Actress and screenwriter Anna Brüggemann and other high-profile German stars are calling on female festival attendees to eschew constricting designer gowns and high heels in favor of comfortable outfits. Dubbed #NobodysDoll, the movement aims to prevent women from being subjected to the red carpet’s “patriarchal gaze” and to treat them like “artists, not dolls,” according to comments Brüggemann made to The Guardian.
“Women are expected to squeeze into tight-fitting, low-cut dresses and totter on impossible heels in order to serve the gaze of those who’ll judge whether they are marketable or not,” she told the British newspaper. “It’s time we had different images to look up to, of headstrong, unconventional women.”
Brüggemann, who said she intended to wear sneakers and a turtleneck sweater paired with a skirt, added that she was inspired by similar sartorial stances in response to #MeToo and #TimesUp. But #NobodysDoll takes things a step further by encouraging attendees to re-examine how their ensemble affects their body image.
“When #MeToo happened and all these beautiful Hollywood actresses said, ‘It’s time for more equal rights, and we should all be feminists,’ I thought, well, equality begins when we women really stop thinking about our bodies as something we have to improve,” Brüggemann said.
“My campaign is about asking when does a woman become that object that men feel they have the right to take for themselves, to decide everything from how she looks, to how low-cut her outfit is.”
Brüggemann also clarified that attendees should wear what they like, whether it’s sweats and flats or a glam straight-off-the-runway number.
“Low-cut gowns [are welcome] as well, if that’s your thing,” she said. “The main thing is that the actress feels comfortable in it.”
Though a few virtual critics have mocked its feminist intent, #NobodysDoll has seen some support online.
“This is brilliant,” one admirer tweeted. “Red carpets are such a stark visual reminder of the inequality of physical standards. They need a good shake-up from women with the balls to do it.”
About 70 film industry figures have backed the campaign, though the Berlin Film Festival has resisted other nods to the #MeToo movement. Organizers declined to replace the red carpet with a black version, and they’ve been criticized for inviting a South Korean filmmaker accused of sexual assault. Scheduled panels will address sexual misconduct in the film industry, however.
Also known as the Berlinale, the festival starts Thursday and is expected to welcome stars like Greta Gerwig and Tilda Swinton.
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