The 87th Academy Awards on Sunday night made for some great acts, from Jack Black taking the stage in a musical monologue to Neil Patrick Harris running on stage in his underwear.
If you watched the awards show this year, chances are you watched the celebrities strut down the red carpet before the show as well. As the actors and actresses walked down the line some men were asked some very poignant questions in regards to the roles they portrayed, whereas almost every woman was asked what designer they were wearing.
This year’s award season has been marked by a growing conversation about whether reporters are asking women the right kind of questions on the red carpet and a hashtag offering solutions with #AskHerMore.
There are some cases in which actresses are loaned their couture gowns for free or are reportedly paid by designers to wear dresses or jewelry, with the expectation that they will discuss the designers in interviews. In this way, the red carpet has become a giant public platform for designers to showcase their brand with their gowns by using the woman wearing it as a grotesque form of advertisement in an act of objectification.
But how hard is it really to spit out a designer’s name and move on to the important things?
Many have shown frustration at with these lackluster questions. While the men are chatting about their childhood idols and inspirations, the women are asked how they manage to raise a family while still working, if the conversation even moves past the elegant neckline of the dress she’s wearing.
Celebrities themselves have expressed their own annoyance with the lack of in-depth interviews. Cate Blanchett called out a camera operator who was panning up and down her body during an interview and asked him if he did that to male actors as well.
Many of the actresses we see on the red carpet identify as activists for many different causes. When they aren’t being asked the hard-hitting questions, an important discussion is being missed.
Though the awards season may be over now, it’s important to keep this issue in mind, and think about what we’re asking the women in our society. Do we want to know their thoughts and hear about their passions? Or should we continue to reduce them to walking mannequins?
Reese Witherspoon said it best as she walked down the red carpet on Sunday: “We are more than just our dresses.”