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This year’s Academy Awards were dubbed the ‘Feminist Oscars’ by some, after various actresses took the opportunity to highlight Feminist issues on the night.
Best Actress winner Patricia Arquette used her acceptance speech to advocate for equal pay, while Reese Witherspoon gave a nod to the ‘Ask Her More’ campaign, which promotes asking female celebrities more relevant questions on the red carpet.
Because, let’s face it, actresses get asked some hella weird stuff while they’re trying to get into award shows, questions that are almost never asked of their male counterparts. In fact, for any female red carpet show guest, the whole thing can be a soul-destroying meat market, packed with slavering photographers and fawning interviewers grilling them about their ‘work-life balance’.
In recent years, some actresses have begun to step up the ‘calling journalists out on their red carpet bullshit’ campaign. Like Cate Blanchett at last year’s Golden Globes, who sure as hell wasn’t putting up with the camera lasciviously panning up and down her body like a pervy dude at a bus stop.
Or Elisabeth Moss, who told E’s Giuliana Rancic – once again at the Golden Globes – that there was ‘something (she) wanted to do last time’ when confronted with the ‘mani-cam’. Rancic told her to go ahead, at which point Moss flipped the mani-cam off like a boss.
Also, ‘mani-cam’? Seriously? That’s like the most micro-invasive thing ever. ‘Remember ladies, you better turn up to the show with every single inch of you buffed, polished and jazzled, cause we’re going to make you stick bits of yourself right up to the goddamn camera and judge the hell out of you.’
(The only thing I like about this business is that they’ve actually bothered to make the little mani-cam area into a mini red carpet replica, so you could sashay across it with your fingers if you so desired. That’s adorable, in a strange, doll’s house kinda way).
It’s also pretty common for actresses to get asked about their underwear when they’re on the red carpet. That’s right, their underwear. Their smalls, their pants, their knickers, if you will. Their unmentionables are constantly being mentioned. Usually in this vein: ‘so, what crazy contraption are you wearing under that dress to suck in all your wobbly bits?’
One gets the impression that they’d very much like to bring out the ‘undies-cam’ and waft it under everybody’s skirts.
Again, seriously? You’ve got thirty seconds to a minute to interview an incredibly accomplished, possibly Oscar/BAFTA/Golden Globe nominated actress, and out of all the thousands of possible questions you could put to her, you’re going to waste precious time asking about her scanties?
To truly get to grips with just how ridiculous asking Cate ‘Galadriel’ Blanchett about her Spanx really is, imagine what it would be like if men were asked the same questions as women while they’re on the red carpet. In fact, we don’t have to imagine, because Buzzfeed put those same questions to Kevin Spacey when they ran into him on the red carpet last year.
‘Man, Buzzfeed is so fucked up, you guys are so fucked up,” Spacey affably intones.
Well, you’ve hit the nail on the proverbial head, Mr Spacey – it is a little fucked up to ask celebrities about their underwear. But why does it take seeing questions regularly put to female celebrities put to a man instead to make everybody realise just how ridiculous the whole thing is?
It seems as though actresses, particularly those who have been on the awards show circuit for quite a while now, are finally reaching the end of their tether with this particular brand of insidious celebrity sexism.
By all means, interviewers, ask Reese Witherspoon about her dress – it’s an amazing dress, after all. But after that ask her about the film she’s just been in, the film she’s about to be in, which of her impressive accomplishments she is most proud of, which filmmakers she would most like to work with in the future, and literally any other question that isn’t about how huge her knickers are, or how many cans of hairspray it took to get that beehive to stay up.