Awards show season: glamorous shots of your favorite celebrities walking the red carpet, plenty of talk over who snubbed who, memes for days and, of course, the best and worst dressed lists. These lists highlight an obsessive interest with the looks worn at some of the most exclusive events in the entertainment industry.
However, the purpose of these shows is often lost among the glitz and glam. These events celebrate success– success that is not easily earned. While putting on a dress may be the easiest part of the evening, it seems that the outfits are all anyone cares about, with most women being asked questions regarding their ensembles and not much more.
In an effort to combat this, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, organizer of The Representation Project, debuted her film Miss Representation. The picture appeared at Sundance in 2011 and exposed “the ways in which mainstream media and culture contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.”
Newson also started a social media campaign to #AskHerMore, a movement that took off in specific relation to red carpet interviews. Being asked more than “Who are you wearing?” acknowledges that attending the Grammys, Oscars and etcetera is about more than putting on a pretty dress and getting your hair and makeup done.
Women including Reese Witherspoon, Gloria Steinem, Maria Shriver, Lisa Ling and Sandra Fluke all pledged allegiance to the #AskHerMore campaign, and in 2015, The New York Times posted an article criticizing the sheer pageantry that takes precedence on the red carpet.
Being a woman in Hollywood is not easy, and in order to shift the focus from gowns and manicures, it is important that journalists and audiences participate in the conversation. This cultural change will not happen overnight. Newson’s campaign started years ago, and “the mani cam” still gets more attention than questions like “What is the biggest risk you have taken, and has it paid off?” or “What accomplishment are you most proud of?”
So, while you watch the red carpet coverage this award show season, consider this idea: talk about it! The importance of acknowledging #AskHerMore and the accomplishments of these women, beyond getting dressed for their nomination at Hollywood’s biggest honors, cannot be ignored.