Every year, television and movie fans alike get to enjoy seeing their favorite celebrities grace the red carpet at award shows. Whether it’s the Oscars, the Golden Globes, or the Screen Actors Guild awards, there is something for everyone.
Regardless of the awards show, the definition of what is award worthy and artistic is constantly changing- however, there is one thing that seems to be static over time: the way celebrities are addressed on the red carpet.
It’s no secret that male and female celebrities are interviewed differently on the red carpet. Sure, it might be easy to brush this off as tradition, when in fact it is blatant sexism. Although this topic has been addressed countless times before in various media outlets, there continues to be a discrepancy between how male and female stars are questioned. Male celebrities are typically asked about their work- how did they prepare for such a psychologically challenging role, did they shadow someone, or try method acting to get into character; whereas female celebrities are not asked questions like the afore mentioned. Rather, they are asked about appearance: who are you wearing, how did you lose weight so quickly, who is your stylist?
Unfortunately, this type of question is not only limited to the red carpet. Upworthy compiled a supercut (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRnVpPwyJWg) of interviews with female celebrities where they are repeatedly asked superficial questions about their appearances. From red carpets to entertainment news shows to Comic Con panels, female celebrities’ worth is continuously based upon how they look. Although this is the method interviewers and hosts have been using for years, it’s getting old. In fact, it went stale about fifty years ago when social climate was starting to shift. Yet, here we are, living in modern times while also simultaneously being trapped in the past.
The Upworthy clip showcases a quotation from Hadley Freeman, a journalist for The Guardian, that calls into question this Western practice: “this is a strange pocket of the western world where it is still deemed utterly acceptable to take smart, successful women and reduce them to beauty pageant contestants…”. This quotation is vital to the impact of the clip and is absolutely thought provoking. Why on Earth, when we have in front of us a wonderfully talented, intelligent, and worthy group of women, do we insult them by asking only of their beauty? We know they are talented– every women present has developed a promising career. We know they are intelligent– all of them are well-spoken and many have some sort of degree. We know they are worthy– why else would they be here?
The only reason that might explain this sort of thing is the questionable gender roles that media is boxing women into. However, there is still hope. More and more women, celebrity or not, are questioning the way female stars are treated. But it’s not just female voices that are needed- everyone can contribute to this discussion.
By calling out the degrading nature of the red carpet interview, we can change the way that women are looked at. Instead of being a statuesque vision in a purple dress, women can be intellectual beings who contribute to the discussion about film, the dedication and efforts they put forth, and about what the future holds for them. By speaking out against the negative tactics used when addressing women, a less gendered, less sexist atmosphere can be created where all people are addressed respectably and based on their accomplishments, rather than their outward appearances. When men and women start questioning the way women are treated and spoken to, that only leaves room for progress and a future with no gender stereotypes.
Maddie Gallegos can be reached at email@example.com.