Tag Archives: Sexism

Emily Ratajkowski and the Trolls

Until a couple days ago, I’d never heard of Emily Ratajkowski. And today, we’re going to talk about her boobs. Apparently, she has two. Apparently, she she’s relatively liberal in showing them on screen, in videos, and in magazine spreads.

She’s one smart woman. You can tell when you read newsprint profiles about her.

And Emily R. showed her boobs in public. She wore a thong in that video “Blurred Lines”.

And she’s 24 years old. I don’t know about you but when I was 24, I was married one year, and let me tell you, I didn’t know anything about life.

Emily R. says showing her boobs shouldn’t be as big a deal as people are making it out to be.

Did I mention that her dad is an art teacher and her mother is a Fulbright Scholar? Her mother wanted her to be a brain surgeon.

But… you know, she has boobs.

I’m repeating this over and over with a healthy amount of irony because, today, I want to be a gadfly.

Emily R. was recently profiled by the Evening Standard, who tell us that she considers herself a feminist. She recently defended Kim Kardashian for nude photos. She complains that if you’re beautiful in Hollywood, you’ll be turned down for decent roles on film. You’ll inevitably become a 2-D character, she says.

And then I saw people complaining about how privileged people shouldn’t be allowed to make such statements, as if already having success exempts them from commenting on the state of Hollywood. Others complain that she’s a beautiful bitch and on the basis of her being beautiful, she shouldn’t be listened to.

Let me tell you something: the fact that you’re beautiful (or rich, or famous, or privileged) doesn’t make you wrong!

In fact, in this particular argument I’d go far as to say that the opposite is true.  If you’re a beautiful, rich female in Hollywood, you’re probably more likely to know the true state of sexism in Hollywood than if you aren’t. Remember a few years back, when I wrote about Dolly’s Boobs? How tiresome must that get, when everyone tells you how beautiful you are, rather than smart, or talented, or kind? Dolly is all those things. But for decades, people focused on her breasts. She even got the first cloned-from-stem-cells sheep named after her, because the cells came from the mama sheep’s breast tissue.

I don’t know much about Hollywood. I’m not a woman trying to land roles in Hollywood. In fact, I’m a old, fat Frappuccino faker. So let me point out that when somebody in-the-know, the estimable Meryl Streep says the same thing, nobody blinks an eye. Yet, when Emily R. says this, people go red with apoplexy. There’s a problem there. Meryl’s rich. Meryl is smart. Meryl is kind (except in The Devil Wears Prada.  She was just plain evil in that role). So… why can we accept Meryl Streep saying these things, and not Emily R.?

When I was just beginning my journey into puberty, I had discovered that our across-the-road neighbor, Marilyn, used to sunbathe nude on the Oregon hillside. She had a redwood windscreen and an outdoor bathtub right next to the log cabin she lived in. I used to try to sneak around quietly on her property and catch a peek. I might have even seen her naked, once. Libido is a strong thing when you’re a thirteen year old boy. And as a general rule, teenagers are granted a whale-sized sex drive, and minnow-sized brain to control it.

But that was when I was a kid.  Shouldn’t we be able to control ourselves once we’re adults? I’d guess we should be able to separate the person’s inner qualities from the fact that they have, I dunno, vaginas, and see people for who they are. If a person is bright, and kind this far outweighs the fact that people have seen her boobs, and *especially* when it comes to talking about social issues.

It’s the the opposite that old commercial where the man says “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” Who in the world actually believes you should drink Vicks Formula 44 based on advice from a character from General Hospital? Well, apparently, loads of people. The commercial ran for most of my teen years, and Vicks sold gallons of Formula 44. In fact, when the original not-a-doctor went to jail for tax evasion, they hired his General Hospital replacement to remake the ad. But come on… You trust this guy with your cold and flu symptoms because why?

But Emily R., who is an actual woman trying to manage a career in Hollywood, deigns to criticize the sexism in the film and television industry? Well, we can’t have that. She isn’t allowed to make informed arguments because she’s too, dunno. Female? Olive skinned? Immoral? Covered by breasts from her armpits to the base of her rib-cage? How are those valid reasons to toss out an argument?

If she weren’t smart, and young, and female, and wealthy, would people be more ready to accept her words? I’m not sure. But she’s all of those things. And folks still regard her with suspicion.

Maybe, as a culture, we’re still too shallow to look past the skin, or body parts, and see inner beauty where it exists. Maybe we don’t want people standing up for themselves. Or, just maybe, we want an easy target and don’t care who we injure in the process.

PS. I called her Emily R. for the duration of this post, because spelling her last name was a little more difficult than I could manage 7 or 8 times.


Politically Correct? or Just Correct.

Language, it turns out, is pretty important. After all, how do you complain to tech support, or order fast food, or be sarcastic, if you don’t use language? Language can be used to persuade, inform, convey emotion, and, this is becoming more clear to me every day, hurt people. Continue reading Politically Correct? or Just Correct.