Just weeks after women wore black to the Golden Globes to protest sexual assault, others have moved to the State of the Union on the same accord. The #MeToo movement is such an empowering and inspiring experience, and what better way to address sexual abuse in politics than at an annual political event, right? These photos of women wearing black at the State of the Union are more than just a protest of sexual misconduct, but a mere dedication to being vocal, reclaiming power, and highlighting predatory behaviors across all social spectrums, and you'll appreciate them so much.
This year, women are wearing black to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment, and to highlight a commitment to change the culture that allowed abusers to silence, shun, humiliate, and intimidate their victims. The concept was proposed by Representatives Jackie Speier and Lois Frankel, both members of the Democratic Women's Working Group.
According to Vox, Frankel said the protest is “a message of solidarity with those who are seeking economic security and a cultural shift that enables men and women to work side by side, in safety and dignity, free of sexual harassment, and be paid fairly for the value of their work."
With the State of the Union speech upon us, the photos starting to emerge showed that many of these members of Congress have stuck to their pledges to wear black at the State of the Union.
Many of the women in Congress tweeted out photos of the sartorial protest.
Speier herself, who was one of the Congresswomen who sparked the idea, was photographed wearing a "Time's Up" pin as well a red "Recy" button.
So were many others.
Some of the men joined in.
“We’re wearing black in unison to show we’re speaking up,” Rep. Brenda Lawrence said, according to Racked. “This is our time. Me too, time’s up.”
Lawrence added that she's not sure what to expect from President Trump's speech, but said she had to take action. She said:
Here we are again with his State of the Union — lord only knows what he will say. I don’t want to sit there business as usual. I have to do something.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman backed Lawrence's statement, saying the president needs to be reminded of the "decency and dignity and respect" he should have for women. She cited the fact that President Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women. The White House's official position is that all the accusers are lying, and Trump denied knowing the women in a tweet. Coleman told the publication,
We’ve got a president who has allegations against him by upwards of 19 women that he sexually abused and harassed and assaulted them. So if for no other reason it is to remind him of the decency and dignity and respect that he should have for women.
Some women are also wearing red pins to protest a lesser-known topic.
There were also plans for women to wear red pins attached to their black clothing to honor Recy Taylor, an African American woman who was kidnapped and raped by six white men in 1944. During Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globe speech on Jan. 7, the TV mogul highlighted Taylor's story, which resulted in no convictions for her assailants — even though they were identified and one even confessed to the crime.
Watson Coleman added that the pins were "a reminder that all women are affected by sexual harassment and assault and rape and it’s not a reflector of your race or your age or your economic station," according to Racked.
But their protest extends further than President Trump.
In the past few months, there have been swamping amounts of allegations against other political figures. At least six women have accused Al Franken, a former senator for Minnesota, of sexual misconduct. Though he denied some of the claims against him and said he remembered others differently, he ultimately resigned from office. Roy Moore, the former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama was accused of sexual misconduct with minors by multiple women, which he denied and called the allegations an "attack" on his campaign. Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan was recently pulled from the House Ethics Committee after reports surfaced that he used taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment claims by a former staffer. Meehan denied the allegations but admitted to using the funds. The allegations keep rolling in and unfortunately, it doesn't look like they're stopping any time soon, so this protest is right on time.
The State of the Union, viewed by tens of millions of people, is a brilliant idea to make a statement that's needed to spark a cultural shift in the dynamics between men and women. Time's up, across all avenues.