Chris Rock Is Wrong About Sexist Red Carpet Coverage
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Chris Rock Is Wrong About Sexist Red Carpet Coverage

While his interpretation of the red carpet coverage is certainly humorous, we can use his joke to examine misconceptions about sexism in media.

Chris Rock Is Wrong About Sexist Red Carpet Coverage

At the Oscars, Chris Rock dismissed red carpet sexism by claiming it doesn't exist. He justifies the fact that many men are not asked what they are wearing simply because they are all wearing very similar clothes.

Chris Rock has missed the point.

I will give Chris Rock credit for questioning the obvious disproportionate scrutiny women face on the red carpet over men, not that women and men are criticized equally. To those who believe men and women face equal judgement, I would ask them to consider men who make adventurous fashion choices. Consider the way in which the media has portrayed someone like David Bowie or Pharrell Williams, men who have made adventurous fashion choices at red carpet events. Compare both singers to Lady Gaga or Madonna, both who have also made equally adventurous fashion choices. Lady Gaga and Madonna are critiqued for their choice to be less conventional whilst David Bowie and Pharrell Williams are exalted for the same reasons.

Even so, Chris Rock falsely claims that the origin for increased judgement of women is based in the lack of diversity in men's fashion. He is incorrect because first of all, journalists would not only prod actresses just about the designers of the ensemble but also ask more questions about the individual wearing the clothes. Secondly, although I do not even remotely claim to be well versed in the world of fashion, does fashion not exist in the subtitles anyway? Each tuxedo is defined by the designer's choices in color, lapel size and cut that define the suit as a whole. Each suit, although similar, is distinguishable and unique. Therefore, it should be more justified to ask the men more questions about their choices.

Chris Rock also does not acknowledge the differences between the superficial questions targeted to the actress outside of questions about fashion. On top of spending more of the interviews asking actresses about who they are wearing, journalists often ask actresses more innane questions, while giving the actors more deep questions about their work.

Ultimately, red carpet coverage minimizes the artistic achievement of women comparatively to men by only posing questions to women that are superficial in nature. Female actresses, directors, costume designers, producers and others attend the awards to celebrate their achievements and the achievements of others. These members of the artistic community are valuable not only because they are attractive but also because they are productive contributing members who should be valued as much as their male counterparts.

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