As we prepare to celebrate films like La La Land and Hidden Figures at the Oscars in late February, it’s important to remember the historic award show’s roots (and let me tell you — those roots are covered in a hell of a lot of satin). Two decades earlier at the 1997 Academy Awards, the red carpet was crawling with celebrity couples. From enduring Hollywood duos like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn to some short-lived flings (Vivica A. Fox and Dennis Rodman, anyone?), the Oscars that year were a hotbed of PDA, hand-holding, and some very . . . um . . . interesting fashion choices. Bask in the glory of all of these late-’90s couples ahead!
To Salma Hayek, Shirley MacLaine, Cat Cora and Anyone Shouting Down Jessica Williams and Other Women? Just. F*cking. Listen
This weekend, the LA Times ran a piece ostensibly about a luncheon celebrating women in film. The piece is actually a searing look into everything that is wrong with feminism and its lack of true intersectionality.
The focal point of the article is a conversation between Jessica Williams, Salma Hayek, Shirley MacLaine, and a couple of weird popups by chef Cat Cora, who acts in this piece as your ill-informed high school friend who thrusts herself into all your Facebook posts about politics with some half-assed call for unity that translates to «I voted for Donald Trump.»
It starts with Hayek and MacLaine calling upon the women in the room to put aside «victimization» and find their «core identity.» Rather than sit and roll her eyes, as I have to assume many attendees did, Williams spoke up.
«I have a question for you,» Williams, 27, said to MacLaine. «My question is: What if you are a person of color, or a transgendered person who — just from how you look — you already are in a conflict?»
«Right, but change your point of view,» MacLaine offered. «Change your point of view of being victimized. I’m saying: Find the democracy inside.»
«I’m sorry,» Hayek said, jumping in. «Can I ask you a question?»
«Yes, ma’am,» Williams answered.
«Who are you when you’re not black and you’re not a woman? Who are you and what have you got to give?»
Williams took a deep breath. «A lot. But some days, I’m just black, and I’m just a woman,» she said. «Like, it’s not my choice. I know who I am. I know I’m Jessica, and I’m the hottest bitch on the planet I know.»
«No, no, no,» Hayek said. «Take the time to investigate. That’s the trap! …There is so much more.»
«Right,» agreed MacClaine. «The more is inside.»
Williams and director Dee Rees attempted to explain to the other women at the table that what is being described by Hayek and MacLaine as «victimization» is an inescapable part of their lives. The way she is viewed in this room by her peers is not threatening, Rees explained, «but in line at the bank? Things were different.»
«I also feel like the word ‘victim’ — I feel like it has bothered me,» Williams replied. «When I talk about feminism, sometimes I feel like being a black woman is cast aside. I always feel like I’m warring with my womanhood and wanting the world to be better, and with my blackness — which is the opposite of whiteness.»
Then Cat Cora walked in made it about her.
Cora, who had been in the kitchen cooking lamb stew and halibut, wandered over to share that she grew up gay in Mississippi, where she was sexually abused from age 6. No matter an individual’s experience, she said, she just wished all women would have one another’s backs.
It was a somewhat of an abrupt turn, and «Transparent» creator Soloway returned to Williams to ask her to continue speaking.
Writer Amy Kaufman describes Williams as «visibly uncomfortable.» When she stresses the importance of not speaking over black women, Hayek asks her to define «speaking over,» in what feels a very familiar moment. That moment you are being pulled into a conversation where you are going to be asked to defend yourself as a human to a person only pulling you into the conversation to shoot you down. There will be no meeting of the minds, no coming to a shared understanding. There will be a black woman being made to explain herself and her point of view, and another woman telling her why she should not feel that way and determining herself the winner of the argument. Determining herself peacemaker for silencing this other woman.
It was a truly uncomfortable look at what black women go through every single day. And I found myself praying that I’ve never been any of these women forcing this unwanted moment upon Williams.
«So when you say women of color,» Hayek began. Then she noticed that Williams was not making eye contact with her. «Jessica, do you mind if I look at your eyes?
Williams barely looked up. Still, the back-and-forth continued, with Hayek questioning whether or not she was considered a woman of color in Williams’ estimation. Nearly everyone in the room responded that Hayek was.
«Wouldn’t it solve it if women just all had each other’s backs in general?» Cora asked suddenly.
OH MY GOD SHUT UP, CAT CORA, GOD.
Hayek then points out how misunderstood she feels. Kimberly Peirce, director of Boys Don’t Cry tells everyone to stop shutting Williams down (Cat Cora responded «I don’t think anybody here shut her down» because GOD DAMMIT CAT CORA) and then Hayek put the condescending cherry on the infantilization sundae.
«Baby, I’m Mexican and Arab,» she went on, addressing Williams. «I’m from another generation, baby, when this was not even a possibility. My generation, they said, ‘Go back to Mexico. You’ll never be anything other than a maid in this country.’ By the heads of studios! There was no movement. Latino women were not even anywhere near where you guys are. I was the first one. I’m 50 years old. So I understand.»
«You don’t understand,» Williams said, shaking her head quietly.
When Pantsuit Nation became massively popular, as women of color called to be centered in the conversation, members became enraged. «We’re all on the same side; stop attacking me.» «We’re all women; let’s just work together without these attacks.» This is that. This is all of that. This is every conversation about feminism and women’s rights and any other issue that has attempted to create a baseline of activism, an operational average of white and cisgender, with other concerns put to the side while we focus on the collective «big picture.»
When we attempt to find common ground to the detriment of issues facing black women, trans women, immigrant women, poor women, any woman who does not fit the Average American White Cis Baseline of Feminist Activism, we become one of the archetypes as portrayed in this piece: the new-age-kumbaya Shirley MacClaine, the minimally informed and me-focused «can’t we all just get along» Cat Cora; or the Salma Hayek, who has also been marginalized but cannot recognize the privilege she’s gained along the way. We condescend. We shut down. And then we call it a win.
We treat it like a secret, some hidden treasure we have yet to discover. We look for this magical key that will somehow make everything OK, but we have no idea what it could possibly be. There is no magical key, but there is something close. And it’s to listen. If we listened, if we just shut the fuck up and listened. If we listened to black women, to trans women, to disabled women, to poor women, to women who are all or any combination of the above or beyond, rather than trying to defend ourselves and thereby making things so much worse and proving everything the women we’re shutting down are trying to tell us about ourselves, maybe things would be better.
Just listen. When confronted with the uncomfortable truths we don’t want to hear, we need to listen. We need to hear things, we need to learn from them. We need to be better. All of us. We’re all in this together, yes, but our experiences are different. So listen. Just fucking listen. That’s a start
It seems like Nicole Kidman’s stylist has been smoking some bedazzled crack rocks lately, but they must’ve smoked the right kind of bedazzled rock yesterday. Because Nicole Kidman covered the SAG Awards with tons of fucking sequins and crazy parrot glamour. If you’re wearing a Gucci dress that Barry Manilow can easily use as a backdrop to sing Copacabana in front of, then you’re wearing the right Gucci dress. I don’t know whether to throw crackers at her titties or beg her fabulous parrot friends to sing the Enchanted Tiki Room song to us. Nicole really is giving us tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room realness.
If one of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurants opened up a lounge where torch song versions of his songs were sung, Nicole Kidman would be that joint’s main singer. Nicole has been putting crazy shit on her body lately and this shit is still crazy, but it’s the right kind of crazy. You can never go wrong by dressing as the hostess at a Rainforest Cafe that’s run by Liberace.
And Nicole trained her bedazzled chest parrots well, because they behaved and didn’t peck at Keith Urban after mistaking his fake tanner face for dehydrated papaya.
If you make a habit of shopping at Banana Republic, GAP, Old Navy, or Athleta, you can get 20% off this GAP Options card. Since it’s just a gift card, your savings will stack with any other deals or promotions the retailers offer as well.
In season two of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, issues of personal insecurities, marital infidelities, and finally acknowledged alcoholism have taken center stage. Too long avoided was the sticky topic of period sex. That is until now.
Throw down a towel and enjoy.
If you feel the urge to buy it on iTunes, no judgement.
The SAG Awards went down in LA on Sunday night, and to say it blessed us with so many cute moments is a bit of an understatement. In addition to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars having so much fun together, we also got to see something that has become somewhat of a rare thing during award shows: people freaking the eff out. From Emma Stone’s stunned reaction to her best actress win to Denzel Washington physically not being able to move after his very first SAG win, the excitement was definitely on another level.
Last night at the SAG Awards, advocate for women Brie Larson finally got to say a name that wasn’t Casey Affleck and she literally giggled with glee. WE GET YOU, BRIE. (Celebitchy)
Also at the SAG Awards, Natalie Portman cosplayed as a pregnant Melania Trump. (Dlisted)
Why would Ale give 5 stars to a book she hated? Because Dave Eggers is a talented writer who wants readers of The Circle to feel uncomfortable. "I was so disturbed by the end of this book that I literally was afraid to pick up my phone afterwards or log into any digital devices whatsoever." Will you read this before the movie comes out in April? (Cannonball Read 9)
Gina Rodriguez and her boyfriend are adorable. (Lainey)
Also? She is ALL OF US.
I'm chill right? Like, this is chill, right? pic.twitter.com/MZRGyqrtcQ
— Gina Rodriguez (@HereIsGina) January 30, 2017
Kate Hudson continues to show up at events with no purpose or reason and it is going TREMENDOUSLY. And by that I mean replete with Marky Mark underpants line. (GFY)
Teens today have the best role models. Like Zendaya, here not only taking down a Twitter fat-shamer, but offering the fat-shamed a job as a model for her clothing line. (Revelist)
That Matthew McConaughey movie about the gold and the wearing Christian Bale’s bald cap from American Hustle did NOT do well. (UPROXX)
I’ve got to hand it to Evan Rachel Wood. She showed an awful lot of restraint last night on the red carpet of the SAG Awards. Evan showed up on the red carpet in another tuxedo and with a shiny ring on that finger, and she could have debuted it in the most attention-grabbing way, which is of course by posing hard next to her man with her left hand on his chest. But she did not do that.
Evan did attend the SAG Awards with her boyfriend and bandmate, Zach Villa. And she did do a little posing with her new ring, but it was more on the subtle side of things. It was almost more like “What, this thing? Oh, it’s just a silver band I had lying around NBD.” Except that it’s exactly the type of ring that it looks like. Evan’s rep has confirmed to UsWeekly that 29-year-old Evan and 29-yer-old Zach are engaged. She got engaged less than three weeks after her ex-husband Jamie Bell did.
UsWeekly says that both Evan and Zach were wearing rings, but her rep said it’s an engagement situation and not a secret marriage thing. They didn’t just match rings either; both Evan and Zach showed up looking like The Wonder Twins after relocating from Exxor to Los Feliz.
I wonder what their wedding will look like? My guess is they will both walk down the aisle together, singing their vows in unison, then immediately put in a request to change both of their names to Zevan. But I don’t see them doing the wedding cake-smash thing; getting icing so close to their circuit boards would probably void their warranties. They are Westworld replicants, right?
The year? 1998. Bill Clinton asked everyone to define the word «is», the ruble lost 70% of its value in 6 months, and Titanic was breaking box office records. It was also when Kellyanne Conway, D.C’s «political pundette» was well known enough to get invited to participate in a charity comedy contest called D.C.’s Funniest Celebrity.
You don’t have to watch it. Like, at all. It’s 11 minutes long and has taken me all morning to try to watch it. She jokes about the Washington Redskins, possible candidates for the then upcoming 2000 election, and brings out a red feather boa for a song and dance, I guess? She does a lot of D.C. name dropping and then does a top 5 ways how she broke her leg. Jump to the 9:20 mark, should you want to see a butchered cutesy song about «the pundette blues,» but in case you don’t want to, here’s a taste of her lyrics:
Newt left for Georgia on the midnight train, House Republicans made no gains, lead story now is Saddam Hussein, and I don’t know nothing about that, but they’ll still invite me to chat, as long as I’m blonde and not too fat.
This is an honest question that I don’t have the answer to. The majority of y’all are liberals who are decrying what’s going on. We wrote a lot last week about how our little factions and groups needs to work together better, listen to each other, etc. But I don’t think «our side» can do it alone. There are those (goddamned) indifferents who didn’t vote at all, and we need them on our side. But we also need some right-thinking Republicans on our side. They exist. But how do we find them, how do we talk with them, how do we get them to understand what’s going on here, why it’s so bad for so many reasons, why it doesn’t even comport with so many of the policy platforms that the Republican party is actually supposed to stand on?
I want to relay what happened late last week as an example of what happens when you try, and how it’s left me more lost on this point than ever.
There’s a guy I went to law school with and have been casual friends with since. He was always a Republican, but a reasonable one, able and willing to talk with us about issues in a rational and complex discussion. He’d sometimes say some stupid, pig-headed stuff, and though you might not get him to come around to the other side on the point, you could at least get him to acknowledge and understand our perspective. As a friend put it, «He didn’t think of others right away on his own, but could see the purpose in it if you pointed it out.»
Anyway, last Thursday this guy posts a thing on Facebook. It’s long, so I’ve included it at the end of the post. It portended to be a call to his fellow Republicans to be sympathetic and show civility, though its real point was made clear by saying they should just «humor them» [their liberal friends] and categorizing this as our side just being «disappointed» losers. But by posting something like this, you’re seemingly inviting discussion.
So folks spoke up in the comments. Some Republicans and like-minded folks applauded him for being so «classy.» I and several other friends, who all know each other and the poster personally, spoke up to try to explain why this was a false equivalence, why there are some fundamentally terrible things already happening (and this was all before the Ban and the NSC reshuffling disaster) that are oh so very different from it just being about our side having lost. There was some back and forth that made it clear none of our points were really hitting at all, but at least discussion was seemingly being had. But things devolved a bit following an attacking and belittling comment from his wife. I spoke offline with two friends and all agreed it was probably best to just keep quiet at this point.
But by the next morning, we had all thrown that aside and went back into it. I myself posted a long screed, which had a couple of curses in it, and certainly could’ve been «better» with some more thought and time behind it, rather than it just being a missive quickly typed out before I had had my first cup of coffee. But I honestly think it was a reasonable entry in the discussion. Yet when I checked the post a short time later, after finally having some coffee in me, the comment wasn’t there. I suspected it may have been deleted, but I honestly thought maybe I hadn’t posted it properly (I really function poorly until I’ve had that first cup). And because I had written it in another app on my phone, I happened to still have the original content, so I posted it again.
A few minutes later it was gone, and there was a note from the original poster about a twice-deleted comment being deleted because it lacked a «modicum of civility.» Livid, I took to my own Facebook wall and posted that comment, edited to mainly clean it up a little, with an intro and an addendum (again included below, both so you can read it if you care and in an effort to be transparent about the content I posted, for the purposes of what comes next in this story). He quickly untagged himself from it and deleted me as a Facebook friend, all as I expected. But then he went and reported it to Facebook as a purported content violation, which I learned late in the day when Facebook informed me of the report and that they had removed it as spam.
Putting aside whether or not it violates their content policies (I’ve read them — it does not), whether it meets their spam policy definition (I’ve read it — it does not), or whether Facebook should be in the business of removing political discussion (while it’s certainly free to do so, as a private company, it shouldn’t) … putting all that aside, this left me in the quandary I started off with. We tried to explain things to him. To explain where we were coming from, why this Administration is so terrible, why we should try to be on the «same side.» And the response we get is that he’s so thin-skinned that he can’t take some basic truths, some things that «our side» cannot and will not keep out of the discussion. He probably didn’t like me calling him out on his privilege, he probably didn’t like me asking him how he was going to explain that he was on the wrong side of history … I get it. This is all uncomfortable. But rather than engaging, trying to push back on these assertions, he goes out of his way to simply shut it all down.
I don’t think «our side» can do it alone. But how do we engage Them in meaningful conversation when They won’t listen?
So here is the message that this guy posted on Facebook:
I am sympathetic to those whose candidate lost the election, because I remember what it feels like. The long and well televised election season creates a powerful momentum of emotion — excitement and enthusiasm. There was endless opportunity to surround yourself with supporting viewpoints (indeed, the campaigns are trying to create groundswell). But when that momentum does not culminate in your candidate’s victory, there is an emptiness — the breadth of which cannot be captured by the simple word: «disappointment.» When the shoe was on the other foot, I recall populating my Facebook page with angry political commentary. Some people «unfriended» me … thankfully, most humored me. Eventually I found equilibrium and was able to turn my attention to the things in my life that I could control. It was a growing experience, and I recall it now with a sense of hopeful optimism. For all those of you who feel angst about the next 4-8 years, you’re going to be alright. After all, you are in good company with the Republicans of 4 and 8 years ago. For those Republicans who resist the urge to tell the other half of the country to «get over it,» you stay classy. Humor them. Give them time. And hopefully, when the shoe is — again — on the other foot (and it will be), the Left can show similar class.
And here is what I posted on my Facebook wall, including the comment that this poor guy felt so bullied by:
The comment below, edited for context, readability and the addition of an addendum, has been twice deleted from a Facebook thread. Greg, you can delete my comments, you can delete this post when it shows up on your timeline, you can delete our Facebook friendship if you so choose, but you cannot delete the import of these words. You say these words lack civility, you say you don’t defend our new president. But in speaking down to people who respond to a discussion you started, and not speaking against the policies already being enacted and the policies he has made clear he wants to continue to enact, it is you and those of a similar mold who lack civility. We will not shut up, we will not stop fighting….
Greg, your wife says you aren’t defending Trump. But if you can’t admit even that he is a liar, or that Steve Bannon is a racist wannabe Nazi, or that there is clear misogyny in a group of old white man standing around a desk and happily watching a bill get signed that will have no impact on men but cause women to be hurt and die … if you can’t admit some of these fundamental things because you are so fucking blinded by your partisanship (and assuming that’s all it is is me giving you the benefit of the doubt by assuming you’re still fundamentally the man I knew back in the day), if you can’t or won’t admit these things, you lose credibility with «our side.»
There is a fundamental starting point for any discussion with «the other side» from which we will not move.
In a week, this administration has set this country on a path which does not necessarily impact you or I directly. Upper class privileged white men are gonna survive this shit just fine. My immigration client who we helped get DACA status, who has worked and paid taxes for 15 years and would face a legitimate threat to her life in her «home» country because she is transgender, yet can’t seek asylum because her prior attorney (now disbarred) fucked her case up, she may not survive just fine.
The refugees we won’t let in despite no empirical evidence that «they» are terrorists or ill willed or anything other than people trying to get out of bad situations like most of our ancestors, they may not survive just fine.
The steps back we’re seeing and will continue to see against people of color, women and the LGBTQ community, create not just a legal landscape but an overall environment that means many of them will not survive just fine.
Congrats, you think it was wrong that your side went after Obama’s birth (though you don’t seem willing to admit that was stemming from racism). But that ain’t NOTHING like this and you are (or at least used to be) smart enough to know this.
[Added to my FB post] You guys wanna call us sore losers? You’re wrong, but you’re certainly free to do so. I am comfortable in the fact that when all is said and done we will be seen to have been on the right side of history. I hope you’re comfortable with the idea of having to explain to your children why you weren’t.