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Everybody Hates A Winner

Sometimes I feel like there isn’t enough success to go around. If all the women around me become successful, it somehow eats up at the success quota. What I have to keep telling myself, is that the more successful women I know, the closer I am to being successful myself. Then I think about Anne Hathaway.

We’ve been hearing the debate about sexism in comedy and entertainment. Everyone is debating over if Seth MacFarlane went too far and if his jokes objectified women. Outraged columnists write about how Hollywood requires less of men than of women and that entertainment is still a male driven industry where successful women are still objectified, scrutinized and torn down more than their male counterparts. And I agree with some of that. But in the immortal words of Tina Fey, “I think there’s been some girl on girl crime here.”

The only thing it seems that women have agreed on is that Anne Hathaway is insufferable. There is even a name for it — “Hathahating”. It seems that the world has collectively decided that she is an unbearable, fake, nerdy theater kid who tries too hard. This hatred has been brewing for some time, starting with the Golden Globes. Many women (and men) felt her speech was fake and that she wasn’t genuinely surprised, even though every critic had picked her to win every award since before Les Miserables was even released.

And then I start to think of another often reviled young actress, Lena Dunham, who is constantly criticized about everything from boobs to nepotism. So it makes you think: what do these two women have in common that other women hate them so much?

The easy answer is success. People are just jealous. But then you say, “Everyone is in love with Jennifer Lawrence right now, so success isn’t it, those bitches are just the worst.” I think it comes down to not having the success but the way the success is handled. Graciousness, shock and a genuine “awww, shucks” attitude is required of a woman that wins any major recognition. If not, then the claws come out and these accomplished women are picked apart in the media.

That isn’t true of men. Men are allowed to have “swagger”, men can brag. Daniel Day Lewis and Christoph Waltz didn’t have to pretend to be shocked when they won their Oscars and neither did any of the other men that won. They were allowed to walk up, stroll even, calmly accept their awards, make jokes and leave with the good graces of the world with them. So why should Hathaway pretend? I would have loved it, if she had sauntered up to the mic, said her thank you’s with confidence and bravado and sashayed off stage, even dropped that mic if she wanted.

I wonder how people would have felt about Jennifer Lawrence’s acceptance speech if she hadn’t fallen. I am not saying that it was on purpose, it would be genius if it was…. I’m just wondering, what if she hadn’t been humbled in the proudest moment of her life. Would everyone still love her? Even in the 21st century, women are required to act like their success is simultaneously no big deal and the biggest surprise of their life.

And this is true for smaller scale success too. Job promotions get swept under the rug with an embarrassed shrug at happy hour because if they aren’t as soon as you are done, raising your glass to the woman of the hour, everyone is turning around and saying, “Why was it her? She’s the worst.” Same goes for engagements, pregnancy and hell, even getting a bargain at a sample sale can bring the ire of fellow females if it’s not handled with a, “Oh gosh, however did this happen to little ole me?” blush.

It’s time for women to be proud of what they have done without the fear of other women tearing them down. To say “F**k yes! I got that job promotion/won that award/found that cheap Dior because I worked hard and I’m damn good at what I do!”. To say to everyone, “Yes I earned it and I am awesome.” Maybe if we start letting each other do that, men will follow suit.

You can read more from Becky Flaum on her blog.