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Scarlett Johansson: The Rabbit-Food Question

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It’s no question that males and females are perceived much differently in the eyes of Entertainment media; more specifically, the respect of men in entertainment businesses in contrast to the treatment of women in entertainment businesses has become a notable area of concern as I become more attentive to the questions directed towards actors and actresses in multiple interviews. Granted, I may have used this as an excuse to watch a myriad of ongoing interviews of my favorite actors and actresses, but I had nonetheless arrived to a point where I came to question why actresses are asked far too often about the maintenance of their body image and exercising regimen.

At “The Avengers” press conference in London during the early summer of 2012, a reporter prodded Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson with questions regarding their respective roles as Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow). This particular instance directly displays the great contrast in the questions actresses generally receive compared to the questions directed towards actors. Note Scarlet’s backlashing comment, one that, as you will see in the video I’ve linked below the dialogue, was a comment she had muttered from under her breath, seemingly out of frustration and apparent irritation. It’s quite clear that this isn’t the first time she’s been in this particular situation.

Reporter: “I have a question to Robert and to Scarlett. Firstly to Robert, throughout Iron Man 1 and 2, Tony Stark started off as a very egotistical character but learns how to fight as a team. And so how did you approach this role, bearing in mind that kind of maturity as a human being when it comes to the Tony Stark character, and did you learn anything throughout the three movies that you made?

“And to Scarlett, to get into shape for Black Widow did you have anything special to do in terms of the diet, like did you have to eat any specific food, or that sort of thing?”

Scarlett: “How come you get the really interesting existential question, and I get the like, “rabbit food” question?”

(You may find this dialogue around the 3-minute-mark of the video).

I find Scarlett’s recent responses in multiple interviews as quite admirable and brave. As subtle as it may seem, her retorting comment unveils the frustration of many women alike, even outside of the entertainment industry. Although the accomplishments and recognition of women in areas of science, technology, politics, mathematics (the list goes on and on) has cultivated a greater respect for them, the physical appearance seems to constantly be held in greater regard. Why are women encouraged to “follow their dreams” and are yet held to the ridiculous expectation of looking beautiful (whatever that means…) while doing so? I don’t know about you, but on the day of an exam, the expression “dress for success” certainly does not apply. As I recall, finals week is the plight of all fashion trend-setters, when the sweatpants come on and the books are wide open. When there’s work to be done, “ain’t nobody got time for” looking pretty. Our futures are at stake here!


2 Comments

  1. mplowden says:

    Wow great write up. I had not seen this video and I appreciate you bringing it to attention. I agree with you, I find Scarlett Johansson’s response quite commendable. Many women are frustrated with society’s standards and responses. I know I am.

  2. gomezale says:

    Awesome Blog Post, this goes to show that media/society once again is only worried about the looks of women instead of their intellectual capacity. Like in this case they are not worried of how smart she is but how she got her body “prepared” for the part. Media should understand that her body is not the most important aspect but how she carried out her role in the movie. Again great job 🙂

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