The 90th annual Oscars were held last week, and as usual, the ceremony served as the perfect opportunity for Hollywood's most elite to get together and stroke fragile egos. Given the recent explosion of sexual assault allegations as a result of the #MeToo movement, it was no surprise that much of this year’s Oscars virtue signaling focused on calling for an end to sexual violence. Support for gun control was also seen on the red carpet that night, as some celebrities chose to accessorize their $25,000+ dresses by adding an orange pin on behalf of the organization Everytown for Gun Safety. Celebrities proudly declaring their support for survivors of sexual assault while also supporting movements that call for a mass disarming of Americans shows peak Hollywood hypocrisy.
In his opening monologue, host Jimmy Kimmel gave an impassioned speech about the responsibility of Hollywood to take action against sexual harassment and assault. He explains, “[Hollywood] cannot let bad behavior slide anymore...we need to set an example.” After the audience roars with laughter following the punchline about sexual harassment, Kimmel continues by explaining that he hopes the audience “will listen to many brave and outspoken supporters of movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up and Never Again because what they’re doing is important, things are changing for the better, they are making sure of that. It is positive change.”
It’s easy for celebrities to consider gun control “common sense” when a fun evening out to the Oscars comes with over 500 armed LAPD officers costing $340,000.
While I can certainly appreciate celebrities using their wealth and fame to bring attention to the issue of sexual violence, they seem to stop short of actually allowing women to empower themselves to prevent future assaults. Throughout the evening, Jimmy Kimmel seemed to present a call to action to prevent future assaults from happening again. While this is a noble cause, this is the same Jimmy Kimmel who recently gave a ten-minute monologue on his show in which he, through tears, denounced the National Rifle Association for standing firm in their defense of the Second Amendment and refusing to implement what he described as “common sense” gun control.
It’s easy for celebrities like Kimmel to consider gun control “common sense” when a fun evening out to the Oscars comes with a security detail of over 500 armed LAPD officers costing $340,000. As an average American, I don’t have the luxury of an armed police officer keeping me safe during a night out, let alone hundreds. If my own experience with sexual assault taught me anything, it’s the importance of having a reliable method of self-defense available when seconds count and the police are minutes away.
If You Want to Help Women, Empower Them
It’s crucial that when empowering women to take action against sexual assault, we also allow them to choose to defend themselves with a firearm if they so desire. Wearing a “Time’s Up” pin on the red carpet does a good job at starting a viral hashtag, but it does nothing to stop a rapist hellbent on attacking and violating an innocent woman.
The legally registered 9mm I carry on my hip, however, does.
What I’m advocating for is a woman’s right to choose whether or not to exercise their constitutional right to self-defense.
If we lived in a perfect world, women wouldn’t have to have these difficult conversations and consider how we should best defend ourselves. There are, however, horrible people in this world who do horrible things. Given the reality of the situation, it’s important to allow women to be proactive in stopping potential assaults instead of looking back at decades of abuse and wondering how it could have been prevented.
It’s important to be reasonable at a time like this. I’m not advocating that we force Hollywood to all arm themselves, nor am I suggesting all women should choose to exercise their right to self-defense. Owning a gun is a huge responsibility, and it’s not one that should be taken lightly.
What I’m advocating for is a woman’s right to choose whether or not to exercise their constitutional right to self-defense. When celebrities use their power and influence in an attempt to bring an end to sexual violence, while at the same time trying to take away my method of defense, it shows nothing other than a complete disregard for my well-being. This line of behavior is a slap in the face to survivors like myself and highlights the never-ending hypocrisy of celebrities capitalizing on political conversation in hopes of staying relevant.
I appreciate the gesture, Hollywood, but your lapel pin wouldn’t have prevented my rape.