Skip to main content

“Woke Male Allies” Are Really Still Sleeping

The oppression is the patriarchy wearing black and sporting #TIMESUP pins to the Golden Globes, winning awards and saying nothing.

by Michele Zipp

At current time, it feels as if there are thousands of very pressing issues issues we have to take care of right now or the world will implode, leaving behind a mess of Bakken crude oil peppered with Trump’s hairs and golf balls floating in space. We are living in the upside where Oprah versus Trump for President in 2020 is a hot topic. Our reality is blurred in a haze of orange-fueled tweets of diversion from the facts.

But the one movement that I will not let die no matter how nuked we may get by Kim Jung-un is #MeToo and now its follow up, #TIMESUP. Trump needs to face the consequences of the despicable actions he is accused of by 19 women, but this goes beyond him. I’m looking at every man out there, even our woke male allies. In fact, it’s the silence of the most outspoken that feels the loudest.

To put it simply, you cannot be a good man and stay quiet. By staying silent, you are choosing the side of the oppressor. And the oppression is the patriarchy wearing black and sporting TIMESUP pins to the Golden Globes, winning awards and saying nothing.

Yes, it was a night where women shined and spoke out about the oppressions we face in the workplace, while walking down the street, basically everywhere we go. There were the moments from Oprah and Natalie Portman, Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, and just about every woman on the red carpet speaking out on the issue of equality and unbalance in opportunity for women, never missing a chance to make a massive point. But not one man said one word about the unofficial theme of the evening there or when they took the stage.

There was a moment for David Harbour, the loveable sheriff Hopper on Stranger Things, who in all black and wearing a Time’s Up pin was asked for his thoughts on the movement by Laura Spencer. Harbour’s comment began as a mangled mess, a typical stall, as he searched for the right response or maybe he was completely unprepared. Spencer helped him through it. And that’s all women really want, too. Some help through this moment. Some proper allies, not staying silent, but speaking up.

We know they have a voice. And it’s not like the men didn’t go on and on when it came to their speeches either. A few of the male winners spoke so much and for so long that the orchestra had to start playing to let them know that their time was up. Yes, time’s up.

Alexander Skarsgard called his co-stars “girls” in his acceptance speech. Which is generally forgivable but felt tone deaf.

James Franco essentially had a frat party moment with his bros. James Franco, the same bro who hit on a teenage girl and who Ally Sheedy tweeted is the reason she left Hollywood.

Gary Oldman, also in black with the proper pin, won despite his past alleged assault of his ex-wife in 2001 and calling Nancy Pelosi a “useless cunt” in a Playboy interview a few years back.

I’m not saying these men should hand in their “ability to move on and enjoy life” card, but I do feel addressing demons of the past when the topic is currently at its apex is necessary. Addressing their wrongdoings or rumblings of (whether charges were dropped or alleged) is part of the accountability we need. Everyone loves people who repent and grow. Sweeping things under the rug isn’t going work anymore. We see it just like the diversion tactics of this administration. We all know the truth. Let’s live the truth.

All men, however, are probably terrified of becoming the next Matt Damon. While some more may even be worried they will be outed like Weinstein if they say one wrong word.

There was some buzz that some men thought they were supposed to stay silent on the matter, allowing the women to take center stage with their expertise on the subject we wish we weren’t experts on. There is an eloquence to that, a respectfulness to defer to the authority on the matter. But the change includes them; not only in accountability, but in actions and words. Maybe some men need to mansplain to other men just so they start to get it.

One man who did come through was Seth Meyers. He dealt with the topic in comedy, naturally with comments like "Good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen" as well as "For the male nominees in the room tonight, this is the is the first time in three months it won't be terrifying to hear your name read out loud.” Still, wouldn’t Mindy Kaling or Wanda Sykes been a better choice to host?

The men had (and still have) a chance to take themselves out of the comfort zones they’ve felt cozy in since the dawn of time. Let’s face it boxers are far more comfortable than thongs or bras or corsets --

men have always been too comfortable in just about every arena and their choice to wear black with women just wasn’t enough.

A pin isn't enough either. Seth Meyers isn’t enough.

We need words. We need men to get uncomfortable and to look deeply within and wonder how many times they did something completely inappropriate or worse. Women are doing this, too. We have been guilty of injustices against our sisters, but we are awake and changing and evolving and supporting each other because we know that we won’t be truly free until we are all free.

The scales aren’t balanced; they tip toward the white man and steep in inequality. But the shift is happening and it’s time for all men to get on board. Time’s Up, men. If you want to be a truly woke male ally, you need to speak up, think harder, talk to more women to understand it all so you are armed for this, so you are ready to rise up with us. You can join us. It’s advised. Because women are both the conductor and the orchestra at this “awards show” and if you don’t unite, we’ll just play our song so loud and so long that no one will hear you anymore. Maybe the upside down is where we need to be to get this all sorted out and have everyone truly wake up.