Elle Asks Men The Same Dumb Red-Carpet Questions Women Hear All The Time

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages.
There's been groundswell lately surrounding the ridiculously gendered questions celebrities get asked on the red carpet. The hashtag activitism movement #AskHerMore, which urged red-carpet reporters to ask celebrities about more than what they were wearing, started to gain traction in January. Around the same time, Elle.com launched the Flip the Script campaign, in which they promised to ask men the same questions that women normally get. 

Elle's rationale, which my colleague Gina Marinelli also addressed in a recent article, is this: Asking celebrities about their outfits isn't inherently sexist unless it's a question solely posed to women, and if that's the only topic that's covered during their interviews. People who are interested in fashion and accessories do want to know, and male celebrities are wearing clothes whose designers deserve credit as well. The problem that #AskHerMore is trying to address is that the fashion question is usually the only one posed to females on the red carpet, and if they're asked anything else, those questions also tend to veer toward the superficial. 

There's also the whole work/life balance, "How do you do it all?!" question repeatedly posed to women. Many argue that it's inherently gendered and needs to go, but why can't we also ask male celebrities how they make their lives work? That's what the Flip the Script campaign is about. Elle is posing the same questions to all celebrities, and in doing so, it's proving quite illuminating when it comes to Hollywood double standards. 

Elle.com asked the typical questions that women usually get on the red carpet to men at two recent award shows, and the results were pretty surprising. Some men really took to answering questions about how they got ready, what was in their pockets, and what they had eaten that day. Jonathan Groff said that he wished he was asked those types of questions more often.

"I wonder why women get asked super personal questions and men don't. I feel like we should get asked these questions more often. I don't even think about that stuff, so it's interesting to be asked about it," the actor told Elle.

On the whole, the men to whom Elle posed these questions seemed pleasantly surprised. In many instances, their responses further illuminated the rigors of Hollywood, like The Big Bang Theory's Kunal Nayyar's extremely honest answers to the questions, "Are you really worried about not looking fat?" and "What did you eat before the red carpet?" "It's Hollywood," he said. "I don't want to look bloated in front of the camera."

Nayyar's candor was refreshing, especially because it demonstrates how men feel scrutinized on the red carpet, too. The male red carpet experience is still far less superficial and judgmental than the female one, though, since most outlets don't ask men the questions that Elle is.

The only way to implement change is to point out the flaws in the system, which is what #AskHerMore is trying to do, and then remove the gendering of the experience, which is how Flip the Script is tackling the issue. Then, if a celebrity doesn't want to answer a given question, we should all be okay with his or her refusal to do so.

Changing the red carpet conversation just might be that simple. Now, how do we get rid of that silly Mani Cam? (Elle.com)
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