• Mon, Feb 25 2013

UPDATE: As A Feminist Mom Seth MacFarlane Didn’t Offend Me, But The Onion Calling Quvenzhané A ‘Cu*t’ Did

The 85th Annual OscarsThere is so much outrage this morning all over the Internets about what a sexist dunderhead Seth MacFarlane was as host of the Oscars last night. We don’t live in a world, sadly, where we can have Amy Poehler and Tina Fey host everything. But to be honest with you, I think MacFarlane did a pretty decent job considering he was hosting the most important, sacred, revered night of the year, according to all of the fancy self-important Hollywood people. It can’t be an easy job. You have to sing. You have to make jokes. You have to go with the flow and deal with award winners going over their allotted time. I don’t think MacFarlane was the most amazing Oscar host, but I don’t take issue with so much of what it seems like everyone else is taking issue with.

The “We Saw Your Boobs” song. It took place after the watershed, so it wasn’t like people should be scandalized by the fact their toddlers saw it, because most kids of a certain age should have been in bed by that time anyway. The song was goofy, and dumb, but I feel like it made a very interesting point about women and women in film and how they are depicted. You may be an amazing, talented, award-winning actress, but at the end of the day, all a lot of the general public cares about is the fact we got to see your naked breasts at some point in your career. No one forced any of these women to take their tops off in these movies. They were well-compensated for it. Their “bravery” for stripping down was applauded. Seth was just pointing out a simple fact:  no matter how hard a woman works at a role and no matter how many awards she receives for her work, the general public still scours the internet for topless pics of her. We need more roles for women. We need more women directors, and more women screenwriters, and more stories about women told by women that hopefully don’t have a plot point that features a woman taking her shirt off. Sometimes an actor taking their top off is relevant to the story, but if we had more more women in Hollywood deciding if and when these cinematic moments were relevant, we could probably see a montage of male celebrities pretending to look offended as Melissa McCarthy sings a song featuring male actors entitled “You Dropped Your Trou” in the future.

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  • alice

    are you taking issue that the onion used the word “cunt” or that they made an ironic reference towards a nine year old that included the word?

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      There is nothing “ironic” about calling a child a cunt.

    • alice

      whaaa? c’mon. of course it’s ironic. i mean, if you have specific feelings towards the use of that particular word, then that’s one thing.

      but the onion making that tweet was to illustrate just how universally sweet/adorable/precious Wallis is on the red carpet. They weren’t offending her at all.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Oh man, I really gotta differ with you on this one. I thought it was so tasteless and stupid. I think, universally, unless you are a British male, the worst thing you can call a woman is a cunt, right? It’s not like we have taken this word back and made it a point of pride sort of like “bitch.” Cunt is not know for being a synonym for strong or fierce or powerful or good, it’s just mean and is usually used to describe a “nasty woman.” it’s not something you should call a young girl. Even under the guise of “irony” edited to say, I love the Onion, I have all the books etc, but that was just totally unnecessary

    • alice

      hey, i totally see what you’re saying. it just boils down to our personal different feelings about the word “cunt.” (i.e.: i’m guessing if the tweet was “that Wallis girl, what a total asshole amirite?!” that you wouldn’t feel as strongly.)

      i know i’m not in the majority, but i try not empower the word “cunt” anymore than any other exclamation. as powerful as words are, they are meaningless without context. somebody getting in a girl’s face and calling her a “bitch” is always going to offend me more than someone dropping an air conditioner on their foot and screaming “fucking cunt!”

      if the word is supercharged for you, then sure, you’re going to be offended that it’s said at all, and probably moreso that it was in the same sentence as a nine year old girl.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Oh yeah, I hear you totally. ” somebody getting in a girl’s face and calling her a “bitch” is always going to offend me more than someone dropping an air conditioner on their foot and screaming “fucking cunt!”"

      I agree with that 100%. I just didn’t think their tweet was appropriate directed at a child, even under the guise of irony. and I am so NOT an easily offended person, check any of my other articles.

    • Shea

      Yeah, I agree. If the tweet had said something like, “That Quvenzhané girl, what a brat, right?”, I’d have thought it was mildly funny. But “cunt” is such a nasty, viciously gendered insult that I don’t think it’s okay to use it for a little girl. Basically, I think The Onion made what could have been a legitimately funny joke, but the vocabulary used destroyed the humour.

    • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

      I usually cut satire sites like the Onion a lot of slack (even my its my cows being grilled) but that was just insanely tacky, tasteless and not funny.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      agreed

  • Eileen

    I think you’re giving Seth MacFarlane waaaaaay too much credit. The thing with irony is that it has to be a sometimes-tool, not the way people interpret everything you say.

  • chickadee

    Yeah, I’m not sure you can give McFarlane credit for a scathing commentary on Hollywood’s approach to feminism with the song about boobs. His work so far kind of undermines that claim. I am a feminist, and I though the host was puerile and aimed for the lowest common denominator in most of his jokes.

    And while Chris Brown is most certainly a horrible person, it was not necessary to publicly humiliate Rhianna on live television, was it?

    • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

      This this this. I was about to comment on the ones portraying rape victims. That’s not okay.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I can see where some people were offended by it, I just felt it was more of a satire about how Hollywood treats women.

    • alice

      This.

      When a comedian stands up in front of the world’s most celebrated actresses, who have convened to honor the most talented of their craft, and he does a skit which jokingly reduces their craft to “showing their boobies”, YES, i think we should assume it’s satire. Especially when there are pre-taped *fake reactions* from the actresses in the audience.

      Or you could assume that he really is a misogynist, and was trying to make a statement about how silly these women are to think that they’re making art, when really everyone just want to see their boobies! (almost verbatim quote from Amy Davidson at the New Yorker’s overreaction and micro analysis of Seth Macfarlane’s jokes

      http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2013/02/seth-macfarlane-and-the-oscars-hostile-ugly-sexist-night.html

  • TheRealKelly

    I can cut The Onion a *tiny* bit of slack because I think I appreciate what they’re skewering here…The internet’s insatiable need to cut down even the most innocuous or likeable celebrity when they achieve success (I don’t know much about Anne Hathaway but Twitter seems to universally despise her for seeming genuinely happy? And Kristin Chenowith was torn to pieces for smiling through the inane and awkward chitchat that we ALL KNOW the pre-show will always be.). HUGE misstep, however, in thinking that a 9 year old should be that target. Yes, it makes the fact that it’s satire super obvious but let’s just leave kids out of our pop culture in general. Satire should be uncomfortable and cut close to the bone but this was too much.

  • Lastango

    I think the Onion tweeter’s appalling posting is a natural outcome of the vulgarization of society. We collectively crossed the line long ago; it’s dismaying but unsurprising the tweeter couldn’t see that there was any boundary or propriety that needed to be respected.

  • Tom

    Glad you weren’t offended, but some of us were. MacFarlane’s performance struck me as that of a twelve-year old boy trapped in the body of a forty-something-old man, and when you think of it that way, it’s pretty pathetic that his material wasn’t better.

    Also, the little comment about the female celebrities “pretending to be offended” was uncalled for. We don’t know if they actually were offended, but they certainly looked uncomfortable.

    • WoolSocks

      The reactions were prerecorded.

    • chickadee

      Yes, all three of them. The numerous other women mentioned in the song were curiously not pictured. I guess they didn’t feel like playing along.

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