Hollywood’s virtue signaling and political posturing reached an all-time high this week. First, at the 2018 Golden Globes, actors and actresses patted themselves on the back for standing up against a movement triggered by the very problems they enabled. Sounding about as authentic as a sitcom applause soundtrack, the media sat there cheering them on, spending much of the week toasting celebrities for their fake bravery.
And just when you thought the world had used up all its courage and bravery for one week, the press declared Kendall Jenner brave for acknowledging some acne on Twitter. It’s 2018, folks. We’re changing the world.
“Kendall Jenner Is Not Remotely Ashamed to Have Acne, and We Are Here for That,” lauded Bravo, after Jenner had the guts to (gasp) reply to a fan’s encouraging comment about an acne breakout on Twitter. “Kendall Jenner Just Gave the Best Response About Her Acne,” added SELF. “Kendall Jenner Shuts Down Acne Shamers After Golden Globes Appearance,” proclaimed Huffington Post.
never let that shit stop you! https://t.co/uXlqwJxTPf
— Kendall (@KendallJenner) January 8, 2018
Let’s be real: No one likes acne shamers, and no one supports sexual assault. But do any of these actions actually qualify as “brave”?
Jenner, like 50 million other Americans, apparently struggles with acne. Watching her reality show or looking at her Instagram account, however, you’d never know. She clearly has millions of dollars and makeup, stylists and photographers to cover it up. There is nothing wrong with that, but when 49,999,999 other Americans are stuck being themselves, it’s hardly brave to respond to a tweet.
This type of flattery on behalf of the media is nothing new, but it’s increased exponentially as more and more people reject President Trump in favor of being “woke.” The 2016 election was a pivotal moment that changed a lot in our country. It brought not just a new administration, but a new rise in activism. This activism, predominantly by liberals, gets celebrated by their friends in the media, leading to more intense activism, and more media. The cycle is at a bizarre place in America, where walking around with a pimple is considered courageous, and virtue is reduced to reality TV.
Ordinary Americans see through it. They realize there’s nothing brave about responding to a tweet or wearing a black dress on a red carpet. Bravery, to most people, means putting on a uniform in the service of others — acne and all.
An ounce of perspective would allow the Hollywood elite to see that while Jenner is praised for standing up to acne shamers, women in Iran are fighting an oppressive regime that requires them to wear hijabs. Perspective would tell you that while Hollywood chooses to wear black for one night, women in Saudi Arabia are forced — by law — to wear it in the form of a burka every day.
We shouldn’t expect a room full of Hollywood elites to mention issues that stretch beyond themselves. They seldom do. But when the media doubles down and inflates celebrity egos to the point they start believing they’re saving the world from a culture they created, we can and should respond.
Yes, the #TimesUp for men freely harassing and assaulting women. But the #TimeIsAlsoUp for Hollywood enabling it. And the #TimesUp for the media pretending like Hollywood’s little acts of bravery are anything more than nice gestures. While the Hollywood virtue fad gives them an opportunity to high-five each other, real injustices in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and around the world still go unnoticed.
The #TimeIsNow to demand more from celebrities and the media than tweets and black dresses.