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Continued Backlash from “Boob” Song

The boob backlash continues.  People are still talking and blogging about the Oscars, specifically the “boob song”.  Yahoo had an article saying Oscar producers said “Everyone did not get it”.  Then I came across a quote which articulates how I feel about this situation much better then I have been able to say:
“You’re talking about the great American actresses, you’re talking about Angelina Jolie and Meryl Streep. People who have had long and successful careers, have won awards, and objectifying them and it’s not right — even if you’re trying to be humorous it’s identifying a select group and picking on them for ridicule. Which I would think, with the history of the Academy and people who are contributors in Hollywood , that wouldn’t be okay.
Even if it had been hilariously funny, I don’t know that that should be the source of comedy on a show that is meant to promote our business around the world. These women are international stars, that’s their business, they’re important businesswomen as well as artists and that’s key to success in our business and appreciating them.” (Emphasis added)
There is a song called “Hollywood is Not America” – and that is true.  Actresses’ looks and bodies, by nature of what they do and with their own consent, are a public commodity – at least visually.  They signed up for it and they do it willingly, but that does not mean they are less valuable then men or not serious artists.
In both Hollywood and the “real” American, women are undeniably objectified.  Not every woman all the time, or by “everyone”, but most of us, often enough to understand how it feels to be thought of as body parts.  Arguably this is more rampant in Hollywood where most of the world’s desired looks are determined and propagated.  But therein lies the problem – actresses, however we want to view them, are in business.  They deserve the same respect and considerations that not only male actors have, but also women in other careers.  Meaning, judged by their skills, not by having perfect bodies.
The Oscars is not the venue for the Kardasians, Snookie, or the many fly-by-night people who might be all over the media but have no discernable talent.  What it is about, is talented and deserving actresses and actors, usually who have put in a significant amount of time in the field.
No doubt Hollywood is about lies, double-standards, “old-boys” networks, and many other abuses toward just not women.  But making women the target of more objectification is not, in my opinion, the way to fix that.   The boob song is akin to allowing “girly” calendars in business offices or even condoning sexual or racist email messages/jokes on corporate email.  Daily in Hollywood, boardrooms, businesses, schools or service organizations women are subjected to lewd or inappropriate comments or contact and more often than not, judged by their looks.  Whether it’s making sexual comments or asking a women if “she is on the rag” if she is having a bad day, these practices demean women in general and erode both the power and respect they deserve where they work – regardless of what they do for a living.  That is the issue as I see it.  It should not be OK to talk about women’s (or men’s) body parts in venues that are promoting or conducting business just because it is funny (to some people).  Popular culture definitely filters down, which is why we have to be very careful about what we encourage – so I do not think this song is just about Hollywood.
See also:
Jamie Lee Curtis Blog

1 Comment

  1. katieblacker says:

    I feel like I’ve been looking everywhere for this post! This is exactly how I feel about this particular situation. While I understand that Seth MacFarlane is known for a certain brand of comedy and that this type of joke was to be expected, I still didn’t think it was necessary to objectify these women in this way. It’s almost like they’re saying that the movies aren’t worth mentioning for any other reason besides the nudity, and that isn’t true. These actresses are giving incredible performances in these roles, and this is what they get for it? I don’t think it’s fair to say “it’s just a joke” or “it’s satire, it’s supposed to be funny” when the fact of the matter is that most people didn’t find it funny, especially the people who were mentioned in the song. Yes, it’s MacFarlane and he’s a comedian, so that means he can say whatever he wants (in his mind and in the mind of the media), but what does it say about us that we’re willing to excuse that type of behavior so easily?

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