#AskHerMore online campaign demands actresses be asked more poignant questions on the red carpet

Jennifer Manalili, Copy Editor

“Who are you wearing?” It’s a question that should have been put to rest with the late, great Joan Rivers when she died last September.

#AskHerMore is a movement born out of necessity. It’s born out of Hollywood, a business that notoriously places artistry on the shoulders of men and seldomly on their female counterparts, instead saving their best, most sexist questions for them. And it simply asks just what the name says: demanding that actresses be asked more poignant and important questions when they walk the red carpet.

The most notoriously guilty example of of this offense is the E! cable network, home of the Kardashians, whose tiresome routine may have actually inspired the hashtag movement. Their offenses are many, and include the unveiling of a “mani-cam” and “clutch cam” during red carpet events, which prompted reporters to ask actresses to show their purses and walk their nails down a miniature red carpet set-up. As if renowned actresses are reduced to their nail art. These antics were added to their usual “360 cam” which pans up and down an actor’s body while they are being interviewed about their work and once prompted Cate Blanchett to jerk down, interrupting the interview to glare into the lens and angrily snap, “Do you do that to the guys too?”

The answer, of course, is no. And women are getting tired of pretending these superficial antics are relevant at all.

In one infamous interview while promoting “Marvel’s The Avengers,” an interviewer asked Robert Downey Jr. a complex question about his craft, “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?” Without missing a beat, in the same breath, the reporter turned to Scarlett Johansson, who was sitting beside him at the press conference, and asked what her diet regime to fit into her Black Widow costume was like.

The question prompted Johannson to quip, “How come you get the existential question and I get the rabbit food question?”

On similar promotional tours for her Black Widow character, Johansson has similarly been asked questions ranging from “Were you able to wear any undergarments (under the suit)?” while her male co-stars were asked “What do you think is Scarlett’s sexiest body part?”

Anne Hathaway was similarly, disturbingly asked about her diet routine in an interview with Matt Lauer, after losing weight to look like the starving Fantine in “Les Miserables.” The question prompted Hathaway to snap, “I don’t want to be seen as trying to glamorize it. Like, I did it to look like I was dying.” Emma Stone was asked about dyeing her hair blonde while promoting “The Amazing Spider-Man,” inspiring her to turn to Andrew Garfield and add, “You get asked interesting, poignant questions because you’re a boy.”

The movement is an appropriate reaction to the dismay reflected on how atrocious it is that the media reduces women to their bodies instead of focusing on the hard work and achievements they have gained in order to be recognized at the vary award shows they are being interviewed at.

When intelligent human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin’s accomplishments are downplayed by the media because she married George Clooney, when the same media questions Hillary Clinton’s ability to balance life as a grandmother with political responsibilities without asking the same questions to her male political counterparts, it’s not only revealing but telling. The #AskHerMovement speaks volumes for a problem of sexism that is so often swept under the rug, and is a poignant battlecry for a movement that is not only needed but necessary in a media ripe with double standards and where women are so often under represented.

Seeing actresses react to ridiculous, superficial questions gives hope to a brighter, richer media future. Refusing to answer sexist questions from the media and demanding the same respect and treatment reserved for their male counterparts speaks volumes. Leaving their interviewers embarrassed and stumbling over their cards will hopefully inspire a clearer understanding of what kind of questions should be asked in interviews in the future.

Ask the right questions.

It really shouldn’t even be a question.