Another day, another music award show choosing to signal its solidarity with Time’s Up and the #MeToo movement with...a white rose. The Brit Awards, the U.K.’s annual pop music awards presented by the British Phonographic Industry, will hand out white rose pins on their red carpet, Wednesday, February 21. It’s a move that mirrors last month’s last-minute campaign to do something (anything) at the 2018 Grammy Awards to address the music industry’s problem of sexual harassment.
But the Brit Awards stop short of telling anyone what to do with the pins they’re handing out. Attendees are invited to wear the pins, events director Maggie Crowe told the Guardian, “if they so choose.” Electing to wear the pin as a symbol of solidarity with the fight against sexual harassment: fine and good. Electing not too: also fine and good. Whatever you choose, it’s really your call. No one can make this decision for you. Take the pin, don’t take it. No worries either way!
I feel for the Brit Awards—mandating that everyone wear a white rose pin is logistically improbable, not to mention, borderline invasive and weird. And yet, the award show, like many others, must feel some pressure to follow this year’s Grammys and the Golden Globes, which similarly decided to use fashion to make statements about the issue of gender inequality and sexual misconduct. But gestures like wearing all black at the Golden Globes or donning white roses and Time’s Up pins at the Grammys are more visually powerful if everyone does it—and, of course, are completely robbed of any real influence if they aren’t accompanied with difficult conversations around issues like assault, pay inequality, discriminatory hiring practices, sexism in the workplace, and so much more.
No one at the Grammy’s, really, spoke up about Time’s Up or #MeToo. Since then, however, there’s been plenty of hoopla surrounding Neil Portnow, the head of the Recording Academy, industry heads and artists requesting he resign after making a comment that women musicians, should they want to be nominated and receive awards more often, need to “step up.” The way women have been responding to that is much more powerful than any flower or pin.
Here’s hoping it continues, and the Brit Awards do more.