Last night everyone in the world (read: everyone I follow on Twitter) watched the Golden Globes, which promised to be an important event for women in entertainment with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosting and a bunch of talented ladies nominated. In case you had better things to do than watch (read a book, take a nap, feed your cat), we’ve compiled the best and worst moments from the night—from a feminist perspective, of course.
The Top Feminist Moments:
5. Lena Dunham wins stuff. I get that this is a controversial call, and I’m pretty ambivalent about Dunham. I absolutely agree that she is no progressive feminist leader; the “Girls” creator/director/writer/star has some serious thinking to do about race on her show, and I have a big problem with how the series handles sexual violence and harassment. With all that being said, I have to respect this young woman’s choice to portray (some) realistic bodies and awkward, often disturbing sex on television. Despite my reservations, then, I think it’s cool that she was celebrated for that last night with two awards (Best Comedy or Musical and Best Actress, Comedy or Musical), and pissed off a bunch of male establishment critics by winning. Her Best Actress speech also ended pretty beautifully: “This award is for every woman who’s ever felt that there wasn’t a space for her. This show has made a space for me.”
4. Julianne Moore shares the love with the women who exposed the real Sarah Palin. The winner for Best Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie for her role in “Game Change” thanked Tina Fey and Katie Couric, who took on Palin through humor and hard-hitting questions in the run-up to the 2008 election. It’s nice to see women highlighting each others’ influence in the still male-centric world of politics.
3. Amy Poehler knows the new Clinton hierarchy. After Bill Clinton introduced “Lincoln,” Poehler commented with mock awe “What an exciting special guest – that was Hillary Clinton’s husband.” Hillary now outshines Bill, and it was great to hear that articulated in such a public setting.
2. Fey and Poehler win life. After three years of always cringe-inducing Ricky Gervais, the two NBC comedians started the show off with a brilliantly funny introduction that highlighted the role of women in television and film. Does this mean we’re finally done with the “are women funny????” debate?
1. Jodie Foster refuses to come out. Look, like everyone else, I’m not entirely sure what Foster said during her speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. I also don’t love “it’s none of your business” as a queer rallying cry, because some LGBTI people do want the right to be as public about their love/sex lives as their straight counterparts can be. However, I lovelovelove Foster’s giant middle finger to the traditional coming out narrative: She doesn’t have to explain herself. She doesn’t owe us early notice of her sexuality any more than a straight actress would. She doesn’t need to be coherent.
Most Sexist Moments:
5. All the age competition BS. I get it, the screen is a hard place to grow old(er). But I was sad to see Fey and Poehler play-fighting with Lena Dunham about their age difference. Admittedly, Dunham was kind of asking for it when she thanked her competitors in the Best Actress category for seeing her through her tough teen years, but the two hosts had already made a quip in the opening monologue about the “Girls” star letting them know if she wanted Child Protective Services called in for forced nudity. Sure, they were kidding, but the joke doesn’t challenge unfair, gendered age discrimination–it just perpetuates unnecessary competition between talented women.
4. Sacha Baron Cohen jokes about Anne Hathaway’s wardrobe malfunction. We’ve already written about how gross and slut-shaming all the attention to Hathaway’s accidental reveal at a “Les Mis” premier last month was. SBC, of course, just had to bring back the long-dead “joke” on a night meant to celebrate the actress’s talent (she won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Musical): “Enough of me pulling back the curtains of Hollywood, and I’m not referring to Anne Hathaway’s up-skirt shot.” I don’t want to help promote this guy, so here’s a video of Hathaway kicking Matt Lauer’s/the patriarchy’s butt.
3. Jay Leno gets passive aggressive. Even before the show had started Leno was busy dismissing the popular hosts. Fey and Poehler, he said, “are the two funniest women I know.” Yeah, they’re ok—for a bunch of GIRLS! (Which is, incidentally, sort of what gender-segregated awards categories are, right?)
2. The near absence of women of color. Ok, so maybe this is more like a series of very long moments.I don’t want to elide the presence of the POC who were present—I see you, Sofía Vergara—but this seemed like an even whiter than usual crowd to me. Despite a lot of hubbub about his being a great year for women at the Globes, we can really only say that white women did well this year, and that’s a very hollow feminist victory.
1. The red carpet. In what world is it ok that a series of very beautiful men and women walk down an aisle as living advertisements while the latter group’s appearances are ruthlessly critiqued by commentators? The men, as usual, weren’t subject to nearly the level of scrutiny. But I guess all that is just a long way of saying that the most sexist part of the Golden Globes was… the entertainment industry.