Sexism on the red carpet is all too familiar…
We’ve all seen it.
At the Oscars, the Grammys, the Met Gala.
Talented actresses and musicians arrive to these events with the hopes of winning awards for their brilliant work. Undoubtedly, the bustling atmosphere and flashing cameras must be overwhelming for these nervous nominees. The chance to chat to friendly journalists, desperate to ask about their careers and the exciting night ahead, is one thing that might be able to settle the nerves.
However, that’s not what the ‘friendly journalists’ are desperate to ask.
“Who are you wearing tonight?”
“Did you diet to fit into your red carpet dress?”
*Secretive pan of the camera to capture the red carpet outfit and the actresses’ body from head to toe.*
The journalists, after asking these type of questions, then turn these talented women into fashion mannequins for the tabloids. The reports written portray women as passive figures, only invited to these events to wear pretty dresses and pose for the cameras.
Journalists also pit these celebrity women against each other as if they aren’t battling to win awards for their hard work, but for beauty.
“Who wore it better?”
“The worst red carpet looks from last night!”
Celebrity women are rarely asked about their work or what they have coming up next.
Men are though.
This blatant sexism in red carpet journalism reinforces gender roles and patriarchy. Celebrity women are reduced to clothes horses who aren’t valued for their talent in these articles but rather pigeonholed into a ‘perfect, pretty female’ box.
The #AskHerMore movement aims to transform this drastically unfair red carpet reporting.
Set up by The Representation Project in 2014, the #AskHerMore campaign aims to challenge journalists on the way they speak to women on the red carpet. Followers of the campaign are encouraged to tweet journalists during live red carpet events to suggest better questions they could be asking women.
Questions that don’t just revolve around what designer they are wearing.
The campaign has had a lot of celebrity backing with Reese Witherspoon being one of the movements’ key supporters.
Just before the 2015 Oscars, she posted to Instagram, urging her followers to suggest better questions for journalists to ask her at the event in the comments.
“This movement #AskHerMore, have you heard of it? It’s meant to inspire reporters to ask creative questions on the red carpet. I love the Oscars AND fashion like many of you and am excited to share #WhoAmIWearing later tonight (not yet). I’d also love to answer some of these questions….and hear your suggestions? (share them below!) There are so many amazing, talented nominees this year! Let’s hear their stories! Spread the word.Reese Witherspoon
How #AskHerMore has helped to reduce red carpet sexism
The #AskHerMore campaign, after receiving traction following celebrity endorsement, has managed to become a worldwide movement.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom, CEO of The Representation Project spoke about how her campaign has encouraged women worldwide to speak up.
“We’re changing the dialogue. We’re changing the conversation just through women recognizing that they actually have an opportunity to challenge the media to ask us more.”Jennifer Siebel Newsom
The campaign, as well as waking the world up to sexist reporting on the red carpet, has managed to gain the attention of media outlets such as ELLE Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter. This has meant reporters are now more aware than ever of their conduct on the red carpet. They can now aim to alter the the questions they ask women so that they are more insightful.
Overall, the campaign has acted as a catalyst to encourage reporters to treat female celebrities as equals to their male counterparts.
The campaign has also spread to more areas of media, such as athletics and politics. Reporters are, again, encouraged to ask politicians and female athletes about more than just their appearance.
“According to a study that analyzed over 160 million words from decades of newspapers, academic papers, tweets, and blogs, male athletes are three times more likely than women to be mentioned in a sporting context, while women are disproportionately described in relation to their marital status, age, or appearance.”The Representation Project
The campaign has successfully highlighted sexism in journalism and it is hoped its impact will continue to improve the quality of reporting women.