Recently, UniteWomen.org posted a picture of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her response to an interviewer asking what designers she wears. Here’s the text:
Hillary Clinton on what designers she wears:
Interviewer: Okay. Which designers do you prefer?
Hillary Clinton: What designers of clothes?
Hillary Clinton: Would you ever ask a man that question?
Interviewer: Probably not. Probably not.
Probably not indeed. The Secretary of State is not the first woman to respond in this way to similarly dumb questions as of late. Anne Hathaway and Scarlett Johansson both recently made news when they called interviewers out for asking only about their pre-superheroine diets and costumes. And a few months back, Ashley Judd wrote a scathing op-ed wherein she slammed the Huffington Post for printing an article that discussed her puffy face. (She was sick! But that’s not the point). Judd pointed out the problematic reduction of female stars to their bodies and outfits, wherein their male counterparts are consistently asked to talk about character development, acting, and things actually pertinent to the film or TV show at hand.
Objectifying women is, of course, nothing new. The latest backlash, however, does seem to be new–and exciting.
Fashion is important to talk about: it’s political and meaningful. But why reporters ask about the Secretary of State’s clothing when it has no bearing on her job has everything to do with our society’s expectations about women, and the pre-set scripts we use to talk to and about powerful women.
Here are some of our thoughts on the recent trend of high-profile women calling out sexism during their interviews. Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments!
Sarah T: I love that the trend of women calling out their interviewers is drawing attention to the sexist underpinnings of seemingly innocuous questions. On the surface, a question about your workout routine or who designed your blazer or whatever just seems so dumb it’s not even worth getting into. So I think in the past, women have tended to just gloss over the question, avoid conflict, and move on. And that’s a completely valid tactic. But I love the way Hillary asks the interviewer if he would ask a man that same question. She directly confronts the double standard of the topics the media expects men and women to talk about. Anne Hathaway takes a more sarcastic (and hilarious) approach when her interviewer starts prying about her diet and exercise, turning the tables on him and starting to interrogate him about why he’s so interested — “We need to talk about this. Are you trying to fit into a catsuit?” That makes me laugh so much. Continue reading
* spoilers ahead *
Cat burglars are the Condé Nast editors of the criminal underworld. Sleek and sharp and clad in black, they’re surrounded by riches but too cool to be fazed by them. They don’t come much classier than Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle: from her blowout and pearl choker to the four-inch gold stilettos that double as daggers, this Catwoman positively oozes swank.
But at the end of the day, after she’s backflipped out her last mansion window, she returns to a modest walkup in an unfashionable neighborhood. She even has a roommate: a petite, scraggly blonde who appears to be some combination of friend and lover. Kyle grew up with nothing, in and out of juvenile detention, and today even jewel thievery can’t help her work her way up the ladder. After she’s finished distributing profits from her stolen goods to all the criminals with whom she’s in deep, Kyle barely has enough dough left over to form a cracker.
That’s the triple class tension at the heart of the best character in The Dark Knight Rises. Kyle must maintain the appearance of class in order to gain access to the homes and pockets of Gotham’s self-satisfied fat cats. But her economic reality is far from posh. Given the circumstances, it’s no surprise that she’s pro-class warfare. Her speech to billionaire Bruce Wayne is so Occupy, she might as well be delivering it via the people’s mic:
“You think this can last? There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches. Because when it hits, you’re all going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”
(This post is an outgrowth of a conversation begun with the wonderful Jeni and Bethany—shout-out to you two!)
Do you love your work? Does love sometimes feel like work? Does work interfere with loving your life? The Anne Hathaway-Jim Sturgess film One Day prompts such questions, particularly if you attend a showing at a work-focused personal moment.
One Day is a love story, but because that story covers twenty years in the lives of Emma (Hathaway) and Dexter (Sturgess), the movie is also necessarily about their careers. The two meet on the day of their college graduation, and meet again most July 15ths thereafter. They’re best friends, with a current of mutual attraction that occasionally surges forth only to be clobbered back by fear or circumstance or plot demands. Emma is a sarcastic, self-deprecating writer whose mad bangs and owlish specs can’t hide her radiance. (Why oh why does dowdy in the movies equal Anne Hathaway with poofy hair? She’d be a knockout with Marge Simpson hair, no?) Dexter, by contrast, is a charismatic, wealthy, dashing ladies’ man. Things come easily to him, which is more of a problem than it first appears, because then what do you do when things start getting hard?
If you have seen any romantic movie ever, you can guess whether or not they eventually get together. Correct: they do not! They each marry elephants. No, that’s Water for Elephants. Maybe. I don’t actually know what Water for Elephants is about because I haven’t read it or seen the movie, because ever since I read this article about elephants I get really sad and worried whenever I think about them. Anyway, yes, love is in the stars here, but stars are really far away. The careers of Emma and Dexter, much like their romantic lives, follow a winding trajectory. Continue reading