Although most of the time I agree with him, Gawker's Hamilton Nolan displayed some male privilege in his "suggestion" that female celebrities boycott the red carpet if they don't want to answer shallow questions about fashion and manicures. "Stay off the red carpet then" is no different than ordering women to stop walking the streets at night alone to stop rape. Both directives put the onus on women to change what is fundamentally a broad, misogynist trend.
Full disclaimer: I've pitched HamNo both as a Capitol Hill and campaign staffer. Although he doesn't know who I am in real life, I've worked with him professionally before. He's an otherwise good dude!
For decades, women have been at a strong disadvantage in Hollywood even in 2015. By boycotting the red carpet, as HamNo suggests, they're putting themselves at an even bigger disadvantage than they already are. A boycott will do nothing put fill the red carpet with other budding starlets who are eager to take those coveted spots and twirl and spew whatever crap is ordered. Much like low wage workers in a crappy economy, there will always be a bottomless pit of supply, and as long as that's true, changing the status quo is impossible.
Aside from ignoring a larger-than-life status quo, the other strange thing that sticks out to me is that HamNo completely ignores male celebrities' experiences on and off the red carpet. While it's true that all celebrities have to promote certain products during publicity opportunities, it's only the women who are stuck with answering dumb superficial questions. The men get to freely talk about the creative process, the depth of the characters, and the overall message of whatever thing they're hawking. Even more laughable, what about the men who aren't directors or producers but who can just show up and display their craft as ordered? They still get to talk about the creative process.
Here's a good example of the disgusting difference in questions:
"But all those tuxedos look the same!" Oh please. The bulk of the gowns on the red carpet look the same too: strapless, ball gown/column gown, and one solid color. Long gone are the days of Geena Davis and Kim Basinger's famous disasters because celebrity stylists took over. The people who take real risks on the red carpet are few and far between.
HamNo makes another mistake when he assumes this objectifying line of questioning ends when the red carpet does. Anne Hathaway and Scarlett Johansson have justifiably complained in press junkets about being asked about their diets. Jennifer Aniston has frequently gotten questions about her personal life when she's just trying to do her job as an actress. Can you imagine if an entertainment reporter asked Martin Scorsese who designed his glasses while he's discussing the symbolism in The Departed? Can you see Giuliana Rancic asking Matt Damon to flash his hand for the mani cam?
Funny thing is that there's a clear solution to all of this. For every celebrity that is attending a red carpet event, all of the publicists should send out a press release that lists the designer for each item that must be promoted. That way when they encounter an actress, reporters can ask more substantive questions while making sure that certain designer brands get promoted. HamNo is living in a dream world if he thinks that fashion and celebrity promotions will ever break up.
Despite my disagreement, I think we can all agree that Giuliana Rancic, Ryan Seacrest, and all the other celebrity red carpet interviews have got to go.