If you ask Seth MacFarlane, he’ll probably tell you that misogyny is the new black. I mean, it must be super popular, how else can you explain the pervasive and disgusting theme of last night’s Oscars? Women were the butt of a whole slew of the Family Guy creator’s jokes, with everything from a song about female nudity to cracks about Adele’s weight. Hilarious.
The ceremony’s rampant sexism was enough to turn even a devoted Oscar-watcher like myself off. MacFarlane’s hideous treatment of women has already been expertly written up by Vulture and BuzzFeed but it still needs to be talked about (the BuzzFeed article was published during the ceremony, citing 6 sexist things, and then was revised as the ceremony went on and continued to be sexist, to 9). It needs to be known that what he did was not okay. Sexualizing a nine-year-old for a cheap laugh? Not okay. Implying that women should make themselves sick to get skinny? Not okay. Reminding us all how funny domestic abuse is? Seriously not okay.
I get that it was all in the interest of comedy. I get that MacFarlane has made his name being an equal-opportunity offender (as if that means he offends no one at all). But there are lines that you shouldn’t cross. Some jokes are “all in good fun,” and some are “in poor taste,” and some are just plain wrong. I can take a joke, but last night wasn’t funny. Last night was wrong.
In a night when 30 men took home statuettes and only 9 women, in an industry where women are underrepresented, sexualized, and marginalized, on a telecast being watched by millions of people, it is plainly criminal to do that to women. Just look at the female supporting acting nominees this year. Anne Hathaway and Helen Hunt played sex workers. Jacki Weaver, Amy Adams, and Sally Field were only there as wife/mother appendages to leading male characters. When a woman was up for playing a role as an intrepid CIA agent, responsible for finding the worst criminal of all time, Seth lost no time in degrading her down just to make sure no women at the ceremony appeared powerful.
Sexism is something that is already so pervasive in our society we must work everyday to try to reverse its detrimental effects. Every time someone like Seth MacFarlane stands up on the world stage and lampoons women just because we are easy targets, he contributes to this culture that says women are lesser. The War on Women is not just in Washington. It’s all around us. It’s ever present on a night when men are asked about filmmaking and women are asking to show their manicures on a miniature red carpet.
To contribute to the war on women all for the sake of a slew of jokes that weren’t actually funny is MacFarlane’s biggest sin. Not just because the jokes were sexist, but because they weren’t good jokes. What is the point of women in film? To show men their boobs! That’s all they’re good for. Ha ha! I’m sure MacFarlane and most 12-year-old boys really enjoyed that. I just hope they don’t grow up thinking like that.