Are you really so convinced that it was Sofia Vergara who was objectified last night?
Last night, we got an extreme exposition of how Sex Sells is still alive and well, how we have a long way to go to challenge Sexism during the Emmys. I really was shocked and appalled by what went on during the show. I want to focus on how an Actor and an Actress where treated completely differently, how one was praised for who he is, and the actress as she was reduced to an ornament.
The night started for the actress as all the comments were in reference to her royal blue gown, praising how she looked, yet ignored her contributions or even her nomination. And from there it went downhill. During a comedy routine, one of the presenters commented how she was too pretty to be in the audience, how her physical appearance set her apart from her peers. All this happened while she was sitting in the audience and not an actual participant of the skit. The presenter then, to prove her point, showed off another audience member, stating that her “average” looks made her perfect for TV.
Later on during the night, during the acceptance speech of one of the directors, he thought it might be cute to go all obsessive stalker on the actress. He openly stated that the only reason he wanted to win was to stare into the actress’s eyes while he stood onstage. He went so far as to order the actress to look into his eyes while he spoke, and ordered a cameraman to move because his view was blocking the view.
At least, later on during the evening an eminent Latino Actor, Comedian, Spokesperson, Businessman, and Activist stood tall and proud during a pre-written, pre-produced bit of comedy skit about empowerment.
Bet that by now you are probably wondering what Emmys I saw, since you missed all of that. Funny how a simple gender swap can make people reconsider their attitude towards sexism.
The reality is that women, throughout history, have been systematically controlled and abused, sold and bought for their beauty, or having their beauty or sex appeal held up as their only attribute. Yet, as we try to fight this attitude, we could run dangerously close of shaming women who are empowered by their femininity and appearance. Whatever your take on the skit Sofia Vergara did, keep in mind that she has more than enough clout in the media to pick and choose what she does or doesn’t do. It was her call, playing the role of the sexy Latina. Would it have been better if they used an actress with a “face more in tune for Netflix?” Ironically, this skit was the longest airtime that any Latino had in the Emmys that night. Let that sink in for a bit.
Lately we have seen an influx of sexist attitudes towards men, reducing them to little more than eye candy and boy toys. You might say “it’s about time” or “let them see how they like it.” But isn’t that becoming just what you are condemning? Turning the shamed into the shamer?
Sure, Matthew McConaughey rolled with the jokes, and sure it was all in good fun. But take a second and think just how you would have reacted if it would have happened to a woman. He was an audience member with little or no control over what happened onstage. Other than how he looked or what he suit he wore, there was little if no mention of his qualities as an actor or a person. He might have laughed it off, goofing off with Woody Harrelson, but I really wonder if it bothered him or his wife when Gail Mancuso, who won for best direction of a comedy series for “Modern Family,” said she wanted to direct her speech to him. “Right there baby, right there. Stay with me.”
Sexism is real. Objectification is real. But in our crusade to challenge these social issues, we have to be careful not become selective in our battles for our convenience. Because when we do, we are helping nobody.
Photo: Andre Pierre/ Flickr