Oscars red carpet questions going out of style?

Allia McDowell, Staff Reporter

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The Academy Awards show is one of the most-watched television programs every year, second only to the Super Bowl. With its popularity growing each year, pre-Oscar shows have been springing up, including red carpet interview segments.

‘Who are you wearing?’ has been a mainstay question in recent years by entertainment-based reporters at the Academy Awards. But lately, this focus on fashion, particularly as it relates to the female actors, has been coming under some criticism. Women step foot on the red carpet and are quickly bombarded with an array of questions about their fashion choices. Although viewers look forward to seeing the dresses worn by the actresses, it seems that women’s fashion is all that the interviewers can focus on. This year, female actresses stood up for themselves, taking the initiative to expose the public to the shallow questions they are asked on their way into the biggest award show of the year.

Reese Witherspoon, tired of the endless questions about her wardrobe, headed a campaign this year to change the way interviewers speak to actresses. Captioning a post on Instagram the night before the Academy Awards, Witherspoon wrote “#AskHerMore”. The hashtag quickly went viral as people across the nation began tweeting and instagramming their thoughts.

The #AskHerMore campaign is only a small part of a large group called the Representation Project, which was founded by a woman named Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Many organizations have teamed up with the Representation Project, including Amy Poehler’s ‘Smart Girls’ which is a website for young girls and women to encourage and inspire each other. Smart Girls and the Representation Project worked hand-in-hand to get #AskHerMore to trend on social media. Viewers were encouraged to tweet questions that reporters should ask female actresses which didn’t involve what they were wearing.

“We are more than just our dresses,” said Witherspoon on the red carpet. “We are so happy to be here and talk about the work that we have done. It is hard being a woman in Hollywood or any industry.”

The push for female equality continued throughout the night, hitting its peak during Patricia Arquette’s Oscar acceptance speech after she won for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” said Arquette, as the women in the crowd cheered fervently. Meryl Streep, in particular, was on her feet encouraging Arquette’s inspirational monologue.

“I think it is awesome that these women are stepping up and defending themselves,” said Mercy junior Audrey Jones. “It is inspiring to see how women have banded together in order to achieve equality. I hope next year’s red carpet has a little less fashion talk and a little more intellectual discussion when it comes to the well-deserving actresses.”

Like Jones, senior Margaret Terhune expresses her inspiration from the women of the Oscars.

“#AskHerMore made the Oscars way more interesting,” said Terhune. “Sure, I love to see the gowns, but it is even more fun to hear how passionately the women speak about their successful careers. It is such an honor to be a part of the Oscars, and women should not have their moments in the spotlight clouded by an obsession with their fashion choices.”

 

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