I heard about the Onion joke - which I won’t retweet or link to, as its in bad taste, and you’ve heard it enough and they’ve offered an (unprecedented) apology — second hand, when the shit storm began brewing last night during the Oscars. I’ll admit - I chuckled. I knew it was edgy and provicative and in bad taste, but it never once crossed my mind that anyone at the Onion meant ill towards that little girl. Never once. They’ve done a bunch of nasty things in the past, have strolled gleefully past the line of good taste countless times, and this struck me as just another example. “I hope Quevanzhane Wallis doesn’t see that tweet,” I murmured as she’s a little too young to be exposed to that word, and that was it. And here’s why: the joke is not at her expense. IF she hears about it, there will be some collateral damage, no question, but the target of the joke is pretty clearly Hollywood and its intrinsic misogyny. Here’s friend and writer Anthony King on the dichotomy. 

Did you hear the things that were being said about Anne Hathaway last night? In my own house? She’s the target of a ton of abuse for … what? winning? Being a drama school nerd? She’s gracious and talented and a little pretentious. Big deal. And she’s a woman who has just turned 30. She has, let’s say, ten good years left before it becomes very hard for her to get work. Very hard, even with an academy award.  Where’s Holly Hunter these days? Her TNT show got cancelled. Hilary Swank? Tried to transition to romantic comedy, failed. Debra Winger?  PLAYED ANNE HATHAWAYS MOM, HASN’T DONE MUCH SINCE. This is a tough business, and women feel the brunt of it more than men.  I’ve heard tons of older actresses get defined as ‘crazy.’ Sometimes they are, sometimes its just idle gossip. But I’ve yet to work with any woman who was Randy Quaid or Charlie Sheen or Gary Busey crazy. There’s a great chunk in Tina Fey’s book where she talks about the way women are treated after they are a certain age:

I have a suspicion that the definition of “crazy” in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.

As the husband of an actress and the father of a daughter, I wish this was not the case. But it is. And we can scream at the Onion for its joke or we can talk seriously about what the joke is about - that this town is so rough on female actors that the normalization of calling a 9 year old a c-word is only a matter of time.

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