Why Was It Just Women Doing All The Emotional Labour At The Golden Globes?

Let’s cheer - but let’s not forget that even in our fight for equality, we’re still doing all the heavy lifting.

Why Was It Just Women Doing All The Emotional Labour At The Golden Globes?

by Vicky Spratt |
Published on

Over the last 24 hours, women in both the United States and the United Kingdom have taken a public stand about sexism in their respective fields of work. At the Golden Globe awards, women actors wore black and shared their platforms with activists as part of #metoo and Time’s Up. In London, the BBC’s China editor Carrie Graciequit her post in protest at the fact that she was not being paid the same as her male counterparts.

Now, this is all very well and good. In fact, scratch that, it’s great but, and there is always a but, it has left me wondering: where are the men? Sure, some of them are wearing Time’s Up lapel pins and saying all the right things - but what are they doing that’s comparable with the work women are having to do to ensure that the status quo has a chance of changing?

Women are investing their time, energy and money in both literal and symbolic protest and the cost of that should not be underestimated.

Think about all of the things women do: we remember your mum’s birthday so you don’t have to, we forgive you even when what you’ve done is unforgivable, we remind you to register with a doctor because you’re still on the books at a GPs surgery near your mum’s house, we buy washing up liquid even though the bottle is still about a quarter full just.in.case, we fake orgasms so you don’t have to, we tolerate your sexist ‘banter’ in the office and carry on doing good work, we think about when we’re going to get our periods and organise our waxes around our monthly cycles, we don’t just look – we see what’s going on - and we don’t just listen – we hear what people are saying. And then, when we are harassed, assaulted, undervalued or underpaid we take it upon ourselves to shine a light on it, take a stand and try to force change.

If all of the above was paid work women would be very, very rich but we are not. In fact, as empirical evidence emerges about the UK’s gender pay gap it is clear that we are on the whole far poorer than men despite our unpaid but essential emotional work and labour.

Emotional labour is not a new concept. First articulated by sociologist Arlie Hochschild in her 1983 bookThe Managed Heart, it has since become the subject of more research, feminist debate, clickbait and, you might even argue, J Lo’s seminal song ‘I Ain’t Your Mama’. What started as a way of talking about how emotional management is expected in the workplace, became a conversation about the all too often unpaid caring work carried out (on the whole) by women and then entered everyday conversation as we started to talk about the work we do, not as part of our jobs, but in all of our relationships.

Why don’t women just stop doing all of this work, you might ask? The answer is partly because we can’t afford to and, partly because, somehow, the pervasive sexism in our societies has spawned the idea that women are 'just better' are remembering, fixing and sorting stuff out. Indeed, in intersectional terms it’s worth noting that the less privilege you have the more you probably have to do. And so, as ever, it’s those women have the least who have to do the most.

Carrie Gracie's resignationis arguably necessary. Since the BBC’s gender pay gap was revealed last year, the situation hasn’t been resolved but, why would we expect it to be, the Equal Pay Act came into force decades ago and, yet, we’re still having this conversation. But, necessary or not, why should it fall on a woman to make a stand? Surely there are men at the BBC, perhaps some of them with daughters, who could do something about the future of pay parity?

In her resignation letter Gracie wrote:

‘It is painful to leave my China post abruptly and to say goodbye to the team in the BBC’s Beijing bureau. But most of them are brilliant young women. I don’t want their generation to have to fight this battle in the future because my generation failed to win it now’.

‘To women of any age in any workplace who are confronting pay discrimination, I wish you the solidarity of a strong sisterhood and the support of male colleagues’.

‘It is a century since women first won the right to vote in Britain. Let us honour that brave generation by making this the year we win equal pay’.


Golden Globes 2018 - Grazia

Angelina Jolie1 of 60

Angelina Jolie

Attending with her son Maddox, Angelina Jolie chose a floaty sheer dress with voluminous feather-trimmed sleeves.

Alicia Vikander2 of 60

Alicia Vikander

Alicia Vikander showed off her innate style in a high neck dress with keyhole cut-out back and embellishment detail.

Michelle Williams and MeToo founder Tarana Burke3 of 60

Michelle Williams and MeToo founder Tarana Burke

A Louis Vuitton clad-Michelle Williams was noticeably moved to be with #MeToo founder Tarana, saying: 'We're here because of Tarana, she started a movement, and it caught fire.' 'It's deeply humbling,' Tarana added, 'This is something I started out of necessity… this moment is so powerful.'

Emma Stone and Billie Jean King4 of 60

Emma Stone and Billie Jean King

Emma Stone decided to invite Billie Jean King as her date to the Globes, the tennis pro and pioneer who she played in Battle of the Sexes. Stone looked typically fashion-forward in a lace, one-shouldered dress.

Dakota Johnson5 of 60

Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson, who is a presenter at tonight's awards, wore a Gucci gown (what else!) with a stunning train featuring a silver sequin motif at the back.

Dakota Johnson6 of 60

Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson's looked even more stunning from the back.

Jessica Chastain7 of 60

Jessica Chastain

The always superbly dressed Jessica Chastain aced the dress code in an Armani Prive velvet halterneck gown with silver crystal embroidery on the sides.

Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake8 of 60

Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake

Jessica Biel channelled Hollywood glamour in a nude gown with sheer black overlay and black sash detail, keeping things classy with a low chignon and diamond accessories. Husband Justin Timberlake opted for an all black suit.

Kendall Jenner9 of 60

Kendall Jenner

Kendall Jenner had her Angelina Jolie moment posing in an asymmetrical dress with tiered skirts by Giambattista Valli.

Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd10 of 60

Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd

Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd posed together on the carpet, with the former in a high-necked, long-sleeved dress and the latter in a low-cut layered lace gown. Their appearance was poignant, as the two starred together in Frida, the film Hayek accused Harvey Weinstein of harassing her on.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith11 of 60

Claire Foy and Matt Smith

The Crown's stars posed together on the red carpet, with Claire Foy looking sensational in a low-cut tuxedo look teamed with slicked back hair and a bold red lip.

Catherine Zeta-Jones12 of 60

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine Zeta-Jones looked incredible in a daringly low-cut illusion dress with sheer skirt by who else than Zuhair Murad.

Alexis Bledel13 of 60

Alexis Bledel

Alexis Bledel wore a black and white one-shouldered jumpsuit by Oscar de la Renta to celebrate her show The Handmaid's Tale's nomination.

Allison Williams14 of 60

Allison Williams

Former Girls star Allison Williams brightened up her all-black ensemble with a pop of tangerine in this beaded strapless dress by Armani Prive.

Sadie Sink15 of 60

Sadie Sink

Stranger Things star Sadie Sink wore a Miu Miu prom dress with full skirt and sweetheart neckline for her first ever Golden Globes.

Debra Messing16 of 60

Debra Messing

Will and Grace's Debra Messing wore a black embellished tunic-style dress with trousers.

Catriona Balfe17 of 60

Catriona Balfe

Outlander's Catriona Balfe oozed glamour in a black dress with off-the-shoulder sheer detail by Chanel.

Margot Robbie18 of 60

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie chose an oriental-inspired dress with beautifully intricate silver embroidery.

Emma Watson and Marai Larasi19 of 60

Emma Watson and Marai Larasi

Emma Watson brought Marai Larasi as her date, the founder of Imkaan, a black feminist organisation in London.

Meryl Streep and Ai-Jen Poo20 of 60

Meryl Streep and Ai-Jen Poo

Meryl Streep brought Director of Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-Jen Poo, as her date to the Golden Globes.

Mandy Moore21 of 60

Mandy Moore

Mandy Moore opted for a sleek, column dress with halterneck detail, adding a pop of colour with a scarlet sash belt.

Amy Poehler and Saru Jayaraman22 of 60

Amy Poehler and Saru Jayaraman

Amy Poehler chose ROC co-founder Saru Jayaraman as her date for the Golden Globes.

Alison Brie23 of 60

Alison Brie

Glow star and nominee Alison Brie wore an old Hollywood-esque strapless dress with full skirt and sweetheart neckline, choosing a beautiful diamond choker to complete the look.

Heidi Klum24 of 60

Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum chose a gown with an asymmetrical hemline and ostrich feather detail.

Ewan McGregor25 of 60

Ewan McGregor

Fargo's Ewan McGregor stuck to the dress code in an all black tux - including his shirt - looking very dapper indeed.

Christina Hendricks26 of 60

Christina Hendricks

Christina Hendricks, star of 2018's answer to Big Little Lies, Good Girls, chose a simple off-the-shoulder black gown.

Kit Harington27 of 60

Kit Harington

Kit Harington aka Jon Snow aka King in the North looked very dapper in an all black tuxedo.

Chris Hemsworth28 of 60

Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth looked very un-Thor-like in his tux.

Sarah Paulson29 of 60

Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson chose a highneck gown with pleated skirt.

Jude Law30 of 60

Jude Law

Jude Law joked on the red carpet in sunglasses.

Zoe Kravitz31 of 60

Zoe Kravitz

Zoe Kravitz looked typically cool in a simple but chic column dress teamed with sapphire earrings.

Isabelle Huppert32 of 60

Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert looked very on-trend in an embellished metallic dress with sculptural shoulder detail.

Gwendoline Christie33 of 60

Gwendoline Christie

Game of Thrones and Star Wars actress Gwendoline Christie wore a ruffled black dress with sheer high neck.

James and Dave Franco34 of 60

James and Dave Franco

The Disaster Artists' stars James and Dave Franco posed together in their tuxedos.

Diane Kruger35 of 60

Diane Kruger

Perennial best-dressed list member Diane Kruger looked like she'd stepped off the runway in a halterneck tulle gown with cape-like detail by Prada.

Millie Bobby Brown36 of 60

Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown chose an 80s-esque backless dress with voluminous sleeves.

Kerry Washington37 of 60

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington sparkled in an embellished strapless gown with thigh-high split.

Maggie Gyllenhaal38 of 60

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Maggie Gyllenhaal was one of several stars who opted for strapless sequins.

Michelle Pfeiffer39 of 60

Michelle Pfeiffer

Comeback queen Michelle Pfeiffer chose a layered tulle dress which she wore with a short tuxedo jacket over the top.

Lily James40 of 60

Lily James

Lily James went for full-on glamour in a black satin gown with ruffle details.

Elisabeth Moss41 of 60

Elisabeth Moss

The Handmaid's Tale's leading lady Elisabeth Moss wore a long-sleeved dress with Peter Pan collar.

Kate Hudson42 of 60

Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson played up her pixie crop with an ultra-feminine sheer, low-cut dress with strategically placed necklace.

Mariah Carey43 of 60

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey lived up to her diva reputation in a fishtail gown with slashed neckline.

Saoirse Ronan44 of 60

Saoirse Ronan

Style maven Saoirse Ronan went for a futuristic black one-sleeved gown with silver accents.

Natalie Portman and America Ferrera45 of 60

Natalie Portman and America Ferrera

Natalie Portman and America Ferrera attended the Golden Globes together, with Natalie choosing an elegant dress with boxy-neckline and sweetheart cut, while newly pregnant America chose a simple black dress worn with a blazer over it.

Nicole Kidman46 of 60

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman always rules the red carpet and tonight was no different in a floor-length lace gown with high neck.

Greta Gerwig47 of 60

Greta Gerwig

Ladybird director Greta Gerwig chose a one-shouldered dress teamed with a gold choker.

Halle Berry48 of 60

Halle Berry

Age-defying Halle Berry looked incredible in a sheer lace mini-dress.

Emilia Clarke49 of 60

Emilia Clarke

Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke was miles away from her on-screen persona in a very modern strapless dress, which she wore with her trademark peroxide blonde locks and bold red lips.

Gal Gadot50 of 60

Gal Gadot

Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot kept it simple in a black ruched column dress with an accompanying bolero by Tom Ford.

Mary J. Blige51 of 60

Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige injected some fun into her LBD with one shimmering silver sleeve and panel in her skirt.

Reese Witherspoon52 of 60

Reese Witherspoon

Times Up kickstarter Reese Witherspoon opted for a simple yet chic one-shouldered gown with mermaid-skirt.

Sally Hawkins53 of 60

Sally Hawkins

Nominee Sally Hawkins chose a full black skirt with asymmetrical velvet top.

Penelope Cruz54 of 60

Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz - soon to be on our TV screen as Donatella Versace in American Crime Story - looked beautiful in an off-the-shoulder lace dress with a train by Ralph and Russo.

Naomi Campbell55 of 60

Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell was a model red carpet attendee in floor-skimming black.

Sarah Jessica Parker56 of 60

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker borrowed a dress from her Sex and the City alter-ego Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe.

Eva Longoria57 of 60

Eva Longoria

A low-cut, thigh-high black dress for Eva Longoria.

Gillian Anderson58 of 60

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson was another adherent to the asymmetrical dress theme, showing off a new peroxide crop.

Laura Dern59 of 60

Laura Dern

Laura Dern chose an Armani Prive gown completely embroidered in crystals and featuring a sheer bodice and tulle train.

Ava DuVernay60 of 60

Ava DuVernay

Director Ava DuVernay stuck to the dress code in a crystal-embroidered long-sleeved top and draped skirt both by Armani Prive.

Imagine that today we had woken up to the news that a man had resigned from a job he loved because he didn’t want future generations of women to spend their time worrying about the gender pay gap and, instead, wanted them to be paid fairly for their work from the off. Now, that would be news. Better still, imagine the news was that, like Iceland, Britain had just gone ahead and made it illegal to pay men more than women. Surely, it’s about time? We’ve had legislation saying that women and men’s pay should be equal for half a century but we still have a gender pay gap. Ruling out pay discrimination once and for all would save us all at least 10% of our daily brain space.

And then, once you’ve one that imaginary thinking pictures this: this morning we woke up to see pictures of women actors and activists wearing black and calling out sexism on the red carpet at the Golden Globes. Alongside them, men did not just stand silent (see Matt Smith alongside Clare Foy), they quietly waited their turn and then said they, too, were committed to ending rape culture, sexual harassment and gender inequality. Now, that really would be exciting.

It’s not that we shouldn’t applaud Carrie Green. Her composure and professionalism on this morning’s BBC Today programme (even when John Humphrys made a semi sexist remark about how she would be remembered for resigning over pay and not for her work as China editor), was exemplary. And, equally, it’s not that we shouldn’t replay the moment when Natalie Portman threw shade at an ‘all male’ nominee list or that we shouldn’t watch Oprah’s speech about Time’s Up on repeat and revel in the goosebumps.

We should do all of that and, while we’re doing it, we should ask ourselves how many men are doing the same? Let’s celebrate but let’s not forget that even in our fight for equality, we’re still doing all the heavy lifting.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

Me Too. Obviously. But I Won't Be Sharing My Story

Hepeating: When A Man Says What You Just Said But Louder

Why Breadcrumbing Is The Lowest Form Of Digital Communication

Follow Vicky on Twitter @Victoria_Spratt

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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