Belfast Telegraph

Will cleavage-flashing black dresses and emeralds worth millions really change the way women are treated in Hollywood?

By Lindy McDowell

It's getting increasingly difficult to keep up with Time's Up, the solidarity campaign spawned in response to the Hollywood harassment scandal where actresses have risen up to fight sexism, sex abuse and wage inequality through that obvious medium of dark coloured evening wear.

The Baftas was the latest red carpet 'do' where just about the entire cast turned up attired in black.

Elsewhere this might suggest restrained and funereal but, showbiz being showbiz, in this instance the black dress protest did not preclude the usual gratuitous flashing of the flesh and acreage of cleavage.

However challenging the issues of the day, you can always rely on Angelina Jolie's left leg to find a way through via the traditional thigh-high split in her gown.

One attendee who didn't quite follow the Baftas black dress code to the letter however was Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. Kate who is well into her third pregnancy (and looking well on it, too) chose to wear very, very dark green.

Well, 'chose' is maybe pushing it.

The duchess was, reportedly, under pressure not to go the full length for full length black because a) royal protocol (which some might suggest is as daft as celeb posturing) dictates that black is only ever worn for mourning.

And b) the royals aren't supposed to involve themselves in politics or protests.

Kate did however, wear a black velvet band around her gown and also carried a black clutch.

This wasn't black enough though to placate the online snipers who presumably felt she should have borrowed, from the royal vaults, that old dress Queen Victoria wore for 40 odd years after Albert popped his clogs.

But Kate, we are now informed, may actually have given another subtle nod to the Time's Up campaign.

As well as the black velvet band, her ears, they shone with emeralds. Apparently - and I have somehow hitherto missed this - emeralds are also now seen as synonymous with the Time's Up protest.

(I don't know about you, but I'm on my way to Lunn's even as we speak.) Lots of big names have taken to wearing the green gems apparently because, while diamonds may indeed be a girl's best friend, emeralds signify much more significant things.

Like 'hope, renewal and growth'.

Even Alexander the Great, we're told, associated them with victory. All well and good. But when old Alex was sacking Carthage and Rome I doubt if the current wisdom that emeralds inspire 'an ongoing search for meaning, justice, compassion and harmony' was uppermost in his thoughts.

The reality is that to most ordinary mortals today, emeralds signify something much more basic. Big bucks.

Kate's alone, for example, are reckoned to have cost over a million quid.

On which scale Time's Up - a campaign which is intrinsically well-intentioned and honourable - appears just a bit silly and vacuous.

Actresses flaunting chandelier-earring solidarity and pouting protest in black ballgowns may garner headlines.

But let's face it, is any of this really going to change anything?

If it does it'll be the first time in history anybody has ever won a war with their wardrobes.

The suffragettes chained themselves to railings.

Clipping several hundred thousand pounds worth of gemstones around your wrist isn't quite on the same level of discomfort.

Coming up soon is the Oscars and you can just imagine what a pantomime of protest that's going to be.

If female actors (and their many self-declared male supporters in the industry) truly do want to achieve immediate and meaningful change within Hollywood and, by ripple effect in the rest of society, all they have to do is withdraw their services until they see real progress.

How many though, are much too worried about harming their future career prospects to chance that?

This sadly, is the precise reason why the Weinsteins and the pay differentials were allowed free rein in the first place.

The show must go on...

And, for now, the inane red-carpet, black-clad showboating.

Let’s stop getting poor lobsters in hot water

Switzerland (good for it!) has become the first country to ban the boiling of live lobsters as a means of killing/cooking them.

I am not a scientist. But I would assume that for any living creature to be heated in a pan of boiling water has to be, at some point, very uncomfortable. If lobsters were cats or rabbits or puppies we’d be rightly outraged at the very thought. Just because a creature has a hard shell doesn’t mean it doesn’t have feelings.

We pride ourselves here on caring about animals. So time to take a lead from the Swiss? And stand up for the lobsters, then.

‘Sexy’ Irish accent is still the one true voice

The world’s sexiest accents are always an interesting talking point and according to, which I think is a London-based concern, right now at number one is the English accent.

As we say in Belfast — aye, right. The Irish accent, which I’m assuming is of cross-border amalgam, comes in at number four. After, inexplicably, the French and Italians.

Yet this same Irish accent has also been unanimously voted ‘the sexiest in the UK’ in the same poll. So why the overall fallback?

Never mind an Irish Language Act. Do we not need an Irish Accent Act?

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