According to the people behind the #AskHerMore social-media campaign, the red carpet is sexist because reporters ask women about their clothing and appearance more often than they ask men.
“There’s an element of being an actress in Hollywood, it’s like worsening a product,” Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of the Representation Project that started the campaign, told The Hollywood Reporter.
“It’s like you’re a prostitute,” she continued. “It’s like you owe someone something and you don’t.”
The idiocy of her notion that having to deal with someone asking you where you got your bajillion dollar gown is like working in the sex industry is asinine — and so is the idea that these celebrities don’t owe anyone anything in this situation, especially considering how many of them get their gowns for free or even have the designers paying them to wear their clothes.
As New York Times fashion director and critic Vanessa Friedman Tweeted: “Sorry #AskHerMore, but the red carpet is a prison of actresses’ own making. They profited, literally, from it for a long time. #Oscars2015”
And as Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan tweeted, even if they aren’t getting the gown free, the people who made it still deserve some credit: “#askhermore frankly, I’d like to know who’s responsible for the incredible gowns that a village of artisans worked on for 100s of hours.”
After all, most of the big stars’ dresses are custom-designed and custom-made. The talent and hard work of the designers shouldn’t be ignored just because self-righteous movie stars can’t bear the thought of being asked about anything less weighty than their (often uninformed) opinion about what to do in the Middle East.
Gown, hair, makeup, fitness programs — there are entire industries for whom the Oscars is a huge night. People ask about fashion choices because the red carpet is, essentially, a fashion show.
I’m not saying women can’t stand up for themselves if they’re feeling uncomfortable. When Cate Blanchett fired back at an E! cameraman who was panning up and down her body at the SAG awards last year by asking him if he does that to the men, she was totally right to do it. But the idea that you would be offended at someone asking about your dress at a fashion-centered event is arrogant. After all, many of them (looking at you, Arquette!) will find a way to randomly insert their political opinions into their speeches anyway.
People actually do care about what these actresses are wearing. A lot of people get their fashion and beauty tips from celebrities — the amount of television programs, websites, and magazine articles about this very subject proves that. Even if you think being showered with expensive garments and walking around wearing them is really hard or something, do it for your designers or your fans. Or, if the whole thing just offends you too much — just don’t go.