Angels in Black, or Satan’s Daughters…
What is the message we are sending?
Angels in Black…It was a somber evening at the Golden Globes this year with the most celebrated women in Hollywood representing beauty, success and good fortune all dressed in black. While many hardworking people behind the scenes in Hollywood could have been celebrating their own wins, the evening was over shadowed by allegations of sexual misconduct and finger pointing, leaving those in the industry who were innocent of scandalous behavior down for the count.
There was a time in fashion, I believe it was the 80’s, where everyone – especially in the fashion capitals like NY and Paris wore black as a uniform like Angels in Black. Some wore it because they believed it was chic, others wore it to hide the size of their hips, legs or thighs. It was a conscious choice coming from deep within as a way of expressing their power by how they dressed.
Fashion has always had that effect. Many of us already know that different colors have hidden meanings. Blue for sincerity, green for money, red to be daring and bold, white to be pure, and purple to be royal. Black, well black is not a color, it is a statement, and that statement was prominent on the red carpet this year, but what really is the message they are sending? I, for one, was confused.
In the wake of the many allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior from men in the workplace women have finally come together in solidarity to shed the light on women’s equality.
I agree that the scales are out of balance and women are not always taken seriously by men. Angel’s in black, whose fault is that? I blame neither side. The message women are trying to send is that we want to be respected and to be treated as equals. The message is loud, but it is not clear until we take accountability for how we show up in the world.
Three actresses stood out amongst the crowd illustrating the light side and shadow side of the Provocateur archetype. Two of the actresses representing the cause wore the agreed upon black, or was it blue? Whatever the color, the messages they sent left many viewers confused.
Frances McDormand, who won best actress for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” wore zero make-up and a navy blue dress fit for a nun. McDormand, who is quoted as saying “I keep my politics private,” is also known for turning her nose up to girly stuff and refuses to wear even a pinch of color on her cheeks. No matter though, she is taken seriously as an actress, even if her own husband, the man she sleeps with, has cast her in her best roles ever. It’s ok though, I believe their relationship is clearly consensual.
On the other side of the coin we saw Sharon Stone, who we will always remember more for her interrogation scene in Basic Instinct than her role as the drug-crazy trophy wife of Robert De Niro in Casino. That was when Stone finally received the acknowledgment of the movie industry for her acting ability receiving her first Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. Yet, she didn’t win it.
I wonder if it is because of the message she sends is confusing? Stone, who has always presented herself as a Provocateur Fashion Icon archetype,™ only exploited herself by wearing an oh-so revealing, cut-out dress created by Brazilian designer, Vitor Zerbinato. Though she looks great for her age, she looked a little stuffy and puffy in a dress maybe one size too small for her. On one hand she’s saying, “I want to be respected.” And on the other hand, “oh, and, by the way, here are my boobs.” She has even been quoted when asked about the benefits of being famous: “I find I get to torture a higher class of men.”
Angels in black…Are we dealing with double standards? Yes. Do we need to try to change that? Yes! But it starts with us and how we show up in the world. Ladies, we must be smarter than the average bear and encourage men raise up to our standards, rather than lower ourselves to theirs. But we need to set those standards and live up to them ourselves. Men are visual and find it challenging to handle themselves in the presence of a beautiful, powerful woman, especially if she is scantily dressed. They may feel afraid, perhaps weak, and uncomfortable. They may feel powerless and so they try to wield whatever power they have. It doesn’t help when men are continually having images of under-dressed women shoved in their faces, such as Sports Illustrated Calendar issues, Victoria Secret fashion shows, and wearing ridiculously plunging necklines in front the largest audiences in showbiz.
I am not saying that women are “asking for it,” consciously. What I am saying is, women can empower themselves and others when they become more conscious about what they wear, and dress for appropriately for the occasion.
Thankfully Elisabeth Moss balanced the scales buttoned up to the neck like a matriarch in a bejeweled collard, 50’s style, Dior dress. Moss brought down the house with her acceptance speech for her Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama, The Handmaid’s Tale when she said, “We are the story in print and we are writing the story ourselves.” Moss dressed appropriately for the occasion, and the message she sent was clear. There is a reason why she is taken seriously as an actress, she simply does not exploit herself by flaunting her feminine features in a room full of powerful men who are easily titillated. She doesn’t need to provoke attention because she is confident enough to know, her talent speaks for itself. Confidence is the key word here and it begins from within.
Liam Neeson and many other’s say “the #MeToo campaign is healthy but also a bit of a “witch hunt,” So, how do we support our men? By being compassionate, not critical, and raising them to respect women from a very young age. By being conscious of how we dress on first dates and in the workplace. By being clear, vulnerable and honest about our own intentions when we are relating to them. Mothers, you must remember, you are the first woman your little boy falls in love with. So make sure you too are sending the message you intend to send when it comes to presenting yourself in front of them or even standing next to them for all the world to see.
Learn how to balance the light side and shadow side of the The Provocateur, Fashion Icon Archetype ™ that dresses you for work, for fun, for dating and seduction so the Saboteur archetype that lurks in everyone doesn’t ruin your game. Angels in black, we can support and love ourselves, and our men, through conscious dressing making sure the message we send is the message that they will receive.
Perhaps going forward, those courageous Angels in Black will send a message we will all understand. Instead of revealing the essence of Satan’s daughters, they will show up wearing white and demonstrate accountability, sending messages of innocence and purity, responsibly and we can all start again. Let’s rock it, own it, and rise up as the Angels we aspire to be.
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