was happening.”

• “I’m sorry I didn’t do more to stop what I saw happening.”

• “I pledge not to work with men who don’t respect women.”

• “I pledge to work with three women screenwriters and three women directors in the next two years.”

• “I pledge to no longer demand that my romantic female co-leads are young enough to be my daughter, or granddaughter.” [for actors]

• “I pledge to accept a role as a saintly and long-suffering man supporting a brilliant but flawed female lead in the next year.” [for actors]

• “I will ensure that my female characters get as much dialogue as my male characters, and that they are as complex and complicated as the men.” [for writers]

• “I will ensure that the women I cast in my films are paid fairly for the star power and experience they bring.” [for directors]

• “Tell me who hurt you and I’ll fuck him up. The body will never be found and I will take no credit for my actions.”

These will all work at the Oscars too! Feel free to steal ’em, guys.

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Thu, Jan 11, 2018 10:59am

It is seductively easy to say “I didn’t speak up because I was afraid of saying the wrong thing and making things worse”. But the end result of that is still that one doesn’t speak up.

reply to  RogerBW
Thu, Jan 11, 2018 11:18am

Every time there’s an effort to make the world a little fairer for women or minorities, or anyone who isn’t a white man, we get a huge, absurd backlash. See: Black Lives Matter, affirmative action, Gamergate, the war on Christmas, and so on back to the beginning of time. So, honestly, if white guys want to stand back and listen, even for one day, I find it kind of a relief.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Danielm80
Thu, Jan 11, 2018 12:45pm

There was no sense that these guys at the Globes were standing back and listening, though.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Thu, Jan 11, 2018 12:59pm

But according to the Times article, when asked directly on the red carpet or in backstage interviews or on email, the men did speak up in support of #MeToo. The article also says a lot of the men wore all black and wore the Time’s Up lapel pins. Perhaps they took to heart the message that they should shut up and listen and let women’s voices be heard.

I do think they were TOO cautious in being silent, and that they should have expressed support and willingness to listen and learn without making it all about themselves or saying something stupid. But I don’t think the silence meant they were indifferent to the moment.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Bluejay
Fri, Jan 12, 2018 9:51pm

But, again: They didn’t shut up. The acceptance speeches are WAY more prominent, WAY more heard than anything said on the red carpet. And the men did not use that platform to either stay silent or voice support for the women.

Of course the men wore black. They *always* wear black. :-)

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, Jan 12, 2018 10:03pm

I do get your point. I don’t doubt that many of them were supportive, but they should have been more visibly and vocally so.

They *always* wear black.

Several wore ALL black, though. Usually there are touches of white or other colors, in the shirt or jacket. But yeah, it’s tougher to make a statement with color when that color is the default. :-)

Sun, May 02, 2021 8:53pm

Nice! I like the last one the best!