Why There Are Better Topics To Discuss With Actresses Than How They Feel About Their Bodies
Ever since my admiration for Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham has taken flight, naturally, I’ve devoted a lot of time to watching interviews of them.
While there’s occasionally the archaic question about how they feel about women being able to be as funny as men, there seems to be this rapidly rising question about weight:
"What do you feel when you see pictures of yourself on billboards? Are you upset and self-critical?"
Not only is this an incredibly upsetting question, it’s also offensive and wouldn’t even be considered for asking a male actor. So critics, can we move on already?
In the episodes of "Girls," when Lena Dunham’s character had a fling with Patrick Wilson’s character, critics started firing negativity at Dunham for writing such a storyline.
They claimed that a guy like Wilson would never sleep with someone like Dunham. Luckily, both Dunham and Wilson are incredibly upstanding people who realize the idiocies of society and managed the lash-out very well.
According to Vulture, Dunham said of the criticism:
"Dude, I get it. It felt weird to kiss an actor that looked like Patrick Wilson. I get so tired of having to cry out ‘misogyny,’ but that's what's going on in this situation. People questioning the idea that a woman could sleep with a man who defied her lot in the looks bracket hews so closely to these really outdated ideas about what makes a woman worth spending time with."
"Really? Can you not imagine a world in which a girl who's sexually down for anything and oddly gregarious pulls a guy out of his shell for two days? They're not getting married. They're spending two days [having sex], which is something that people do."
THANK YOU, LENA.
Our society is so focused on the way bodies look that the majority can’t fathom Dunham’s character sleeping with Wilson’s character, despite their obvious chemistry.
Wilson’s wife even commented on the situation to get people to shut up, tweeting, “Funny, his wife is a size 10, muffin top & all, & he does her just fine. Least that’s what I hear rule #1 – never say never.”
It’s cringe-worthy to hear people saying things like this, primarily because weight, motherhood and sex don’t affect professional acting ability. How obvious is that?
These women are doing amazing, outstanding things. They’re challenging comedy that’s been done in the past and taking huge risks to bring us entertainment and a quality product.
I was watching an interview with Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina (who plays Danny Castellano on "The Mindy Project") from back in 2012, and the interviewer asks Mindy, “Do you critique yourself on the individual billboards, or did you do that beforehand? Do you get approval of each of them?”
After Mindy’s answer where she basically says that she thinks she looks cute and has other things to spend her time thinking about and working on, the interviewer asks Messina what work he’s been doing and that he’s been ubiquitous working on Indie Films.
Not long ago, Matt Lauer was interviewing Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, who happens to also be a mom, on "The Today Show." While interviewing her, Lauer said,
"You’re a mom, I mentioned, two kids, you said in an interview not long ago that your kids said they’re going to hold you accountable for one job, and that is being a mom. Given the pressure at General Motors, can you do both well?"
Sure, he didn’t ask her what she thinks about the way that she looks, but he’s asking her if it's possible for a woman to be successful while raising children: a question we never hear being asked of men. Lauer, I love ya, man, but she created two people while managing a pretty successful career. I think she’s got it under control.
While Lauer and his managers came out with a statement defending the legitimacy of the question, it’s quite obvious that if he were interviewing a man, there wouldn’t have been a question about his ability to be a CEO while also raising a family.
I can’t even say that in my 22 years I’ve even heard an interviewer ask a man if he’s capable of doing his job and raising a family, or what he thinks about the way that he looks.
It is 2014. There is, and has been for a while now, quite evidently no need to treat women and men differently in the professional sphere, regardless of career.
Did Gilda Radner’s comedy suffer because she was a woman, struggled with eating disorders and developed ovarian cancer? God no. She blazed a trail.
It’s sad to see that even though such talent existed back then, and years before, if she were still alive today, she’d potentially be fielding questions like, “Now I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors; people are wondering if you can handle being on 'SNL' while trying to raise a family. Can you manage to do both well?”
Let’s all accept the fact that women are awesome and weight, sex or motherhood doesn’t affect said awesomeness.
Photo Courtesy: HBO/Girls