Why I’m conflicted over the #AskHerMore campaign
So it started in 2014. People thought that there was sexism on the red carpet at awards events, because people asked women about what they were wearing, but didn’t ask men the same questions.
I get that women want to be treated as equals. It must annoy married couples who walk the carpet, or attend junkets, and when they compare questions at the end of the day, she was asked questions about whether or not she wore spanx, and he was asked about what role he wants to take on next. I get it, the women don’t want to be reduced to nothing more than a mannequin.
But I’m also conflicted. These are people who are on a red carpet, attending an awards ceremony. They are people who play make believe for a living. It’s not like they’re at an event celebrating scientists, or nobel laureates, or even a charity event. These are not people who have found a cure for cancer. They’re not celebrating that they’re ending world hunger, or putting in a bunch of water wells in remote areas. It’s a bunch of people who work in the entertainment industry, patting each other on the back over who made the best entertainment. Sure, some of the movies are about good causes. Some help to bring light to important issues. Some winners even used their acceptance speech time to bring light to their causes and campaigns.
The red carpet however, has evolved over the years to become it’s own little event. There are probably millions of people who watch the red carpet festivities, and then switch off the rest of the event. Honestly, I don’t give a shit who wins best actor, or best movie. I do like to see some of the behind the scenes people recognized. There are thousands of people involved in making a motion picture. The actors are just a few of them, and yet, they get all the recognition.
People enjoy the red carpet. Everyone loved watching Joan Rivers on the red carpet, (I can’t believe they left her out of the Memoriam section) and then people spend days discussing who wore what. Fashion Police is always most popular at awards season. When an actor is in a movie, they are told what to wear, what to say. Seeing people on the red carpet you get to see old Hollywood glamour. We see people dress up, and hopefully, a little sense of a persons style. Truthfully though, these days, most people just have their stylists do everything for them. The fashion industry spends months preparing for Red Carpet season. They devote weeks making dresses that these women will wear on the Red Carpet, hoping that will translate to sales down the line. Designers provide gowns, sometimes worth thousands of dollars to these people. It’s not just the women either, plenty of male actors are not only getting free suits, but they’re also being asked on the red carpet “who are you wearing?” George Clooney is always being asked what he’s wearing. Jewellers drip these people in necklaces and bracelets. There are millions of dollars in diamonds at one event alone.
The whole reason that designers are providing these outfits to these actors is because they know they will be asked, “Who are you wearing?” It’s priceless advertising. If we stop asking these people who they are wearing, will designers slowly decide to stop providing stars with outfits and fittings for free? Will we go back to the days when you had to actually shop and pay for your own dress?
When I went to The Logies, and the People’s Choice Awards while on Hey Dad, nobody was gifting dresses. You had to get your own. One year, I went in a tuxedo, with a brightly colored cumberbun and bow tie. Usually though, my mother made my outfits. Bless her, for all we don’t talk, I do admire her seamstress skills. She made almost all of my clothes growing up, even my school uniforms. She made my high school formal dress. Sure, I look like Princess Diana, but I didn’t look like anyone else there. Plus, Princess Diana was a trendsetter, so it’s OK. However, I doubt that if I were to attend a red carpet these days, that my mum would be willing to make me a dress. Which means I’d either have to go shop on my own, spend days trying to find the right dress, hope nobody else bought the same dress, have it tailored, and then, if I was asked on the Red Carpet who I was wearing, I’d have to decide whether to give free advertising to a company that I had paid to wear, or simply give the “it’s vintage” answer. <- Yes, when someone says It’s vintage it means they bought their own dress. Or, I could hope that I don’t get asked Who I’m Wearing. Hmm, maybe the campaign is for people who got snubbed and weren’t provided a dress. I hadn’t thought of that…
Anyway, I know it’s shallow. I know it makes women feel objectified. I know it’s the new thing to not want to be asked what you’re wearing, or at least ask more than just just. It has been tried before though. Here’s an excerpt from The Hollywood reporter. Ryan Seacrest tried eliminating the “Who are you wearing” question in 2010, and was criticized heavily for it. “Hey Ryan, Talk to the Dress” read a New York Times style column headline that detailed the backlash from fashion bloggers. “It was almost like he wasn’t that interested in the designers,” designer Nicole Miller said. “He seemed more interested in the celebrities and their careers.”
Maybe people are ready now to have more questions on the red carpet than just ones about fashion. Or maybe people should just accept the fact that the Red Carpet IS all about the outfits, and save the deep and meaningful conversation for their actual interviews with talk show hosts and magazines… Or they could get a blog and bitch, I mean, discuss all they want like I do here. The Red Carpet is always optional. If you’re really offended by the current line of questioning, you could boycott it altogether. You could always just avoid people like Giuliana Rancic who you know is going to ask you that question, and stick to the more serious reporters. Or, you could learn to move a conversation in the direction you want. Let them break the ice with a question about your outfit, and then steer the conversation towards your chosen charity, or cause, or attempt at world domination. You’ve only got about 90 seconds though, so try not to get too deep.
Otherwise, I hope your mum is skilled enough to do this type of scalloped neckline.