Should Meher Tatna Have Worn Red to the Golden Globes?

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The question everyone is asking, “Should Meher Tatna have worn Red to the Golden Globe Awards ceremony?

The last year has seen phenomenal movements in the fight against sexual harassment and gender inequality. Many actresses and female members of the media made public statements of their personal struggles with both harassment and abuse – sparking the #MeToo movement. Time magazine even chose to award Person of the Year to the ‘The Silence Breakers’ instead of just one person in 2017. 

In an effort to keep the conversations going and the movement strong, some of Hollywood’s leading ladies came together to create the TIMES UP campaign. With a mission to “addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential.”

In a silent protest, and as a symbol of solidarity for the TIMES UP movement almost all the women attending the Golden Globes came wearing black. One woman who didn’t was Meher Tatna, a journalist of Indian President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  As an Indian woman who works in digital media, I’m so proud to see an Indian woman in this role, because as Oprah so poignantly reminded us in her epic speech last night – representation matters. If young girls see other Indian/South Asian women in these roles, they can aspire to the same. 

Meher Tatna

Unfortunately, I lost respect for Meher Tatna last night, when she chose to overlook the black dress code of sisterhood and chose to wear red. Putting aside for a minute that wearing red on a red carpet is kind of a faux pas in itself, when Tatna was questioned about wearing red she said; “It’s a cultural thing.” The Indian journalist explained to  Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet, her conscious decision to wear a brightly colored gown and overcoat on an otherwise somber red carpet. “When you have a celebration, you don’t wear black.”

First and foremost, not wearing black to celebration is a superstition, not a cultural norm. It’s completely inappropriate for her to give a statement like this that will be labelled expert commentary about India for years. And even if, for a moment I try understand her belief in superstition, it doesn’t trump solidarity. 

The India I relate to is about sisterhood. It’s about standing up for what’s right and fighting for our rights. I really wish she had not put a lens of superstition over human rights on all Indian women with her statements. 

In closing, if Ms. Meher Tatna ever reads this post, I would want her to know; just like Oprah said her speech, little girls are watching you, and looking up to. I know this, because when I was a little girl who wanted more than anything to be a magazine editor, or actress, or broadcaster, there were no Indian women in those places in North America for me to aspire to or relate too. You have a responsibility to our daughters. I hope that you will show them in the future that you stand for ethics, humanity, and sisterhood first – because that is what being a modern progressive Indian woman is. 

What do you think, should Meher Tatna should have worn red to the Golden Globes? Leave us a comment and join the conversation.

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Raj is an editor at The South Asian Buzz, and the Director of Brand Relations at The South Asian Bloggers Network. She loves to test new recipes, take on over-ambitious home decor projects, and read everything she can get her hands on.

8 COMMENTS

  1. She is the president of the association that put on the award show. Clearly she had this tailor made for this event. I don’t think it is bad for her to stand out as the president at this event.

    Her explanation could have used work. Losing respect seems an over-reaction, or at least an initial reaction that should be pondered more than 12 hours before publishing

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion Aarti. While I appreciate that she had this outfit tailor made, I do believe she could have chosen something else.

      As for my loss of respect, it’s my personal belief that as a journalist, a woman, and an Indian she made the wrong choice of outfit and her statement was out of line, for me that is enough. Beyond that, even if she was choosing not to wear black, she didn’t have to speak for an entire culture and say we don’t wear black to celebrations, it seemed like a cop-out to me.

  2. I totally agree with you, Raj. Unfortunately the way our media works, whatever comes out of an influential Indian person’s mouth is then used to categorize the entire Indian population. This in itself is wrong, but it’s what we have to work with. That’s why what we say on a global stage is important! She could have simply said, “In my family, we don’t wear black to a celebration.”
    Leaving aside that, solidarity is so much more important to me than wanting to dazzle in something colourful. There is a lot to be done in this movement and while some are arguing that what we wear isn’t going to change anything, I would counter by saying anything that garners this much attention to the cause is worth it. And P.S. let’s not kid ourselves – what we wear has ALWAYS been part of the conversation as some men have used this as an excuse to do what they wish. Thank you for writing this!

  3. Her excuse was weak no doubt. However, I do think this whole situation has been blown a little out of proportion, in terms of your article losing respect etc. etc. and other media outlets as well… I don’t think her wearing red means she supports sexual abuse of women in the work place. Granted she did not express solidarity the way that was “asked” of her. I find the incessant need for conformity in our ecosystem counterproductive to the very cause.

    • Hi Anab,
      Thanks for sharing your feedback. To clarify, I was in no way saying that by not wearing black she was supporting sexual abuse. I just feel she missed an opportunity to stand against it a very powerful way. As for losing respect – it is gained and lost by an individuals actions, and for me Ms. Tatna’s lack of action was enough to lose respect.

  4. I think that was just an excuse! I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt by learning more about what she has done to support women in the workplace and elsewhere, but it definitely seems like a silly thing to say as a reason!

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