Will Sexist Celebrity Interviews Ever Stop?

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages
A-list actresses have an enormous amount of power.

They can demand a certain candy is in their dressing room and trigger a nationwide fad just by wearing a certain accessory in public. But no matter what they do, they can't seem to get interviewers to stop asking them sexist questions. Some actresses have become known for shutting down the kind of invasive, inappropriate questions reporters often throw at actresses but spare their male costars. During a press interview for The Avengers in May of 2012, Scarlett Johansson pointed out how creepy it was for the interviewer to ask whether she wore underwear under her Black Widow suit. The lesson was obviously not learned.

Two months later, the same interviewer was asking incredibly gendered questions to Anne Hathaway. Like Johansson, she let the guy know he could be questioning the (then) Oscar nominated actress in a more interesting, less uncomfortable way.
On the 2014 Oscar's red carpet, a Buzzfeed reporter decided to flip the script and direct the diet and fashion questions normally reserved for actresses at Kevin Spacey. He obviously understood what his interviewer was trying to do, but the difference was jarring, with Spacey asking her "Were you smoking before you came here?" Because only a drug-addled mind could think it's appropriate to pester a man about his personal grooming habits.

Then during the 2015 award season Reese Witherspoon urged interviewers to #AskHerMore. The hashtag was quickly spread by other powerful women in Hollywood like Lena Dunham and Shonda Rhimes. But well into the the second half of the year, Kate Mara is still being asked endless questions about her hair.

It could be argued that sexist interview questions are just a burden of the elite, something actresses have to deal with in exchange for their piles of money — which would still be sexist, since male actors can enjoy their money piles sans questions about their underwear. But the issue of the sexist interview goes way beyond the implications from the actresses. If powerful women are telling interviewers their sexism is not acceptable, and they're still not being heard, what chance do women with little to no power have to stop sexism at their work?

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