thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Archive for the ‘news’ Category

We’ll Eat Our Hats If Interviewers Keep Asking Hillary About Her Clothes

In news on August 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm

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?

Interviewer: Yes.

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

The Oikos University Shooting & The Erasure of Misogyny

In gender, news, Rebound, social justice, violence on April 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

Chelsea B.

I am a very casual consumer of news media. Mostly I find it to be boring and upsetting, and I get what I need from my Twitter and Facebook feeds without having to filter through substandard reporting or redundant articles. However, earlier this week an article that I would qualify as “news-y” stood out to me in my internet wanderings as I had yet to see the story mentioned on any of my social media. The article is titled, “What Made One Goh, the Oikos University Shooter, Snap?” and is authored by Dara Kerr of The Daily Beast.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rebound: Texts from Hillary

In news, Rebound on April 12, 2012 at 11:02 am

Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became a meme! Have you seen Texts from Hillary? It is hilarious. Apparently Clinton (aka “Hillz”) thought so too. She even invited the Texts from Hillary guys to the White House and wrote her own Text from Hillz.

But much like a beautiful shooting star, this meme was only crossing through our stratosphere for a brief time. TTYL indeed, oh pioneers! In the aftermath of the phenomenon that was our Lady of Clinton’s imaginary digital conversations, we at GLG sift through the sands of the hourglass and ponder our own mortality–and also, the Secretary of State’s viral Internet fame.

A-mazing.

First thoughts on Texts from Hillary:

Phoebe: So, I think these are hilarious and also kind of bad ass. And, I love that Clinton appears to love them too and has a sense of humor about herself. I feel like the picture of her laughing with the two guys from Texts from Hillary is awesome and shows a very different side of her than I feel like we have been privy to before. I also love that she composed her own one. I have never quite known what to think of her, although I have always respected her, but I feel like this Tumblr and her response to it have made me a fan. Plus, she does appear to be a pretty darn good Secretary of State too. But seriously, I think this side of Hillary is one (as Sarah goes on to say below) that counters and plays with the media-constructed image of her during the 2008 primaries, which was extra serious. And, I think it is great that in the photo of her on a military jet, everyone else seems to be heading for an exit or trying to get off the plane but Hillary is still working away.

Sarah T: I’m a longtime mega-fan of Hillary. She’s like Mama Rose! She never gives up! You either have it or you’ve had it! The ambition and the glory and the disappointment and the striving! I could go on forever, and I would like to see a biopic based on Hillary’s life and future presidency ASAP. So I was thrilled to see a Tumblr that celebrated her wry dominance at life. In all of the Texts from Hillary posts she’s in a position of power and wisdom — turning down Stewart because she’s already booked Colbert, rejecting friend requests, keeping Biden and Obama in line with their Bieber-fandom, advising Romney to drink up. I mean, she’s even got the Pretty Little Liars on a string.

What’s also great about the meme is that rather than punish her for being a powerful and ambitious woman — as the media did throughout the 2008 primaries — it celebrates her by making her look cool. Founders Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith chose an image of her that showcases her authority (she’s on a military jet, surrounded by paperwork and people in business suits) and her unflappable attitude (her shades, her mouth set in a no-nonsense line, the one-handed texting suggesting that her facility and hipness with technology). But she also looks like a mom (my mom!) with her brooch and blazer and hair-flip. The meme suggests that she’s a leader, a person who has Got It Together, but also a real human being with warmth and humor and sassy attitude. So it’s no surprise that it’s sparked fresh conversations about 2016. If her (hypothetical) campaign team can replicate this version of Hillary in their PR, they’re in business.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rebound: Samantha Brick and Beauty

In body politics, gender, news, Rebound on April 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

Chelsea B.

I want to draw your attention–again, I’m sure–to Ms. Brick, who has been impossible to miss on the internet this week. The condensed version of the story goes like this: Samantha Brick wrote an article for Daily Mail titled “‘There Are Downsides to Looking This Pretty’: Why Women Hate Me for Being Beautiful.” As is unsurprising, based simply on the title, people reacted strongly to her claims.

My concern with the whole debacle begins when Brick says in a televised interview:

‘People mistake self-confidence for arrogance […] But it’s a fact that women are not nice to one another.  They all stab each other in the backs in my experience.’

Disagreeing strongly, [Ruth Langsford of ITV] interrupted to suggest that rather than her beauty being the factor that creates instant enemies of other women when she enters a room, perhaps it is actually her arrogance and ‘air of superiority’.

I wholeheartedly agree with Langsford, one of the interviewers, that it is great that Ms. Brick is confident in her own attractiveness but problematic that she assumes and continuously asserts that women dislike her before even speaking to her based solely on her appearance. In other words, Brick is dismissive of anyone identifying as female, insulting their intelligence, compassion, and capacity for forming meaningful relationships based solely on a few personal experiences in which she believes she was mistreated by other women due to her attractiveness. Read the rest of this entry »