Last night was it — the biggest night for Hollywood and many invested Americans across the country. While I can appreciate big-time movie stars taking some time to present other big-time movie stars with prestigious awards — as a feminist, I am not at all a fan of the Oscars.
After the glitter and glamour has faded away, we are not left talking about how the award-winning “Silver Linings Playbook” may help de-stigmatize mental health disorders. We are left talking about Jennifer Lawrence tripping on the stairs and how so-and-so really should have worn a different $9,000 dress.
The focus of the Oscars becomes less about the talent of the actors and actresses and more a “see who can objectify and judge women for the way they look and act” contest. With Seth MacFarlane as host, last night was no exception.
1. Objectification — Who cares about your accomplishments?
The song-and-dance routine “We Saw Your Boobs” was just the tip of the iceberg. For those not in the know, the set featured MacFarlane and some grinning men singing about actresses in the audience and the movies in which their breasts are visible. The movies mentioned weren’t just teen-exploitation films either — they were actually pretty decent.
It is appalling that we can publically degrade the accomplishments and performances of women in the film industry, reducing them to a joke over whose naked boobies amused Seth MacFarlane the most. Oh wait ladies, did you actually think you were doing serious, artistic work? Sorry, but it was all about showing off your naked bodies.
The song was a part of a larger skit featuring William Shatner from the future, warning MacFarlane about the horrible things he might do while hosting the Oscars. Sadly, that premise doesn’t make the song any less demeaning; it just tries to disguise it as something witty and satirical.
2. Domestic violence
After that little gem, the number of sexist jokes MacFarlane cracked throughout the rest of the night should be no surprise.
“‘Django’ is a movie where a woman is subjected to violence, or as we call it, a Chris Brown and Rihanna date movie,” he said.
When is it ever okay to joke about women being abused? Apparently in MacFarlane’s world, it’s in front of 40.3 million American television viewers, many of whom suffer from domestic violence on a daily basis.
3. Objectification — Who cares how smart you are?
When talking about Selma Hayek, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, MacFarlane quips “We have no idea what they are saying and we don’t care because they are so attractive.”
Last time I checked, women generally want you listening to their words, no matter how much they line up with your narrow-minded view of beauty. The message that ‘the more attractive you are, the less your intelligence matters’ is something women hear enough already.
4. Eating Disorders
“And those of you (beautiful women) who gave yourselves the flu two weeks ago to ‘get there?’ It paid off,” MacFarlane said.
As many as 10 percent of young women suffer from an eating disorder, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Making it into a punch line undermines the somber reality of an actual problem in our country. It’s because of events like the Oscars that girls across the country have a twisted idea of what it means to be beautiful in the first place. Joking about it makes it worse.
We live in a society that constantly objectifies women, criticizes them and stereotypes them. It is appalling to me that Seth MacFarlane can stand on a stage in front of 40 million Americans and make jokes that further reinforce these ideals that women in our country are constantly fighting against. This isn’t about not being able to “take a joke” or needing to “lighten up.” It’s about the fact women across the U.S. struggle daily with domestic violence, eating disorders and discrimination. We don’t need to laugh about it.
Kaitlin Moroney can be reached at email@example.com