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MADDEAUX: Oscar ACLU ribbon fail

Sabrina Maddeaux is calling out the ACLU blue ribbon Oscar fail. GETTY

Sabrina Maddeaux is calling out the ACLU blue ribbon Oscar fail. GETTY


Why the ACLU ribbons failed at Oscars On Sunday night, the Oscars red carpet saw the usual parade of glam gowns and dapper tuxedos. But you may have noticed something else on the carpet, though: many celebrities sporting blue ribbons pinned to their formal wear. The trend was embraced by the likes of Karlie Kloss, Ruth Negga and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Unlike much of what happens on a typical red carpet, the blue ribbons were meant to convey an important message. They symbolized support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has played a major role in opposing some of Donald Trump's more controversial policies. Apparently, the ACLU reached out to all nominees in the major categories before the big night.

While intentions were good, it's unfortunately hard to describe this campaign as anything more than quaint. For starters, very few people even knew what the blue ribbons meant, including more than a few television reporters on the carpet. Today, the web is full of articles explaining to confused viewers what exactly those ribbons stand for.

Hot tip: If no one understands what your "protest" means, it's not much of a protest.

It was a way for celebrities to appear politically attuned while risking very little. Wearing a ribbon is not exactly a radical act. The gesture seems hollow when embraced by actors who refuse to speak about politics out of fear of controversy; don't engage in any meaningful form of activism; and likely, don't put their money where their mouth (or in this case, ribbon) is when it comes to supporting progressive candidates and issues.

Even less impressive were the stars who didn't want to mar their pretty dresses and big moments, opting to wait until they changed for the after parties to pin theirs on.

 Looking at you, Emma Stone.

The ribbon campaign does little except contribute to the misconception that true change can be achieved with minimal effort and risk. That ribbons, online petitions and changing your Facebook profile photo for a week matter. That slacktivism can ease your own feelings of guilt for not caring or not doing more.

We need fewer symbolic protests and more actual ones. The recent women's marches were a worthy step in the right direction. Words matter. Actions matter. Money matters.

If celebrities want to use their powerful platforms and mass exposure to send political messages, that's great. However, simply dipping one's toe into tepid political waters does not an activist make.

Want to read more from Sabrina? Follow her on Twitter @SabrinaMaddeaux