So I’m chatting with my 14-year-old daughter after school yesterday, excited to share Emma Watson’s wonderful UN speech on gender equality. We google it to watch together, and this pops up: Emma Watson Threatened with Nude Photo Leak After Speaking Out About Feminism.
Horrific, no? But at least it sparks a good discussion on the hows and whys of people who would react to Watson’s words in such a pathetic manner. My girl and I dismiss the haters and listen to the speech, proud of our Emma, optimistic about the future.
A few minutes later, I scroll across a headline about Ashley Judd, another avowed feminist: Braless Ashley Judd Wears Skintight Dress, Reveals Incredibly Toned Abs. I call my daughter back in, and ask her to think of female celebrities she admires or has heard call themselves feminists. We google these women, curious to see what the last few weeks’ headlines reveal:
*Jennifer Lawrence Steps Out in Malibu in Short Shorts, Sends Powerful Message With Her Shirt
*Taylor Swift Thinks She’s a Rock Star as She Falls to Her Knees on Stage at iHeartRadio Music Festival
*Emma Stone Braves the Rain to Grab Her Morning Coffee
*Beyoncé Vs. Jenny From The Block: Booty Moves Edition! Who Did It Better?
*Surprise! Ellen Page Has Amazing Abs: Here’s the Sexy Photo to Prove It
*Miley Cyrus’ Bad Taste Trifecta
*Kerry Washington Outdoes Her Usual Radiance With Two Bright New Dresses In NYC
*Tina Fey’s Kids Had a Playdate with the Children of Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch
Huh. “Let’s do it for guys now!” my daughter says, so we try again, this time googling male celebrities who’ve declared themselves feminists:
*Joseph Gordon-Levitt Made A Video About Feminism And It’s Awesome
*Daniel Radcliffe earns national treasure status as he pays back two-year-old cab fare debt
*John Legend gives his all in KL concert
*Louis C.K. Was Right About The Cloud All Along
*Ashton Kutcher Is Already Going To Be A Great Dad… And Here’s The Proof You Can WATCH!
*Prince Harry Hugs Sick Boy In Emotional Embrace
*Thousands of protesters, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, join People’s Climate March
*Ryan Gosling Is “Infatuated” With His Baby Girl, but He and Eva Mendes Are Understandably “Exhausted”
*Jay Baruchel and Matthew Good’s Mysterious Collaboration
*Patrick Stewart Surprises Trekkie Who Has Life-Threatening Illness With Out-Of-This-World Visit
Now, I get that most of these headlines come from entertainment news or celebrity gossip sites, and I’m cool with the fact that they’re not “hard” news items. But in all of these headlines, female celebrities are either a) objectified [based on abs/booty/outfit]; b) rendered benign [drinking coffee/wearing a shirt/watching babies]; or c) slammed for “inappropriate” behavior [acting like “a rock star”/displaying “bad taste”].
Significantly, from these same “news” outlets, male celebrities are uniformly presented as active, admirable participants in their own life trajectories. They’re earning, collaborating, surprising, joining, and giving their all. Even the family-focused headlines laud Kutcher for a job he’s not yet performed, and Gosling for persevering through a few newborn sleepless nights.
Which leads one to wonder — if Ryan’s so sleep-deprived, is Eva even breastfeeding? If so, that’s gross, and if not, how selfish! And hey girl, even Feminist Ryan Gosling can’t wait around forever for you to shed that extra baby poundage.
So squeeze back into those short shorts, grab yourself a [non-fat!] latte, and trade in those teats for a set of good, old-fashioned tits. Because as far as the media are concerned, the business of women is business as usual. Trust me. I googled it.