“That’s like someone being like, ‘I don’t really believe in cars, I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it” – Amy Poehler on women who renounce feminism.
This Parks and Recreation star is certainly an inspirational woman, from her successful acting career and comedic skills to her best-selling Novel, Amy Poehler is a force to be reckoned with; especially when it comes to the topic of feminism. Not only has Poehler started the “Smart Girls” program to inspire young women to rise above typical gender ideals, but she has also uses her fame and influence to create a public stance against sexism, making great strives to change perspectives nationwide.
While Poehler hosted the Golden Globes this past January she launched a campaign to put a stop to anodyne questions that women are repetitively asked on the red carpet. Her presence illuminated the night and her views shined a light on the red carpet gender-gap. Poehler stated, “The Red Carpet is open and we want the media to #AskHerMore! Let’s go beyond ‘Who are you wearing?’ and ask better questions!”. The campaign looks ahead to put an end to the usual surface level question about fashion and beauty, and replace them with a deeper inquisition.
“This movement #AskHerMore, have you heard of it? It’s meant to inspire reporters to ask creative questions on the red carpet. I love the Oscars AND fashion like many of you – & am excited to share #WhoAmIWearing later tonight. But I’d also love to answer some of these Qs….And hear your suggestions?!” Reese Witherspoon posted this on her Instagram. She continues, “There are so many amazing, talented nominees this year..! Let’s hear their stories! Spread the word. #AskHerMore”. This movement carried over from the Golden Globes to the Red carpet of Oscars, a large part due to the foothold it took with celebrities and fans alike on social media. Actresses like Lena Dunham showing their support with tweets like, “Ask her about the causes she supports, not her support garments #oscars #AskHerMore”. This stance didn’t just stay on social media though, it was brought forth in red carpet interviews when women enforced the mindset of asking not what they were wearing, but what they were thinking.
The Red Carpet in certainly the only place where sexist questions are presented, interviews of any sort tend to leave the more intellectual inquisitions for the men and the questions of diet and beauty for the women. It has become a social norm, and until recently, was something most people didn’t give a second thought.
The above photo is from The Avengers Press conference in London, England when a reporter asked actor, Robert Downey Jr. an in-depth question referring to his character growth through the Iron Man movie franchise and then turned to Scarlett Johansson with an inquiry that was less than intellectual.
Reporter: “I have a question to Robert and to Scarlett. Firstly to Robert, throughout Iron Man 1 and 2, Tony Stark started off as a very egotistical character but learns how to fight as a team. And so how did you approach this role, bearing in mind that kind of maturity as a human being when it comes to the Tony Stark character, and did you learn anything throughout the three movies that you made?
“And to Scarlett, to get into shape for Black Widow did you have anything special to do in terms of the diet, like did you have to eat any specific food, or that sort of thing?”
Johansson replied: “How come you get the really interesting existential question, and I get the like, ‘rabbit food’ question?”
Johansson’s response became a popular topic among social media users, inspiring others stop and think about what we should really be asking women. The difference between respect given to men and women in the entertainment business was shown clearly here in this one ignorantly thought-out question.
Many women have begun to take a stance when it comes to the same blasé questions about whats on their bodies, rather than whats in their minds. From a Cat Woman interview where Anne Hathaway turned the tables on a reporter after getting frustrated by his pursuit of the details of her workout regime, aiming the question back on him, “What’s the deal man? You look great. What do you want? Are you trying to fit into a cat suit?” to the Spider Man interview where Emma Stone responded to a question about her blond hair, Andrew Garfield said, “I don’t get asked that.” To which Stone responded, “You get asked interesting, poignant questions because you are a boy.” The reporter then offered an explanation: “It’s sexism,” and Stone agreed: “It’s sexism.” Although things can’t be expected to change overnight these positive vocalizations being taken in the media certainly creates a great place to start. When people in the public eye begin to challenge the way that women are perceived it will inspire others to do the same. So remember to be aware of what information is really important, and don’t forget to #AskHerMore.