The #AskHerMore movement at the Oscars has got us thinking about what we’d really like to ask Hollywood stars.
Could we really be seeing the shift of red carpet chat to fewer frocks and more real feelings? The #AskHerMore campaign has been gathering pace throughout 2015 awards season, a rallying cry for the press to branch out beyond their usual line of strictly-aesthetic questioning for female stars.
And although at one point it seemed 99% of the buzz around the hashtag was just articles being glad about its existence, last night’s 87th Academy Awards ceremony really did seem to beckon a new era where women on the red carpet are asked about more than just their frocks. Sometimes. A bit.
First we all went nuts over Reese Witherspoon sharing this Insta-protest, via @obviweretheladies, with a list of suggested questions for women about their work in the industry – and tackled the weird myth that we can’t care about both hemlines and hard work to boot. ‘I love the Oscars AND fashion like many of you – & am excited to share #WhoAmIWearing later tonight,’ she commented. ‘But I’d also love to answer some of these Qs….And hear your suggestions?! (Share em below!) There are so many amazing, talented nominees this year..! Let’s hear their stories!’
On the red carpet itself there were still plenty of ‘how long did it take to exfoliate your elbows?’-style questions, but the dreaded E! mani-cam was nowhere to be seen. There was also a notable increase in stars talking about other issues – some asked outright by savvy reporters, and some who managed to bring ‘who are you wearing?’ around to a discussion on their work or charity concerns. Emma Stone shared advice from her mom (who came as her date), Sienna Miller talked about her experience as a British actor on America Sniper, and Julianne Moore spoke about misconception of Alzheimer’s as an inevitable part of ageing, rather than a disease.
Meanwhile on the stage, Patricia Arquette completed her run of kick-ass acceptance speeches with a heartfelt appeal for pay equality that had Meryl and J-Lo leaping out of their seats. ‘To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer of this nation. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all in the United States of America,’ she proclaimed.
It’s been a better year to be a woman in Hollywood, was the feeling. Better, but still far from perfect. Because oh, wouldn’t it be grand to get to a point where actresses said so many interesting and varied things on the red carpet that we didn’t have time to turn them all into inspirational Instagrams?
We know the rule: where’s there’s progress, there’s a backlash, and naturally #AskHerMore has prompted a few peeved comments. Some are from tweeters who really want to know which designers have kitted out which celebs (and who presumably all read the hashtag as #AskHerNOTHINGABOUTCLOTHESATALL), some people who think the mutually beneficial relationship between stars and designers is just too iron-clad for a few comments on politics to make a difference, and some who sniffed out a feminist agenda and just couldn’t help sneezing ‘BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MEN??!?’ all over it.
More sensible tweeters pointed out that the movement doesn’t necessarily mean asking every female actor to give a 10-minute rundown on US fiscal policy or their take on the situation in Syria. Or every male actor, for that matter. It just means giving them a chance to talk about anything other than their outfit or pre-show ablutions.
#AskHerMore doesn't mean asking her impossible questions about world peace or the ultimate fate of the universe, just not the dress! Jeez
— Emma Gannon (@girllostincity) February 23, 2015
And it’s not that we can’t care or don’t care about the dresses, obviously. But maybe if we power through with the #AskHerMore approach, we might reach a point where asking about the dress becomes novel and interesting again. ‘Ooh!’ the stars of 2038 will say, ‘I’m glad you asked – it’s the same one I’ve worn every year for the past two decades, but I was so busy making pithy observations on the world and entertainment industry that nobody even noticed.’
So in the spirit of chivvying things along for an even more enlightened awards season 2016, and in between typing ‘ALL THE CHARTREUSE THINGS’ into the ASOS search bar (your fault, Emma), we’ve come up with a list of the #AskHerMore questions we’d love to hear answered…
What gets you up in the morning?
If you could play any real or fictional character, who would it be?
What’s the biggest career mistake you’ve ever made?
What’s the one thing you’d like to see the next US/UK Government achieve?
What’s the worst advice anyone has ever given you, and did you follow it?
What do you think is the biggest obstacle facing women in the film industry?
What do you think is the biggest obstacle facing women in the world?
What are you reading at the moment? Don’t lie if it’s embarrassing.
What’s your favourite item on the on-set buffet table, and have you ever hidden more of it in your handbag?
If you could have another actor’s career, who would it be?
If you could at all costs avoid having another actor’s career, whose would it be?
How often do you phone your parents? And how often do you feel guilty about how often you phone your parents?
Do you think it’s ok to separate a director’s work from terrible things they may have done in their lives, just so we can all carry on – for example – enjoying Annie Hall?
Have you ever suffered from panic attacks? If so, how did you cope with them?
Does society need to change the way it defines success?
Do you ever bump into old schoolmates at the supermarket, and is it really awkward?
Have you ever accidentally confused Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman with each other and how did you style it out?
Did you have that moment, just before you came out tonight, where you suddenly thought ‘ugh, I’d really rather just stay home and eat cheese’?
How much money do you give when you sponsor relatives or family friends to do charity events? Do you put your name on the JustGiving page or leave it anonymous?
How do you pronounce ‘almond’, and are you definitely wrong?
When’s the last time you went to sleep without brushing your teeth, as ‘a treat’?
At what point does someone become so famous that they forget posting Instagrams ONLY of themselves is a pretty egotistical thing to do?
Do you ever find your mind wandering during the In Memoriam section and then feel incredibly bad about it?
You need to carry a goat, a cabbage and a wolf across a river, but your boat will only hold one passenger at a time. If you leave the wolf with the goat he’ll eat the goat, and if you leave the goat with the cabbage he’ll eat the cabbage. How do you do it?
What’s the deal with John Travolta turning into everyone’s sleazy uncle?
How disappointed were you by the end of How I Met Your Mother?
How often do you wash jeans?
Have you ever taken a part you knew you were wrong for, just because you fancied the cash?
Can I borrow $20?
Main image: Wikimedia Commons