Do you think that the Red Carpet is sexist?

By Monday, January 19, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0

What is your first thought when you think about Red Carpet events? Is it movies, glamour and fashion? Well those three things were my first associations when I made up my mind about such events. Apparently the people behind the youtube channel Upworthy have a very strong opinion about such happenings and don’t like the fact that actresses are getting asked about what dresses they are wearing on the carpet. The description below the video says ‘This is what bright, successful, accomplished women are asked on the Red Carpet. Sigh.’

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Besides the fact that this one man asks a very inappropiate question about the undergarment situation of Scarlett Johannson the questions are focused on the outerwear. But at the end of the video you see a quote by the american journalist Hadley Freeman that says ‘In this strange pocket of the western world where it is still deemed utterly to take smart, successful women and reduce them to beauty pageant contestants…’ which obviously referes to the main message of this video that people should ask better questions on the Red Carpet and that there’s kind of a sexist culture practice going on on the Red Carpet.

See, this is the point where I do not agree at all. I’m not saying I don’t agree with the quote, because I do agree with that. I think it is true that women get often reduced to how they look and that needs to stop! But to take this discussion on the Red Carpet is just wrong place in my eyes. And before you judge me, I’m going explain why I think so.

The problem with feminism

I mean if you like to say so you can call me a feminist. Even though I am not a fan of that paticular term though, I fully support what it stands for. To clear things up, I just believe in equal opportunities for everybody and it doesn’t even matter what gender you have, or any other biological features do not make any difference about how you should treat people in the first place.

And that is the exact reason why I’m not a fan of the term feminism, I’d rather prefer the term gender equality because it’s a gender neutral word that doesn’t highlight or discriminate against any gender, may it be female, male or anything inbetween. Yeah, I know that was a long explanation, but since this is a very sensitive topic, I am well aware that I might would have shocked some of you guys by just saying ‘I’m not a fan of the word feminism.’ Well anyway, I think by now I made it clear that I just want everybody to be happy and not be discriminated against because discrimination by any form is just EW, so stop it!

What are the Red Carpet events good for?

Anyway, long story short, what I want to say is that with the only one exception – the question about the underwear situation – the video above neither has nothing to do with sexism nor does it make sense to ask ‘better’ questions. I mean, do you (and in my head I’m talking to the Upworthy guys) know what Red Carpet events are here for? Of course people talk about their projects, their movie role, their album, the reason why they’re attending the event and what they expect blablabla we all get that, but they’re also here to present themselves and with that comes questions about their dress, their suits and so on. So what do we see here? Fashion plays a huge part on the Red Carpet and one thing to open a conversation about just that is to pay a compliment to your dialog partner or ask him or her what they’re wearing. What is wrong about that? Besides the fact that there’s just nothing wrong about that, it makes me feel really uncomfortable that this screwed up video mixes up so many topics, throws it into one bowl and demands better questions on the Red Carpet, hiding behind the argument that anything else would be sexism. I mean that is so messed up!

Name dropping at Prime Time

Fistly, as I already stated that all these Red Carpet events mainly exist as a plattform for the fashion that’s happening in that occasion and if you have a look at the history of Red Carpet events, you can tell that the more attention the media was paying to fashion, the bigger the Red Carpet events became. Actually these Red Capret events are a kind of pre-event to the real happening, let’s say the annual Academy Awards. So the Red Carpet event is just a staged situation that comes along when people enter a venue. In my opinion the Red Carpet events are the perfect occasion to talk about something light and easy like fashion and a bunch of other stuff just to give viewers an impression of the atmosphere and the vibe of the event. So why on earth not ask this paticular actress – who just happens to look gorgeous – about who she’s wearing? What’s equally if not more important, these actresses and actors, they all have deals with those major fashion brands going on! They have to talk about what they’re wearing in order to be able to borrow that haute couture dress or that gazillion diamond necklace! That’s a businessdeal and nothing more. Basically in my opinion that has really nothing to do with sexism! If you ask me that’s capitalism, well there’s tonns of money involved and one hand washes another. The actresses and actors get to borrow fancy clothes in order to talk about it and say how much they love it. They look good in it and therefore they’re the perfect brand ambassador for those luxury brands. And the only reason that women are more in the limelight of the Red Carpets is that the female fashion industry is much bigger than the menswear fashion industry. I mean if you ask me you could also call it sexism that men have less to chose from than women! Or that men always have to take the stairs to the first floor to find clothes and women have the comfort of just entering a store and start choosing from the ground floor. But do I worry about that? No, not really.

Anyway, do you think Red Carpet events are sexist (if you do not get asked about your underwear, no matter what gender you are)? Do you think the reporters should abandon all fashion related questions at those events and ask better questions? If so what kind of questions and why do you think there should be no fashion related questions on the red carpet at all?

I mean if you ask me, I’m all for a discrimination free world where everybody can enjoy equal opportunities and gets treated the same way no matter what gender you have or you prefer. But calling out Red Carpet reporters to ask ‘better’ questions and hide behind an alleged sexist motivation is just dumb to me.

And see here we have the messed up situation: Do we only talk about the Red Carpet Events? Do we also talk about press conferences as well? What is the point of this video? So here are my suggestions:

Let’s still continue to talk about fashion on the Red Carpet. I don’t care if they’re female or male, if they look good, I want to know who made that garment or that suit. That has nothing to do with sexism or gender in my opinion it is just letting the viewer know some light hearted facts before you get to know the more important facts, like who was the winner of that award show.

So let’s talk about the press conferences or the press room interviews: This dude who was talking to Scarlett and Anne Hathaway was asking inappropirate questions hands down, you can’t say anything else about that. I mean there might be a scenario (I don’t know what kind of though) where it would be appropriate to ask a question like that, but in this paticular situation where the guy asks Scareltt Johannson about her undies his goal was (and that is very biased assumption from me) to let the viewers know whether or not Scarlett was just naked under her black cat suit or not (I guess they took this sequence out of an interview about the movie ‘Lucy’ in which she wears some black tight suit).

I think if we only talked about those kind of interviews and just leave the fashion out of this, it would be really interesting to analyze what kind of sexist questions actresses and actors are getting asked and how people respond.

And I have one last advice for people who don’t want to see successful women getting asked questions about fashion on the Red Capret: Don’t watch it! There are tonns of other stuff and other interviews with these accomplished Hollywood actresses where they talk about something else than fashion. And I’m not judging the Upworthy people, all I am saying is that this paticular video mixes up a lot of different topics into one and that would lead to many different discussions.

Having said that, the video serves as a great opener for a discussion about sexism in the entertainment world. Do you agree?

Also I had a look at their website and they do talk about a lot of empowering and positive topics and stand up for important causes that I fully support. That’s all I have to say on that topic!

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