By: Maggie McMorrow
Around the time of the Golden Globes, Amy Poehler made a request to the reporters that would be interviewing celebrities on the red carpet, that request was to #askhermore. If anyone has ever watched a red carpet for any award show, you will know that the most important, and sometimes the only, thing that is asked of female celebrities is who they are wearing for their dress, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. The interview on the red carpet for a female is all about how she looks, her beauty routine, and the fashion, and nothing about her work or why she is at the event in the first place. This in a sense is objectification of women because it is making the interview all about how they look rather than what they have done. And on the other side of this, if you were to watch an interview with a male celebrity, it would be all about his work. Amy Poehler recognized this and created the hashtag #askhermore, encouraging reporters to ask female celebrities about their work, their opinions, and their random thoughts rather than just the way they look. And while I do believe it is right to credit the very talented designers who have given these women their dresses usually for free, I don’t think that is what an entire interview should be surrounded by.
So, a few weeks prior to the golden globes on the Amy Poehler’s smart girls twitter page was this tweet:
“The #RedCarpet is open and we want the media to #AskHerMore! Let’s go beyond ‘who are you wearing?’ and ask better questions! #GoldenGlobes”
Lots of other celebrities also hopped on board including Reese Witherspoon who brought the hashtag through to the oscars. Fans of the movement came up with lots of different suggestions for questions that could be asked other than about fashion such as, what did your character teach you? What else would you like to achieve in your career? Tell us about a woman that really inspired you. And while the interview really only lasts two minutes, it sends the message that women are deeper than their clothes. As weird as it is, celebrities’ opinions hold a lot of weight and have a lot of influence. So if they set the precedent for showing the public that females have depth and should be asked about the same things that men are.
As I was doing research for the campaign, I came across an article titled “And the Award for Dumbest Hashtag Feminism Goes to…” which was basically a critique of the hashtag. The author said “It is yet another offering from a brand of feminism that includes things like the Dove Real Beauty Campaign and lowers the movement into something cheap and silly, and suggests that a simplified, liberal critique around the importance of female beauty can have an effect on real, systemic oppression.” Not only do I disagree with this, but I also find it to be a very anti-feminist stance. Feminism is a movement composed of both big and small issues, and we should take every victory we get whether big or small. We can’t spend all our time weighing whether or not an issue is more important than another. #Askhermore is not drawing away attention from other larger issues or saying that it is a larger problem, it is simply the celebration of female work. Asking women questions other than what they are putting on their body does not lower the movement or turn it into something “cheap and silly,” what does do that is making an event celebrating ACTING all about what the actresses look like. #Askhermore is not trying to suggest that the “importance of female beauty can have an effect on real, systemic oppression” nor is Amy Poehler trying to suggest that the women at the Golden Globes and the Oscars are deprived in any way, it is in all simplicity trying to lay equal ground for both actors and actresses. It is a call for all reporters to ask the same questions of female actresses that they would of an actor. The article goes on to critique all the interviews where #askhermore was used, and the women’s answers. The author over analyzes and picks apart each interview she talks about and comes across as very anti-girl for someone who calls herself someone with “ardent support for feminism.”
What I would prefer to see talked about is the tons of positive answers that came out of #askhermore. Such as Julianne Moore’s meaningful discussion about Alzheimer’s Disease, the illness that her character in Still Alice suffers from. Instead of being asked about what Moore was putting on her body, she was able to shed light on something she feels very strong about and an incredibly important issue. #Askhermore is a simple and effective way to send a message from some of the most watched television events of the year that actresses and girls everywhere should be treated exactly the same as their male counterparts.