You have probably heard by now that in a recent live TV interview promoting her upcoming tour of Europe, Demi Lovato answered a question about her favourite dish with the following:
“I like mugs, because they’re very comfortable in your hand and they hold hot things that you don’t have to touch. So, you know, coffee or hot tea”
Oh, Demi, we all cried, that’s not what the question meant! Food, Demi, that’s what the question was about. When I first heard about this my reaction was much the same. Even when Demi defended herself with the following tweet:
I, like others, was skeptical as to whether Demi really did “joke” about the dish or was simply trying to save face, but last night I couldn’t sleep, because I’ve done Demi wrong. Not publicly, not even among friends, but in the confines of my own “sleepless night brain”, and I need to right this wrong. I have decided that Demi is, in fact, a genius. Maybe she was joking, maybe she completely misunderstood the question, but the point is, the question itself was stupid. It deserved a stupid answer.
Some celebrities are already right across this tactic.
We’ve seen Elisabeth Moss flipping off the Manicam
We’ve seen Cate Blanchett ducking to ask the camera slowly panning up her body “do you do that to the guys?”
We’ve seen Jennifer Lawrence’s disbelief when asked how she prepared for the Oscars, and whether she worries she “peaked too soon”:
Unfortunately for those outspoken enough to demand we #askhermore, they are sometimes met with hostility. Take Cara Delevingne’s response to whether she had read Paper Towns being met with the comment that she needed a nap…
I’d be grumpy too if it was automatically assumed my male co-stars had read a book while the same assumption was made that I had not. Take Jennifer Lawrence’s Lenny letter reluctance to negotiate a better deal for fear of being considered “spoiled”:
Lawrence’s fears are definitely warranted; the problems of women topping the “highest paid” lists are hardly relatable, but they are still the problems of women, and the more we highlight these problems the less they can be dismissed with “she’s grumpy,” “she’s a brat” or, my personal fave, “she’s a bitch”. It’s overwhelmingly depressing that it took 50 women to accuse Bill Cosby of rape before people started listening, like our credibility to be believed went out the window the second we were born with a vagina. But, regardless of whether the subject is a joke about dishes or an account of sexual assault, if that’s the way we get some momentum in this world, then we need more women, more people, speaking out about gender inequality, more frequently, and there’s no reason that can’t start in Hollywood.
Female celebrities are in a unique position, one where they can go to the gym wearing active wear (news!) and make it to the front cover of a magazine, so they are also in a unique position to draw attention to gender inequality by answering the abundance of stupid questions they are asked with equally stupid answers. They can hijack interviews by waffling on and on about the many reasons mugs are better than plates. They can state the obvious with a deadpan “death-stare”. I have no doubt in my mind that they will, at first, be greeted with “what’s she complaining about, she’s a millionaire,” but the more people that talk about it the clearer it becomes that this is an issue affecting more than just the “spoiled brats” of Hollywood.
We, the lowly humans of the working class world, need to do our part in support. So what if Jennifer Lawrence wants more money? If one of the most influential young women in the world doesn’t feel as though she can influence her own paycheck, how are the rest of us supposed to even broach the topic? So please, Demi, Jennifer, Cara, if you’re reading this (lol) and anyone else with any kind of public platform whatsoever who has an issue with the fact they are treated differently to the men they work with – stomp your feet, yell about it, kick up a fuss and be the brat they’ve already decided you are. Surely they can’t call us all bitches.