Saturday, March 7, 2015

Everything Is Sexist

Violating my general rule that squeakers don't deserve rebuttal, I come to a Buzzfeed piece entitled "31 Times Celebrities Gave The Best Damn Responses To Sexist Questions". That it appears on Buzzfeed — a widely-read website — sort of gets me off the hook for that, but it isn't the same as taking down an Amanda Marcotte or Jessica Valenti. So I reckon that I should preface this piece with the observation that, yes, there are sexist men in the world, but if you publish a lot of weak examples in with your supposed strong arguments, maybe you're just yelling into the echo chamber. I mean —
  • #1, Or, Celebrity Interviews 101 : Anne Hathaway brushes aside questions about her diet. Um, hello, duh, it's a celebrity interview! Of course they're going to ask about your diet!
  • #2, Or, Paging Judith Martin: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler use an their awards show introduction to George Clooney to instead talk about... his wife? Why is this sexist? Because we always have to be talking about women? And, the hell, guys? This is borderline rudeness in the Kanye West vein.
  • #3: Math Is Always Sexist: Clueless TNT dork asks Mayim Baylik of Big Bang Theory "how many people think you can solve a calculus [sic] at the top of a hat?" Which she deftly replies to with, "I was trained in calculus for several years. I'm a neuroscientist." I mean, yay? The guy clearly hadn't prepared for the interview, but it's not like he said, "Hey, as a girl, how hard is it for you to math?"
  • #5/6: How Dare You Ask About Her Dress/Makeup! Seriously softball questions, and intrinsically sexist, because, why?
  • #11, Or, The Reward Of The Male Feminist: Interviewer to Megan Fox: "The fact that there aren't many superhero films with superheroines, with female leads. What's your take on that? Do you feel it's time, like it's a matter of time before we see more of those?" That this is labeled sexist is the most astonishing example from these, because it shows how the author (and let's be honest, a good deal of modern feminism) isn't especially interested in developing allies; they want permanent contrition. If you own a penis, you're just guilty of being a terrible person, a priori, and no argument is possible. It's terrible to suggest that we should see more women in leading roles? Quelle horreur. (The fact that Fox gets all cranky at the interviewer does not lead me to think she is an especially decent human, either; after all, he's there presumably to promote her brand.)
Not all of them are terrible, and some are funny: the mani-cam (#17) was a silly idea, and good for Elizabeth Moss for giving it the finger it deserved. Zooey Deschanel's remarks about feminism's straitjacket (#8) are, within the context of this piece, both true and positively subversive. But this list is larded with worst-case assumptions about the interviewer, male or female, and inflates stupidity into malice at nearly every turn.

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