For decades, various award shows would spotlight what women were wearing, instead of what they were at these ceremonies for. Men were scarcely asked what designer they were wearing and got to speak more about their roles in their product. Shows like Fashion Police would compare women’s outfits the next day, picking out which they liked best and making fun of others to the point where they would have “who wore it better” segments. On Fashion Police, the number of men being judged for what they wore was a fraction of that of the women. In magazines following the event, there would be multiple pages dedicated to which woman they believed had the best dress. Is the point of an award show to see fashion? Does it really matter if you don’t like what a star was wearing or if they wore something similar in past years? Why are women constantly asked what they are wearing when men are rarely asked? We can attribute this to society’s creation of gender roles. A gender role is a set of expectations society has for men and women. Traditionally, men are valued for their work and what they have to bring to the table, whereas women are valued for their looks while their skills are overlooked.
Since 2014, there has been a push on social media to #askhermore. This means that at the red carpet, women should be asked about their roles in their film or their career goals over being asked what designer they are wearing. According to the Bustle article, at the 2017 Golden Globes, women were first asked how they were or about their movie role, then asked about what they were wearing, which led to the end of the interview. Women were asked about their roles more than they were in the past, but there is still significant improvements that can be made on the quality of questions women are asked (Griffiths, 2017). “Because men occupy a privileged position in the social hierarchy and women occupy a subordinate position (Ridgeway & Correll, 2004), holding the belief that gender roles are fixed may have different consequences for how each gender views themselves and the legitimacy of the social system as a whole” (Kray 2017). By pushing to have more equal treatment for men and women on red carpets, we can help to remove the subordinate gender role from women and have an equal appreciation for each gender’s contribution. Additionally, In a study by Kray, Howland, Russell, & Jackman they “predicted that fixed gender roles would trigger masculine identity motives and lead men to align their self-perceptions with masculine attributes more than feminine attributes. Given the implied value of masculinity over femininity under fixed gender roles, we did not expect to see evidence of elevated self-stereotyping for women, as claiming more feminine characteristics would require distancing themselves from the more highly esteemed masculine traits. Instead, fixed gender roles might also increase women’s identification with masculine attributes over feminine attributes” (2017). Because men are higher in the social hierarchy than women, on red carpets women are taking more traditional masculine roles by demanding that their worth isn’t defined by what they are wearing. They are thus elevating their societal position to match the advantage of men. This would also help remove the inherent objectification in only examining women for how they appear.
By: Christina Marciante
Griffiths, K. (2017, January 08). The 2017 Golden Globes Red Carpet May Have Asked Her
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Gender Role Theories on Gender System Justification: Fixed Beliefs Strengthen
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