Apparently there was a revolt against one of the dumbest televised forms of ignominy in modern history at the SAG awards. I'm kind of sorry I missed the uprising against the E! network's "mani cam."
If you are not aware of the mani cam, it's a small box display fitted with a macro lens. When Hollywood starlets hit the red carpets at award shows, E! news correspondents ask the starlets to strut their fingers in front of the mani cam. The purpose, I guess, is to show off the manicures and rings/bracelets worn by the starlets.
Yes, it is inane. Yes, it does reduce women to silly, girly, superficial mannequins adorned with luxury items. Yes, it is insulting and silly and superficial. Its all marketing. Designers, jewelers, desperately vie for the top leading ladies' bodies on which their wares are shown. Actresses on the red carpet are billboards for luxury brands.
And that's why the Mani Cam Revolt, while a good start, is nowhere near enough restitution for the decades of inequality and subjugation of women in the entertainment industry.
I am a fan of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girl movement.
I do support the sentiment. It should be obvious to anyone who's read five sentences written by me that I support anything that lauds females' using their brains.
shows are stupid.
I won't go so far as to say smart girls don't watch award shows. Heck, I've watched a few of them. I've been
sucked into the Oscars, especially when movies I particularly like make
it to the nominations. I love movies – the story telling, the art
direction, the film editing,
the special effects - and every two or three years I watch the Oscars.
But. If I were advising young women as to how to spend their down time, "watching entertainment industry award shows" wouldn't be one of the top options I would suggest.
If I were asked to place a wager on how smart girls spend their down time, "watching entertainment industry award shows" wouldn't be my choice for a sure bet.
The Mani Cam Revolt was the right message, but the SAG awards was wrong venue to draw a line in the sand. The SAG awards are solely for actors. SAG awards
are not for the writers, art directors, script editors, costume
designers, financial managers,
production managers, or anyone ( male or female) who has to use gray
matter for creatively and/or analytically to perform the
responsibilities required of them in the making of a movie or television
show. SAG awards are for the actors who put on the costumes
designed by someone else, go to a set designed, engineered and built by
someone else, take direction from someone else, and read lines written
by someone else while being filmed by someone else.
know the acting community will have conniptions over this, and I know, I
know, the Meryl Streeps, Gregory Pecks, Myrna Loys and Charlie
Chaplains bring an intelligence, creativity and craft to movies that
speaks to a higher level of intellect
and emotional insight. They’re doing more than just reading words on a
page. I know this and I acknowledge the hard work, awareness and insight
required to dig deep and evoke feelings from the viewing audience.
It’s a team effort and the actors are the members of the team who carry out the PR role.
the writers, directors, camera crew, editors etc., the Meryl Streeps
and Gregory Pecks would need to find other forms of income.
of girls and young women (and a lot of not so young women) tune into
award shows and are dazzled by the clothes, jewelry and hair. The craft
of acting gets lost in all the appearance-aspects that are the fallout
of money and fame.
that is a shame (and a sham). I understand how someone like Amy
Poehler - an intelligent, funny, creative woman very capable of original
thought and creative innovation in a male dominate industry - would
become weary, frustrated and
insulted by inane questions about her clothes and makeup.
But. She works in an industry where beauty trumps brains for those in front of the camera, while those deemed unattractive are relegated to the other side of the camera, never to be seen by the public. As much as I would like to see that change, it's not going to change any time soon. As much as I would like to see writers, editors, costume designers, art directors, production managers, financiers - women and men - receive as much (or more) recognition as the actors, I know that's not going to happen until there is a huge societal shift away from physical appearance as a benchmark of success.
Here's an idea, Amy. If you don’t like the game propose a change in the rules or play a
different game. I’m not saying stop acting or get out of the biz. I’m
saying: The reason you’re being asked to strut your manicure and jewelry
on the mani cam is because you’re
wearing a dress that costs thousands of dollars and jewelry that would
pay several semesters of college tuition for smart girls in the home
how to change the rules: Put your money where your mouth is when
planning your outfits for award shows. If you truly want the vapid E!
News industry shills to ask insightful questions that have nothing to do
with your appearance,
go to Ann Taylor or Macy’s and buy a $148 dress (less if you have a
coupon or buy on a Super Saturday) or a nice skirt and top, or a pant
suit. Wear sensible, comfortable, shoes. Don’t wear expensive jewelry.
Wear your “normal woman going to the accounts payable department at the office” makeup and
hair. Dress like the rest of us women who have jobs that
require us to use our brains and create, analyze and produce.
and I realize this is cavalier thinking here, skip the red carpet walk
of superficial shame entirely. Go to the award show, support your industry
if you want, but I’m pretty sure there are side and back entrances. I
don’t think you have
to walk the red carpet to attend the event.
if you really want to make a statement about the E! News inanity, walk
the red carpet but snub the offending interviewers. Don’t stop for them,
just walk into the event without talking to the people who are only
interested in your clothes,
jewelry, hair and makeup.
Problem solved. The interviewers on the red carpet won't be given the chance to ask questions that insult your intelligence.
Another way to solve the problem of women being asked stupid, superficial questions? Give the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes the same air time and relevance as entertainment awards. Line the red carpet with actual journalists.
Boring, you say? Not glamorous, you say? Maybe. But it would celebrate smart women, and smart men, and would take the focus away from superficial topics like designer gowns and expensive jewelry.
Of course I long for a world where brains are more revered than beauty. Of course I'd prefer a world where women are asked about more intelligent topics than their dress or the man they are accompanying to the event.
But I'm also longing for a world where award shows celebrate people who write and create and discover and solve problems, rather than actors who merely portray people who write, create, discover and solve.
Yes, #askhermore, but, that's just the beginning. After you ask her more, really listen to her response. Give her more career opportunities, celebrate her cerebral accomplishments, pay her a salary equal to her male equivalents. Respect her for who she is, not how she looks.
The best way to do that? Instead of demanding to be asked more, take the lead and offer the information.
Ultimately, the point is to shift the focus from
superficial inanities starlets are asked to any topic that requires an IQ in
the triple digits. So, here’s the tactic I would like to see employed. When on
the red carpet at entertainment award shows. When an E! correspondent (or
anyone else) asks an actor to take a stroll in the mani cam or asks her “who
she’s wearing,” the actor responds to the question they would prefer to be
asked. Here’s a script Amy and other actors can use.
E! correspondent: “Amy Poehler! Hi! What a gorgeous dress!
Who are you wearing?!”
Amy Poehler: “The percentage of college educated woman
voluntarily leaving the workforce has been on a staggering increase in the past
E! correspondent: [long blank stare]
Amy Poehler: “Certainly the high cost of child care is the
leading factor, and the inequality of wages between men and women persists, so
naturally it makes more financial sense for women to surrender their careers
instead of men, but that only explains part of the statistic.”
E! correspondent: “Nice chatting with you, oh look! It’s
Scarlett Johansson! Scarlet! Scarlet! That ring is to die for! Show it off in
our mani cam!!”
Scarlett Johansson: “There’s a research group in Chicago who
are compiling results from cancer studies around the world. Their efforts to
create a collaborative cancer research database not only helps research teams network and
compare data, it is resulting in cross-purposing medications and treatments. Oncologists, bio-chemists, geneticists, to name a few, from all
over the world, are sharing information on research, treatments and patient
E! correspondent: [hears the producer telling the editor to
cut to Gary Busey on camera 3]