The Feminist Red Carpet Moment At The 2017 Oscars You May Have Missed
The ACLU is leading the resistance against Donald Trump's presidency, standing strong against an administration that seeks to disadvantage marginalized communities. The organization isn't giving up the fight for equality and freedom, and celebs' support for the ACLU at the Oscars was a big moment for intersectional feminism — because true feminism is about supporting people of all races, all immigration statuses, all sexual orientations and gender identities, and all religious faiths.
The blue ribbons are part of the nonprofit's "Stand with ACLU" campaign, which launched this week, according to The Hollywood Reporter. THR also reports, "[T]he campaign encourages Hollywood stars to wear a Stand with ACLU blue ribbon as a symbol of solidarity with the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, which has worked for nearly 100 years to defend and protect individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and law of the U.S."
Celebs who wore their ribbons on the red carpet include Loving Best Actress nominee Ruth Negga, Lin-Manuel Miranda and his mom, Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda, model Karlie Kloss, and actress Busy Philipps. Each of them pinned on a small ribbon with "ACLU" emblazoned in gold on it.
Folks may wonder why standing with the ACLU is explicitly feminist, and the answer lies in the nonprofit's consistent support for marginalized groups across the board. Intersectional feminists build their activism around the idea that oppressed groups must not only fight for their own rights, but for the rights of other marginalized peoples.
As the States sink deeper into the clutches of the Trump administration, more and more of Trump's campaign raves are coming true. And where his executive orders go, the ACLU is quick to follow. On Jan. 28, a federal judge granted the organization's request for a temporary injunction against Trump's executive order on immigration, signed by Trump just two days previous on Jan. 26. On Feb. 2, the organization filed a lawsuit to challenge Trump's seven-country ban, which targeted countries that are majority-Muslim. The ACLU also spoke out Feb. 23 on Twitter, after news broke that the Trump White House would be rescinding the Obama-era protections which allowed transgender students to use the school restroom where they felt most comfortable. And before Trump took the oath, the ACLU supported Black Lives Matter.
Supporting the ACLU means supporting all their many intersectional causes. It's not a surprise that most of the folks sporting "Stand with ACLU" ribbons at the Oscars were people of color, who are almost always at the forefront of intersectional feminist efforts.
Admittedly, the ACLU's fight for equality is not perfect. Just after a major push for donations, driven primarily by social media, netted the ACLU $24 million in just 48 hours, the ACLU publicly supported "alt-right" (aka neo-nazi) speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, saying he has the right to free speech like everyone else.
In an interview with NPR, senior ACLU staff attorney Lee Rowland backed up the ACLU's position on Yiannopoulos, explaining, "There's no question that the things that Mr. Yiannopoulos says are unbelievably hateful in nature. But the phrase hate speech is a form of free speech."
The basis of any feminist movement involves unpacking internalized biases absorbed from patriarchal culture, but intersectional feminism asks people to go beyond unpacking sexism and misogyny. It asks people to unpack things like racism, homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia. Becoming suddenly aware of just how full the world is of -isms can be challenging for anyone — and even moreso when people learn they're guilty of many of those -isms.
And while the ACLU's statement on Yiannopolous, seeing the ACLU use its inclusive platform to include him isn't what folks who donated for the protection of marginalized peoples want to see.
Despite that, the work that the ACLU does on a larger scale represents many of the values and goals of intersectional feminism, which is why it was important to see the presence of the org on the red carpet. 2017 is already a groundbreaking year for directors, writers, and actors of color. Hopefully it will be a groundbreaking year for the ACLU as well.