Those close to me know I identify as a feminist. I firmly believe in the beautiful difference between and the equality of the sexes. I encourage myself and others to challenge all stereotypes, but especially gender stereotypes.
For the most part, I try to keep this low-key: I point out to students why stereotypes they use might be offensive to those around them. I try to eliminate stereotypical comments from my vernacular. I lovingly remind my husband on occasion that my gender does not determine who is making dinner on a particular evening (love you, dear).
Every once in a while, though, I can't help myself. I have to say something. I've probably offended on occasion, but I don't apologize for that. I know genders are different, and that should be celebrated, but many stereotypes that exist are demeaning and have nothing to do with our divine genders.
Emma Stone is one of my current favorites. She is a rockstar for women everywhere. Her film Easy A was a masterpiece in pointing out the double-standard for women when it comes to sexuality. A few months back, she did a phenomenal appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. On this episode, she and Jimmy Fallon did a lip sync battle, in which she rocks. Watch it now. It will only improve your way of living:
Yes, Emma's appearance is incredible. But only when I watch a more recent lip sync battle did the reasons why become more clear to me. Gwen Stefani's appearance on The Tonight Show was so disappointing. Watch it, and prepare to be ashamed:
Again, I'm sorry you had to watch that. At least you have Blake and Jimmy in there to ease the pain a bit. "Puttin on the Ritz" is fantastic.
Gwen Stefani is a talented and successful woman in the world of music. Congratulations to her on being a judge this season on The Voice. She deserves it. However, her lip sync on The Tonight Show was a capital example of where inequality with women still lies.
Her first choice of song is an excellent one: "Call Me Maybe" by Carley Rae Jepson. Although it's not something I would have said, I don't judge her too harshly for taking a jab at the musical quality of the piece. HOWEVER, she doesn't even take it seriously. Her lip syncing is BAD. "Call Me Maybe" might just be the easiest song in the world to lip sync, and she does it poorly. She cops out, by silly-dancing around the stage. And then. And then she exploits her sexual nature by dancing up on Jimmy. I mean. I MEAN. Sexy dancing may be the #1 negative cop-out for girls at social gatherings. I think it falls as #4 of wort female behaviors, to fit in Tina Fey's list: "girl-on-girl sabotage is the third worst kind of female behavior, right behind saying "like" all the time and leaving your baby in a dumpster.” Whether girls sexy-dance to impress the guy or make a joke, it is demeaning to our sacred sexual nature as women, and I hate it.
THEN. Her final number was a duet with Blake Shelton. I give props that this was a unique idea, but I hate it for a few reasons: First, it was badly lip-synced again (Come on, Gwen. You had one job). Second, she had to rely on a MAN to create humor on the stage. Gwen alone WAS NOT FUNNY. Blake Shelton totally carried the number and I commend him for putting up with the whole thing.
Emma Stone does no such thing (watch it again to make you happy). She relies on herself and her talents to create a fantastic experience and HUMOR for her viewers. She uses her gender to enhance the laugh-inducing experience. She purposefully chooses, as other candidates have done successfully, songs by members of the opposite gender. By doing this, humor is naturally created, but more so because Emma does the number still as a woman. She doesn't pretend to be a man, nor does she over sexualize her femininity--She simply is a woman singing, with an obviously male voice apparently coming from her mouth. She does it well, despite the difficult nature of the songs she chose, and that is FUNNY. She doesn't even dance much, but the moves she does are calculated and so darn funny. If a man had been on stage with Emma, I would have been annoyed with him and wanted him to leave. She challenged herself, was true to who she is, and did what I think to be the best Jimmy Fallon lip sync ever. And that's saying something.
So, Emma, thank you. Thank you for being strong and feminine and beautiful and powerful and funny. I want to be more like you in these regards. I'm so glad there are women out there on the big stages like Emma Stone, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Lawrence that are true to themselves and to women everywhere. I'm glad for my future babies, and for me.