07 March 2010

Oscars? or Miss Hollywood?

It's ostensibly about achievement, a ceremony to recognize filmmakers and actors.

But given the amount of attention given to the dresses of the women in attendance, it feels more like a beauty pageant.

The Times is running pictures of women at the Oscars on top of the web site today. An early article entitled "Ladies Dazzle Oscar Red Carpet as History Awaits" is all about the women's -- sorry, the "ladies'" -- looks:
Vera Farmiga, ... wore a ruby red strapless gown from Marchesa with a dramatic ruffle. Recording star Mariah Carey ... showed off a plunging neckline and much leg in her navy gown...
If Meryl Streep or Sandra Bullock or Kathryn Bigelow wins an Oscar, it will be a result of breath-taking amounts of talent and consistent hard work. But the attention to the women's looks, and the amounts of flesh displayed, makes it seem like it's all about pretty faces.

Hollywood needs to catch up with the position of women in the 21st century, that much is clear. But the uncritical media attention on Hollywood's presentation of women as just so much window-dressing doesn't help the situation any.