Hollywood’s women more than their dresses

Lena Rawley, staff writer

Every awards season, the women of Hollywood are asked the same questions by a throng of glittery red carpet reporters, over and over: “Who are you wearing?” followed up with a flurry of “How did you get in shape?”, “What are your beauty secrets?”, “Who are you dating?”

In turn, every awards season Hollywood’s women must stand there and field these questions, participating in a discussion about their appearances rather than their careers.

This awful line of questioning results in demeaning conversations. Yet for the longest time, Hollywood’s women have put up with it. They talked about their dresses, their exercise routines, their diets and their hair — they even hesitantly put their fingers underneath a high definition camera so we can get a better look at their nails instead of hearing what they had to say.

Last February however, things began to change. The Representation Project launched the #AskHerMore social media campaign, demanding red carpet reporters ask female stars more than just the “Who are you wearing?” line of questioning.

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The campaign took off, and coincided with Hollywood women expressing their dislike of these questions. and coincided with Hollywood women expressing their dislike of these questions.

It started at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Jennifer Aniston refused to do the mani-cam. “No, no, no,” she cried when asked to put her fingers under the scrutinizing camera.  At the Grammys, when a correspondent implied that Taylor Swift would be “taking home a lot more than awards with those legs”, Swift shut the reporter down saying she was there just to be there with her friends. Later on, Nicki Minaj stopped a frivolous line of questioning from Ryan Seacrest about her love life. And then, a few days before she would walk the red carpet at the Oscars, Reese Witherspoon posted an Instagram demanding that, on Sunday, reporters better #AskHerMore than who designed her dress.

These women’s rejection of the “Who are you wearing?” line of questioning is not only empowering to watch, but extremely necessary. Questions about beauty, men, shoes and athletic regimens are extremely demeaning. By subjecting Hollywood’s talented women to these sort of questions, we are allowing them to slowly morph from Oscar Nominated Actress into generic symbols of celebrity.

This is an awful thing to do: Nicki Minaj is more than just a “beauty in Tom Ford” — she is a best-selling rapper. Reese Witherspoon is more than a dress, she is an Oscar winner. Jennifer Aniston is more than her nails, she is a successful actress whose work in “Cake” garnered critical acclaim.

All the women who walk down the red carpet are more than their dresses. They are more than their waistlines. And they are, most definitely, more than the way they steam kale to get their waistline to look the way it does. Like Minaj, Aniston, Witherspoon and Swift, they are successful women who deserve to be admired for their talent, not their appearance.

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