So here is my issue with the Academy Awards last night.
I understand how silly it is to watch four hours of a back-patting industry convention designed to celebrate homogeneity and then get outraged over a few stupid jokes meant to essentially troll the entire world. I understand that every year the host is expected to poke fun at the audience, make snarky jokes about appearances, and the next day we’re supposed to talk about how awfully offensive they were, but I can’t just sit on my hands for this one: last night’s show was so off the mark and offensive I couldn’t stand it.
MacFarlane made a lot of poor taste jokes last night about all groups, but it was his jokes about women that clunked the hardest and most out-of-time. It was unbalanced: he made several comments about actresses’ weight, while actors got “ribbed” for dating younger women. At one point I wondered if he was attempting to do a 1963 tribute show. It’s retro! We’re calling out how backwardly disrespectful and unfair towards women this industry used to be! Look, here’s some soft shoe! MacFarlane is king of saying “we can’t tell that joke, it’s offensive!” but still telling the joke. The perfect example was the boobs song that opened the show. “You can’t do that!” said William Shatner. “People will be offended!” “Okay,” said Seth. “Let’s see what they’d be offended by.” Cue the Boobs song. One of my friends on Facebook pointed out that some of the boob shots mentioned in MacFarlane’s song were from rape scenes.
Halle Berry was not impressed.
Later in the night, The Onion tweeted a horribly insensitive comment about young Quvenzhané Wallis that’s getting a lot of the attention today along with MacFarlane’s jokes. My take is that the tone set by MacFarlane allowed this joke to happen. If Amy Poehler and Tina Fey had been hosting, would The Onion have made the same joke? My guess is no.
I’m probably made most angry by the fact that MacFarlane is our age. I was hoping that misogyny was starting to die out in our lifetime, but apparently our fruit is still hanging too low to be ignored. It’s tired, it’s backwards, and, I’m sorry, it’s just not the way the world is or should be any more. Or, maybe it is dying out, and the producers of the show were just way off mark. If that’s the case, I don’t think the industry men who ran that show last night had any idea how wrong they got it. On stage they had stellar performances by Shirley Bassey, Adele, Jennifer Hudson, Barbra Streisand, and even Catherine Zeta-Jones, along with the countless amazing performances of female actresses, producers, set designers, script writers, editors, assistants, engineers, etc. that made the Oscars possible in the first place, and yet to the host and his slew of groaners, women are nothing more than bulimic (or *should* be bulimic) trophy wives with BOOBS! that should be seen at every chance who NEVER let anything go. And so I tweeted the above.
Damn straight I’m not letting it go.
I know there will be a million voices talking about this today on the internet, dissecting each joke and being outraged, but if I held my tongue it wouldn’t sit right with me. I was pissed off. I’m riding this damn high horse like Lady Godiva.
Not okay, Oscars. NOT okay.
(And it didn’t escape me that the two women who won actress awards last night — both, I’d like to point out, great actresses who deserve respect for their craft [though go see Winter’s Bone, not SLP] — won for their portrayals of a prostitute and a crazy widowed slut. Sit with that one for a moment.)