After Tina Fey and Amy Poehler rocked the Golden Globes last month, I hoped Hollywood producers would catch on: putting women in power positions means a high quality show with good ratings. But then, Seth MacFarlane. Last night’s Academy Awards featured the the most sexist, worst Oscars hosting I’ve ever seen.
I get that MacFarlane tried to pre-empt this blog, and many like it, with his boring, stupid, Captain Kirk snore-fest-skit. But, Seth, your fake headlines last night don’t get close to describing what a pig you are. Best Actress nominee Quevenzhane Wallis is nine years old. She was so proud. That was the biggest moment of her life, and you called her George Clooney’s girlfriend? Why would you do that to a kid? How is she supposed to feel when you say that? Are you that insecure that you want to cut down a little girl?
Jessica Chastain had the rare opportunity to play a heroic, female protagonist and you trivialized her character, transforming her lifetime accomplishment into nagging, saying she possessed the innate female ability to never let anything go.
You sang a “boob song” that was more repetitive than my three year old, and you made jokes about domestic violence. That’s all I saw, but apparently, I missed some sexism.
Where were your jokes about men? Part of the reason your jokes were not funny is because women get demeaned and trivialized every day in this country, especially in Hollywood. All you did was jump on the bandwagon and push things a little further in the same, old, tired direction. Watching you tell your sexist jokes at a venue where in 85 years, only 4 women have been nominated for Best Director, was like watching someone point up and say, “The sky is blue,” for three and a half hours. Seth MacFarlane, you are such a bore.
Your performance did help me to explain the meaning of the term “bully pulpit” to some children. So, thanks for that, I guess.
Here’s to hoping Sarah Silverman hosts the Oscars in 2014.
Please Tweet #SarahSilvermanHostOscars
It’s way past time for all those people claiming the target of Macfarlane’s jokes was the sexists, or that he was mocking sexism, to give up. The litmus test is: who went away from his routine feeling diminished, mocked or excluded? Do you think any idiot frat boys who make lists of which movies show boobs ended up thinking “well, I feel put in my place now”? Movie execs who will only green-light material that has plenty of female skin, and minimal male, do you think they went home at the end feeling “I’m not taken seriously in this room”? Did all the sexists watching hang their heads in chagrin, and say “I’m such a fool, and everyone is laughing at me”? If the alleged targets are crying “whoop, whoop!” and the people who routinely have their work trivialised and dismissed are feeling demeaned and excluded all over again, you have no argument.
I’m glad I didn’t watch the Oscars (they were in the middle of the night in my country anyway). When I read that Seth McFarlane hosted the Oscars I already knew that couldn’t turn out well. Well, that really proves it.
I also have to admit that I had to search online how to pronounce Quevenzhane’s name (almost got it right on my own) but then again, you’d expect anyone who moderates an event like the Academy Awards to figure out how to pronounce the names of the nominated people. Seriously now. How hard is that? (I also suffer from ‘people can’t pronounce my name’. This especially sucks when I actually tell them my name and they don’t even make an effort to actually try.)
Sorry, gonna weigh in SLIGHTLY on McFarlane’s side. Many of the jokes referenced make fun of powerful, sexist, jerks, not women. Rex Reed’s tasteless fat shaming is the butt of McFarlane’s joke, not the women he writes about. Serial cradle robber Clooney is the butt, not little Quvenzhané . McFarlane doesn’t trivialize domestic violence; he makes fun of those who do: Chris Brown and Rihanna and all of their supporters. And frankly, isn’t it a bit ridiculous that every single female star has to pose naked at some point, (and utter that tiresome palaver about how, “it’s intrinsic to the story”) whereas male actors do not? Isn’t that the point of the “boobs” song? I’d love to see a “We Saw Your Dick” routine, but how many actors would be on the list? The Jessica Chastain, Kardashian, and Salma Hayek cracks were inexcusable, but with most of the others, it feels like we’re shooting the messenger.
Also, wasn’t it kind of cool that McFarlane made out with Sally Field, as opposed to some hot young starlet?I also chortled at “Mel Gibson’s voicemails”.
I get that MacFarlane was mocking Clooney, but what I blogged about is what is Quvenzhane supposed to think when she hears that? Not to mention everyone watching the show and looking at her. And, as I was saying to Cat, he tosses Clooney a bottle of alcohol. It was gross male bonding. At the very least, if you and I disagree on this, again, how is Quvenzhane supposed to feel on her big night? I didn’t hear the weight joke or the Rihanna joke, but from what I read, comparing a date to a scene of Django, makes me cringe. I thought the boobs song was really demeaning, I never looked at The Accused that way among other movies, and hearing them described as such made me sick. I’m with you on the Sally Field bit. I liked that one.
Never underestimate the internet. Challenge accepted.
funny! Like the Blurred Line response videos!
We’ll said, Lesley. I stand behind moving our culture forward, beyond subjugating either gender. But sometimes people like ReelGirl can’t see beyond the perceptual filters they’ve glued on to their face.
You’re wrong and that’s okay because we all have rights to our opinions. I truly believe Seth was funny and doing his best, but you guys can get angry if you want to. Hope you don’t have a heart attack, stroke, or get an ulcer from all that stress and anger you can only get out on a blog that not many people read.
I really hope the blog owner lets this be posted so everyone reading can actually see other people’s thoughts and maybe engage in a lively debate.
I just remembered the thing that DID bother me about the Oscars telecast. You’ve written extensively on the absence of women in film, particularly in the superhero genre. So when most of the actors from the Avengers took the stage as presenters… where was Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow)? Could they have stated any more clearly how little importance she has in the franchise?
Thanks very much for writing this. I’ve been having a hard time today trying to ignore all the feelings that I had about all of this… I couldn’t even bear to watch all of the show. I posted the article from the New Yorker that I thought was a well argued point, about the sexist jokes and why its so hurtful. Someone I barely know, who is now blocked from my page, commented first, “oh boo hoo,” and then “this is the whiniest article I’ve ever read.” To be honest, I blocked him because it made me so angry that there was no civil way to respond, so I just deleted his posts and blocked him. It’s this attitude of “can’t you take a joke?” that I can’t deal with. I guess I can’t, and never want to have to take the jokes anymore.
It is so fucked up when people say “feminists have no sense of humor” or even “women aren’t funny” to justify this joyless bullshit. As you can see, I’m still angry too! I LOVE watching the Academy Awards, I LOVE movies, and I LOVE comics. Fuck you, Seth MacFarlane.
I would like to engage in a level of discourse where we can look at the material presented and appreciate that humor is subjective. You’ll notice that when I was replying to you I spoke about my opinion and I never insulted Sarah the way you are attacking Seth.
Huh? You vagueness about Sarah Silverman isn’t enlightening. I have no idea what you don’t like about her. I assume that its the same thing everyone else complains about and I linked to my response to that argument on my blog post that you called lazy.
No, that’s not the reason I don’t like her comedy. As I said, I think humor is highly subjective and personally I don’t find her delivery or jokes funny. I understand what she’s trying to do but I think it often comes across as unsuccessful or offensive. This is just my opinion. I haven’t seen everything she’s ever done. And I can’t point you to something specific as I am not that invested in her comedy. This is just my impression from the times that I’ve seen her. I do think it’s interesting that you spend the beginning of the post celebrating her for owning her “attractiveness” as a lot of the hate launched towards her is typically the same misogynist nonsense about how unattractive she is.
Stop demonizing Seth MacFarlane! He doesn’t send up or subvert the oppressive status quo; he gleefully reproduces and reinforces it.
His humor isn’t just sophomoric; it’s intentionally cruel.
He is a bully, and his “jokes” validate the thoughts and behavior of other bullies.
Thanks for your response Margot!
I think I’m also confused by the people who are getting angry that some people didn’t like Seth’s “comedy”. Its not a healthy way to live, to argue with people about having feelings…I’ve never watched Family Guy, other than a really long clip of a guy in a chicken suit getting into a fight, so I admit I didn’t really know what to expect with the Oscars, but I’m not angry with people for enjoying the show. All I’m saying is that the jokes that were demeaning towards women, children, and minorties, hurt my feelings. I’m a sensitive person, but most people have feelings, so I think it’s unavoidable to have them, even if they’re not the same as someone else’s. Plus, Seth’s particular brand of humor is so aggressively mean, I feel like the point of it is to upset people, like the person telling the joke is going into it knowing full well that someone is going to be hurt by it, and people will possibly call him/her an asshole for saying the mean things. It seems like that’s par for the course, but then there’s a lot of defensiveness from his fans when someone reacts negatively… Mean jokes always result in some of the audience feeling hurt… No surprise there… If someone feels bad about offending people, they can always apologize… The Onion did… I just don’t think it’s worth telling the people who were offended why they’re not allowed to feel that way when that was the point of the joke in the first place…
Ugh. Why would you suggest Sarah Silverman? I’m sorry but her comedy is nauseatingly offensive.
I’m a huge fan and I’ve written why on different posts on Reel Girl. Also, Louis C.K.
I get that you might be a fan, but a lot of her jokes offend me.
I’d like to know what people think of this article and comments. Many are defending Seth as just pointing misogyny out–or acting like a misogynist the way Stephen Colbert acts like a conservative,
I took this position to some degree. Especially given the way the night was so devoted to celebrating “old Hollywood”. Yes, the jokes did feel “safe” and expected and somewhat tired. He was a “classic” male host singing these old standards and acting like it was OK to make these kinds of jokes. And I think the joke about the 9-year-old nominee says more about George Clooney than her to be fair.
I liked the boob song. It is an example of the reductive nature of the male gaze. How many young men tell stories of renting movies just to see an actress’ breasts regardless of what the rest of the film is about? How many actresses are forced to reveal their breasts to the camera to get a role or even for supposed artistic credibility? The Kate Winslet section was particularly brilliant. Is it a stupid song? Yes. But it was meant to be.
MacFarlane tossed Clonney whiskey (or something) after the joke to show the target was not him. Someone wrote a great post about that that I put on FB.
You think young men rent “The Accused” to see boobs?
No, I’m pretty sure Clooney was the target and the travel-sized bottle of alcohol was an apology. I find it difficult to read the situation as an attack on her.
I have no idea but I do know that I’ve heard the same joke before and listened to movie reviews where guys will say that a movie was terrible but at least a woman was partially naked at one point. The root of that joke is that we have this weird relationship to nudity and sexuality. But the context of these films somehow elevates it to being more artistic and acceptable. He is reducing it back down to physicality and showing the hypocrisy.
OMG it was male bonding
I see that I’ve failed to convince you of my point. Let’s just agree to disagree then. I’m more interested on hearing what you think about the absence of Scarlett/Black Widow with the rest of the Avengers cast anyway. Thor was also missing but it seems more significant when the only girl in the cast is absent.
I loved this post and put in on Reel Girl in a another post about Sarah Silverman. This is my favorite part:
“the relentless commentary about how women look reinforced, over and over, that women somehow don’t belong. They matter only insofar as they are beautiful or naked, or preferably both.”
I didn’t read the comments but he was perpetuating misogyny, not commenting on it.
That is the crux of the matter—commenting on it or perpetuating it. What is his track record? Personally I have not watched Family Guy but it is a show that my kids are not allowed to watch due to adult subject matter that I don’t feel they are ready for. Adult friends say they love the show.
someone sent me a clip of Family guy to insult me, posted in the comment section of Reel Girl, and I loved it. I’ll look for it and cut and paste, it was in a blog I wrote about how I want to curate a museum show on naked women and clothed men. Its pretty hilarious. I think MacFaralane probably has talent in him, but it did not come out last night. I havent seen enough of Family Guy to know his stuff.
“Part of the reason your jokes were not funny is because women get demeaned and trivialized every day in this country, especially in Hollywood.” Yes!
To all the people who are like “he was just pushing the envelope,” I ask what envelope?! What’s so new about saying that women need to be skinny to be beautiful? What’s so new about men saying that they notice boobs more than women’s character? What’s so new about ANYTHING he said? He didn’t push any envelopes. He just doubled down on a privileged, misogynistic position and did it on a national stage during a moment that’s supposed to be celebrating movies: the narratives that represent and shape our culture. I am so disappointed in the Oscars.
Hi Balancing Jane,
Yes, yes, yes, so cliche and has been.
As to the flu joke, I saw it as the same safe, expected level of comedy as what Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did at the Golden Globes. Compare that joke to their joke about “The Hunger Games” and “Life of Pi” and tell me it isn’t playing into the same stereotypes. Are we saying that all the X’s get to talk about being an X, but when a Y does it, it’s offensive?
Because personally, when I’m offended by a joke Sarah Silverman tells, I’d be offended regardless of her gender, race, nationality, etc.
I think who tells the joke matters, absolutely. The tone of voice, the expression on the face, the gestures, everything.
So what about Tina Fey/Amy Poehler was better than Seth?
On twitter we are talking about next year’s opening song will be “We saw your dick.”
Justin Timberlake’s “Dick in a Box”?
Well, it’s true that you can’t let go that M&m’s thing, among others.
I don’t get the analogy?
My stomach lurched when he mentioned The Accused. That scene gave me nightmares. And he noticed BOOBS? I know I hope Sarah Silverman hosts next year. As a side note, I find it worrisome that so many insults negatively use words pertaining to the feminine. A douche most commonly refers to a device that washes a vagina. I won’t use words like that as a negative. It just adds to the problem. He was crass, sexist, and insulting.
SO AWFUL The Accused and he talks about boobs. Deep misogyny. And I don’t mind douche, vaginas don’t need to be washed, though I guess you’re right in thta Macfarlane and douches are equally useless
I was hoping you would write about this. Seriously! On my run this afternoon, I said to myself, “I wonder what Reel Girl is going to say about the Oscars.” Thanks!
I think I’m going to go for a run now and work of my anger. I am so pissed off at him. What a dumb-ass idiot. Thanks for your comment.
I couldn’t agree more reelgirl!!! When I watched that abyssmal display last night, I was already thinking about what you would say in your blog. He was a first-rate douche.
Frankly, douche is too good a word. A douche has a purpose. I still don’t know what his purpose was.