• Mon, Feb 25 2013

So Much Sexism: I Am So Happy My Daughter Wasn’t Watching This Year’s Oscars

seth macfarlaneI suppose there are families out there who sit down and watch the Academy Awards together. They each fill out a ballot and compete for accuracy. They fix movie-themed snacks and ignore bedtimes for just one night. They get all excited over the pomp and pageantry. I am so sorry for those families at the moment. Because this year’s Oscars were anything but family-friendly. In fact, my most frequent thought during this year’s awards were, “Thank Heavens my daughter is in bed already.”

First the Superbowl had a racy element that I disliked exposing my little girl to, and now the Academy Awards are so full of misogyny that it’s difficult to imagine explaining it all to my daughter.

During the show opening, host Seth McFarlane sang an entire song about seeing famous actresses’ breasts in their movies. Because obviously, it’s not their talent or dedication anyone needs to celebrate at an awards show. It’s the simple fact that they’ve done a sex scene.

I watched the whole thing trying to think about what the male equivalent to this song would have been. An entire song reducing the actors to the abs? Have we seen enough male back-sides to fill a song? My little thought experiment is really an exercise in futility, because no one would ever consider it funny to stand in front of talented actors and tell them that the only thing we care about is their bodies.

“I Saw Your Boobs” was just beginning of MacFarlane’s most offensive Oscars in quite a while. There was the, “Women just be holdin’ grudges,” bit when he talked about Jessica Chastain. There was the charming comment about just how long Quvenzhane Wallis would be young enough to date George Clooney. We had the obligatory Chris Brown and Rihanna bit.

To be fair, MacFarlane’s offensiveness wasn’t just directed at women. He threw in some obnoxious gay jokes, some inappropriate race jokes, and even a little bit about Nazis. MacFarlane was trying so very hard to be edgy that he left no bit of political correctness off the table. From fat-shaming to ageism, it was all in there.

But honestly, the sexism was just so prevalent, I was left sad by a night that’s supposed to be fun. I didn’t feel like we celebrated much of anything, even though there were a lot of really amazing movies up for awards. Last night, we watched Seth MacFarlane impersonate Ricky Gervais’s Golden Globes performance, except with less punchlines. We also watched him guarantee that the Oscars becomes another big prime time event that no one wants their young children staying up late for.

Oh well. At least we have Quvenzhane Wallis.

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  • http://twitter.com/ashleyaustrew Ashley Austrew

    “During the show opening, host Seth McFarlane sang an entire song about seeing famous actresses’ breasts in their movies. Because obviously, it’s not their talent or dedication anyone needs to celebrate at an awards show. It’s the simple fact that they’ve done a sex scene.”

    Umm…wasn’t that the point? To point out how ridiculous it is how many actress’s boobs we’ve seen? They even pre-recorded actresses “horrified” responses to drive home the point. And then Jennifer Lawrence was shown cheering that she was there even though we’ve never seen her boobs.

    I really feel like all this backlash about Seth is women needing something to be mad about. I’m sorry. I’m a feminist, too, but it’s just ridiculous. I personally found Seth hilarious. He was making jokes. He wasn’t being serious. The joke about George Clooney was directed at Clooney, not the little girl. It was bashing Clooney for being a cradle robber. As for the Rihanna joke–I’m sorry, but as the daughter of a domestic abuse survivor, I think it is a GOOD thing that we live in a society that can call out how ridiculous it is for a successful, beautiful woman in 2013 to be with a man who abuses her. Seth is the creator of Family Guy, not Mister Rogers. We knew what we were going to get before we tuned in. And honestly, I don’t usually watch the Oscars. I tuned in this year because I like Seth McFarlane’s push-the-envelope style humor. He works in comedy; he’s an equal opportunity offender. You said it yourself: he made jokes about a lot of different groups. Just because some of them were directed at women doesn’t make him a sexist woman hater.

    • Blooming_Babies

      It’s not about “women needing something to be mad about”, women have plenty of other important things to be mad about. Seth isn’t for everyone, his brand of comedy is built to offend and he succeeded. Women were offended, parents sent their kids to bed, the whole thing came off like a parody of the academy awards. I never heard the author call him a sexist women hater and this whole article was about being glad that her kid wasn’t watching, it’s an option piece, that’s her job.

    • Kel

      I found it offensive, and I find the response to women who find it offensive, ilke we’re all man-hating, humorless, shrews who are just LOOKING to get our panties upon a wad.

      And as a woman who LIVED THROUGH her OWN domestic abuse AND counsels women now, I found it unspeakably crass, as MacFarlane did, to suggest that IF a successful beautiful woman is in abusive relationship, leaves her abuser, and then gets back together with him, then it’s okay to ridicule her. It’s alright to make a mockery out of it. That’s awesome!

      The joke about George Clooney might have made light of his dating, but feminists who think about these things consider the construction of the joke beyond its punchline: Quvenzhane Wallis is the youngest actress to ever receive a nomination, and clearly, the most important thing about her and her future career is whether or not she’ll date George Clooney…or show her boobs.

      You can call me square or humorless or accuse me of not understanding irony and not being able to “take a joke.” I’m a “Family Guy” fan and I thought this Oscars wasn’t edgy, it was somehow both crude AND cheesy. If this was great humor to you, then that’s fine (although it probably means you also think movies about talking teddy bears are fucking awesome, man!), but that’s a matter of taste. People can understand humor, have a sense of humor, and they can still have something to say about it. Just because I objected to MacFarlane’s style doesn’t mean that I don’t get it. I can separate matters of taste from objective criticism.

      When someone makes women a punchline and people like me call them on it, that’s fair. That doesn’t make us “ridiculous” or “needing something to be mad about” it makes us thoughtful. I don’t think Seth MacFarlane is sexist; I think that his brand of Oscar humor was.

    • Scarlette

      It is good that Rhiana is constantly mocked and ridiculed.
      If she were a private person making her own money in a private manner like the rest of us, fine.
      BUT she’s not. Her livelihood is fame. Part of her debt to the society which puts her on a pedestal and provides her wealth and fortune is to be a decent role model for young women.
      I am not saying that she has to be an active philanthropist or humanitarian.
      I AM saying that she is a HORRIBLE role model for young women and should be ridiculed as such.
      Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, fathers, brothers and sons should all feel free to use Rhiana as a laughing stock to discourage their loved ones from following in her footsteps.
      Again, if she weren’t a public figure I would agree with you. But she has a debt to society for her fame and fortune.

    • Carlo

      The rage and cynicism evident in your post must make you a horrible counselor. Please stop conditioning future generations of women to be victims and get some real help yourself.

  • The Sour Peach

    Here we go again.

    We are allowed to have ADULT things in our life. Not every show, event, spectacle or piece of pop culture has to be ‘safe’ for your daughter, Lindsay. Is your daughter watching the movies nominated for best picture? I think not.
    Turn on Treehouse, Disney, YTV…whatever. Leave the adults to their adult time without you critisizing that your precious daughter can’t watch. I’m over it.

    • Lawcat

      Yea, when did the Oscars become a family friendly event to be watched by preschoolers? Especially when hosted by Seth Mcfarlane.

      So which Best Picture nominee did your daughter want to stay up till midnight to see win? Did she enjoy Django Unchained?

      With the exception of Life of Pi, all BP nominees were rated Pg-13 or R. There were no “G” movies.

      Slow news day, Lindsay?

    • Zoe

      I found the boobs song a fascinating tongue-in-cheek satire on how actresses are perceived by both Hollywood and the general public – no matter how fabulous an actress she is, all the fabulously rich and great unwashed alike really care about is whether she’s shown her tits. It was juvenile, yes, but wasn’t that the whole point?

  • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

    I had a problem with the bit where he mentions actresses whose breasts we saw because they were portraying rape victims. Like, wow, no.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bobbielovesyouxx Bobbie Sonnenschein

      they were not real rape victims. Its a movie, get over yourself. It had nothing to do with rape, it was about how many boobs you see in movies. He didn’t make them show the boobs, he just called them out.

    • rebecca eckler

      I had the same thought. Many of those actresses were portraying rape victims. That made me uncomfortable to say the least. However, for the most part, I thought he was pretty fucking funny. And let’s not “blame Seth” I’m quite positive his jokes were accepted by many, many producers. Anyway, not cool about making fun of showing boobs in movies about violence and rape. But I did find myself laughing aloud at most of his jokes.

    • AlexMMR

      How many actors portraying a rapist had to show their penis? Oh yeah, about zero. That’s kind of the point of the whole joke.

  • I pity you

    Life must be an awful experience for you, if you get that offended that easily, over every single thing. I genuinely pity you.

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  • Stillonthefenceaboutmostthings

    Yeah, okay… But, let’s think about this: what does it say about Hollywood that the list of actresses he was able to name was so long? Eh? And, let’s not blame it all on the studios; audiences buy tickets to these movies, and–despite their “talent or dedication”–it may be fair to say that many of these actresses are, perhaps, a bit to quick to disrobe for the sake of playing that “coveted” role. He did, after all, make a point that Jennifer Lawrence has managed to avoid doing any nudity, didn’t he? I realized nudity in some films is appropriate, but–more often than not, it’s gratuitious, right? Maybe it was not women he was making fun of, but–the industry, eh?

  • kims

    * fewer punchlines

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