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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Artists, not just arm candy

Award show season is a weird construct of the entertainment industry that we, the non-famous masses, watch yearly to bask in the perfectly airbrushed and styled awe of film and television celebrities. The shows begin with hours of red-carpet coverage of what the stars are wearing and – if you’re a man – what you’re working on. 

Hollywood is complicit in perpetuating a double-standard of image- and gender-based value. Men wear tuxes and are taken seriously; women wear Zac Posen and try not to trip while they’re getting badgered about their outfit choices — but not their accomplishments. Women continue to be stylized objects, there for aesthetic and not intellectual worth.

Morning television is not primetime nightly news, but there is still a degree of professionalism there. In 2014, Australian morning anchor Karl Stefanovic wore the SAME suit for the entire year (he dry-cleaned it) to illustrate sexism in fashion and media representation. His co-anchor, Lisa Wilkinson, wears a different outfit every day and is still criticized in the media for looking frumpy or overly sexy. There is no winning for her.

This Golden Globes, George Clooney received a lifetime achievement award. He also was recently awarded a woman way out of his league. Amal Alamuddin, internationally acclaimed barrister and human rights attorney, wed Clooney four months prior and has since been referred to as “George Clooney’s wife.”

With accolades and accomplishments such as working on the Enron case, being consulted by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and working on a three-person commission to investigate war violations in the Gaza Strip, you’d think that reporters on the red carpet could look past her flawless Dior gown and timeless gloves and ask her something relevant. Maybe about the then-very recent Charlie Hebdo attacks or the massive human rights crimes happening in Nigeria with Boko Haram?

Nope. Even as an Oxford-educated lawyer licensed in both the U.S. and Britain, she was just arm candy doomed to be incredibly bored for 3-4 hours at the Beverly Hilton. 

In an article published just after the Golden Globes, the Onion mocked Hollywood’s fashion obsession by mandating that “all celebrities wear identical gray full-body unisex jumpsuits [to achieve] the intended goal of refocusing the ceremony on the craft of acting and filmmaking.”

Complete with a photoshopped image of Lena Dunham, Ryan Seacrest, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Matthew McConaughey, the post emphasized what a waste of time most of the coverage is.

Hollywood might consider adopting the mandatory outfits strategy, if not to save a tiny bit of money each season, but also to confuse entertainment reporters into conducting actual interviews.

Obviously, there are a lot of problems in Hollywood — heyyyyy, #OscarsSoWhite — but they should start by asking women actual questions at events such as the Golden Globes, especially in a year with so many powerful female winners.

This year, we had Patricia Arquette representing single moms with “Boyhood,” Gina Rodriguez celebrating Latina women in her acceptance speech for “Jane the Virgin,” the entire cast and team behind “Transparent” highlighting the incredibly important lives of trans women, Amy Adams reminding us that women need allies, Joanne Froggatt emphasizing the importance of hearing victims of rape, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey criticizing and calling out Bill Cosby, and Maggie Gyllenhaal challenging any male doubt that women are, in fact, people. 

Women have stories. So, let’s hear them.

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Nick Havey is a junior studying physiology and Spanish. Follow him on Twitter.

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