Little Q, We Got You Jessica Tholmer

Magnificent awards shows are viewed differently these days, to say the least. Basically everyone not living under a rock understands that social media can and will play a vital role in enhancing the interest and enjoyment of an award show, sporting game, or any other popular event, and The Oscars are certainly no exception. With the popularity of facebook and twitter, everyone has the option of having a voice, and that voice can be heard loud, clear, and rapid-fire fast. If your voice is followed by 4 million or so people, when something offensive slips out—on a night where everyone is talking about the same subject—you can expect some serious repercussions.

The 85th Academy Awards premiered on Sunday night, and predictably, were a bit of a let-down. I am a bit of an Oscar fanatic, so I always view award shows—movies, actors’ performances, etcetera—in a bit of a harsher light. As a “crazy, liberal feminist,” (or so I’ve been called), I tend to be slightly more sensitive to overtly misogynistic and offensive statements—though I would argue we all should be.

In the midst of the show, everyone from “normal people” (like most of your favorite HelloGiggles writers) to celebrities to major news sources and publications were live-tweeting or facebook-ing or tumblr-ing their responses to the show. I love nights like The Oscars collaborating with social networking sites; I believe it enhances the viewing experience to speak your mind and laugh and cry along with the rest of the country, or sometimes, the world. That being said, when something offensive is spouted off, not just on the stage, but on Twitter, there are millions of people tuned in, and it will not be missed. The Onion, a website promoting itself as satirical, tweeted something incredibly offensive that shall not be repeated here, but that involved that “c” word that should never be spoken, written, or thought by any man or woman ever.

What I find even more interesting, that I am not sure everyone may realize, is that The Onion tweeted the Wallis comment directly after she, the youngest Best Actress nominee of all-time, fist-pumped to herself after a clip of her own performance was shown. As she should have, for her performance was inspired, flawless, perfection. 

Of course, the backlash was immediate. I personally had followers immediately requesting their followers to “unfollow” @theonion, and I am willing to guess they did in fact lose thousands after that comment. As with any controversial comment, there are two kinds of people: the ones offended, and the ones who actually found the humor in it. There were plenty of people who defended The Onion, claiming that it was, in fact, satire, and that we were all overreacting based on our “obsession” with celebrities. The ones who oppose that argument (like this girl) believe in satire, but they do not believe that calling a nine year old little girl a name that should never be applied to anyone anyway, is funny. It is, factually, not funny. Name calling is absolutely not satire—in fact, name calling does not fall into any category of humor, in my opinion.

But children are off-limits. Children should always be off-limits. There is nothing funny about insulting a child. This is not about being overly sensitive, or celebrity obsessed, this is about applying common sense to any and all situations—especially in the vastly public eye.

Social media “oops”es happen often. In 2013, not much is unheard of, and luckily, The Onion deleted the tweet almost immediately, and issued a well-written apology, which is exactly what they should have done.

The fact that The Onion felt it humorous in the first place is a real disappointment though, especially in the middle of a highly watched night full of equally unfunny jokes about women. The Onion apologized, Seth MacFarlane’s pretty un-funny and sexist hosting role is going down in history as sub-par at best, everything is said and done. But our next steps are: how long do we, as women, have to accept that these kinds of comments are still perceived as funny to anyone? How long do we, as a society, have to have these conversations?

Disappointing. I find myself disappointed.

Featured image via theurbandaily.com.

comments

Please help us maintain positive conversations by refraining from posting spam, advertisements, and links to other websites or blogs. we reserve the right to remove your comment if it does not adhere to these guidelines. thanks! post a comment.

  1. I use the word cunt, but I probably wouldn’t call and 9 year old a cunt, and I definitely wouldn’t in public.

  2. Cunts are only good for one thing.

  3. I’m sick of everyone calling it the C word like it’s up there with the N word as far as its implications on society go. It means a vagina and there isn’t a single thing wrong with lady parts. Claim it. I understand what people have made the word mean but we don’t have to accept it. I say it and my circle of friends have accepted it, they don’t even shudder anymore!
    But seriously, who calls a 9 year old a name aside from another 9 year old (PS bullying is not cool kids)? Joke schmoke, don’t do it. EVER. Also, cunt schmunt. We got you Lil Q. No one can take away your Oscar nomination with words. They’re just words and you earned that nod.

  4. I agree with you. Honestly that word to me is not funny whenever it’s used. Whether on children or adults. I just find it so degrading because it’s meant to be negative, it’s not a technical term or even a cute or endearing term.

    Then concerning the fact that yes she is 9 years old. Why would ANYONE not have ANY respect AT ALL for a 9 year old child? I mean I don’t understand that. I really don’t. That wasn’t funny or satirical at all. I just have very little tolerance for disrespect, I don’t find it funny but it’s just sad that we’ve come to this place in history that saying something like that could be something that people would think is “cute” or “funny”. :(

  5. This is so silly. Should a nine year old be called a cunt for a joke? Probably not. I’m disappointed that people aren’t getting the joke. It’s funny because NO ONE thinks she’s a cunt. Everyone was saying how sweet she was, how talented she was. Had The Onion said something like “she’s annoying” it wouldn’t have been funny. The fact that they went that far is what made it satirical.
    I am also annoyed with women who call humour like Seth’s “sexist”. Use that word when something actually IS sexist, otherwise you’re belittling the word like the writer. As women, as people, we need to band together, and pull the stick out of our collective ass.

      • Well since the guidelines for comments clearly say “Please help us maintain positive conversations by refraining from posting [...] links to other websites or blogs” I’ll just tell you to look up “Seth MacFarlane Accused of Sexism at Oscars” from The Young Turks on Youtube. They respond to your article.

    • 1. When that 9-year-old is a female of color and there’s a whole ugly social history behind throwing a derogatory remark her way, your delivery had better be way above what the Onion’s was, otherwise it’s not so much funny as it is a stupidly executed failure of a joke that’s also hurtful to more than just its target.

      2. Reducing the performances of those actresses to the fact that they showed their boobs is exactly what sexism is — dehumanizing and sexualizing. Making some quip about how horrible it is beforehand is just acknowledging that you know you’re an asshole. Beyond the sexism was racism and homophobia, which are also worth saying “WTF no thank you” about.

      I don’t think we need to pull the collective stick out of our asses, honey, but you probably want to pull the cognitive dissonance out of yours.

      • Just watched a few scenes over again to find what you called ‘homophobia’. Was it him introducing the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles? I’m sorry that you think asking an LGBT group to preform on a large national broadcast is homophobic.

      • 1) I want you to note YOU are bringing her race up, not The Onion. (And homophobia?) If you get annoyed at a girl of a different race at work and at home you refer to her as a bitch, are you being racist? I guess that’s for you to decide. Was calling a 9 year old a ‘cunt’ in poor taste? Sure.
        2) Not getting a job because you can get pregnant is sexist. Getting paid less than Joe and Bob for the same work is sexist. Being put in subhuman categories like ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ for expressing your sexuality the way you want is sexist. A comedian singing about actresses who showed breasts on film is not. He’s making light of something that isn’t a big deal. People are always talking about actresses who will show/showed their boobs. It sounded like he was making more fun of that (the hype over a pair of tits). If that hasn’t convinced you, just repeat these five little words the next time something like this happens: It is just a joke. Now, if you forget that, life is going to be one big offense aggravation.

  6. I obviously agree with everything relating to that tweet – beyond inappropriate and a truly repulsive move by The Onion. However, in terms of Seth McFarlane’s job as a host? I don’t think it was that bad. Yes, he made some off-colour jokes that I absolutely could have done without, and yes, he was sexist. Maybe I was just prepared for it to be a lot worse. After all, he IS the creator of Family Guy, a show that I can’t even be bothered to waste five minutes watching. Considering that, I feel that for him, he was relatively in check. That being said, I hope that next year’s show is less offensive as a whole, without question.

    • I completely agree! I just posted on the article about Seth MacFarlane stating that he had toned it down entirely because he knew his audience was larger and not full of his fans.. I am almost worried I will get backlash for saying I enjoyed him as a host, when I despise Family Guy and his other shows. And maybe you are correct in that we were simply expecting much worse, but we cannot expect him to show up and not do what I’m assuming he was hired to do.. joke.

  7. My 24 year old self would be celebrating all day, every day if I got nominated for an Oscar, let alone my 9 year old self. Just putting that out there. It’s a staggering accomplishment. She can celebrate as loudly as she wants and I say “Get it, girl” because she was NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR.
    Now, as far as The Onion goes, it’s good that they apologized in the appropriate fashion. Admit you did wrong, don’t offer excuses, and apologize. The fact that it happened in the first place is disgusting. Completely unfunny.
    MacFarlane had the voice, it’s true, and he kept the show moving along, which was good, but I couldn’t get past the jokes. I don’t think we’re being too sensitive at all by being grossed out by all of it. The Boob song, the whole thing with Zero Dark Thirty and women never letting anything go…The list goes on.
    Leave it to the ladies to pick it up, though. Adele, Shirley Bassey, and Babs knocked it out of the park.

    • I couldn’t agree more. It is not ridiculous to react to a joke. Sure, jokes are often offensive, but there is a line. And the fact of the matter is that there is an extensive history of ‘making jokes’ or ‘making light’ of serious female issues that goes so much further than what I know of for males. Which is a pretty vicious cycle.

  8. Yes to alladis, Jessica. My problem with the entirety of this discussion has been the failure to look beyond the word and acknowledge the context and societal implications surrounding the word and how we use words when we talk about women and, in particular, black women. You can understand what The Onion was trying to do (I presume poke fun at exactly that – how we talk about women), but still think that this attempt at satire fell incredibly flat. And I hate, hate, hate the belief that “words only have power if we let them.” The people at The Onion – and comedians in general – make a living off of how they use their words. Words are incredibly powerful that way!

  9. Not that I don’t think the tweet was inappropriate, but I think I was way more offended by the boob song… Actually most of McFarlane’s bits. (the Rhianna joke, the Jennifer Aniston stripper joke, the joke about selma hayek, etc, etc). The comment about little Q was so extreme that I just couldn’t take it seriously, but the general theme of the jokes that night was a little too close to home.

  10. I haven’t seen the movie she was in, so I didn’t know the fist pump was something her character did. I thought it was just gesture showing how happy and proud of herself she is for what she has accomplished and for being nominated for such a huge award. And if that was all it was then I think it’s totally acceptable and adorable. She has every right to be psyched and show it, as does everyone who has accomplished something. I think a 9 year old is just more likely to show it than a grown-up. That doesn’t make her egotistical in any way, shape, or form.

  11. This was one of the first times I thought the Onion was being pretty stupid and not funny, but I am willing to forgive and forget.

    Call me crazy, but I thought Seth was pretty entertaining. His voice is great for stuff like that (announcing, etc). I think people are overreacting. Comedian hosts always say stuff that’s going to offend someone. Plus, when the media posts his quotes out of context, they seem more severe that they did in the moment.. Seth made me laugh several times and I thought he showed genuine interest in the happenings of the show (performers, winners, presenters, etc.).

    • I agree, I thought Seth was pretty funny, most of the time. The jokes of his that I didn’t find very funny were just the few that kind of went over my head. His woman-jokes didn’t offend me at all. As long as they don’t seriously and obviously cross a line, I think a lot of woman-jokes are hilarious.

      • I agree, it seems the people who don’t like Seth McFarlane as host, are the people who don’t like him. People need to get over it.

        I saw one article, that said how the Boob song took the nudity from movies out of context. Well, there are plenty of movies that are truly poignant and moving that do not include nudity. I have never seen a movie thinking it needed nudity to improve it, movies add nudity to titillate and get people who wouldn’t watch it to watch, so the nudity isn’t artsy or needed, it is there only to draw someone in to watch to see the nudity.

  12. I agree that they were mocking all the people riding high on emotions, but they still took it too far. Cunt isn’t a word that I fling about recklessly – it’s reserved for the bitchiest of bitches, and even then I use it very sparingly. But she’s 9! She wasn’t being cunty, she was just proud of her performance, which was warranted. Nothing about her suggests that she’s anything other than an amazing actress in the works.

  13. I agree that the tweet was out of line given the girl’s age but can we all get over the “c-word”. It’s just a word. No, it shouldn’t be used against a child but I think saying it shouldn’t be used or even thought about ANYONE is taking it too far. It’s just a word and it only has as much power as we are willing to give it. I seriously think some women complain about this word because the want something to complain about.

  14. The thing that really annoyed me was when people said her gesture when she put her fists in the air after her name was announced showed her ego (and I kind of think that gesture prompted The Onion to tweet what it did)… when that gesture was actually her character’s signature move in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”….

    And honestly, even if that move was something she decided to do in triumph, who cares? Can’t a little girl just be psyched for herself? If I was nine years old, sitting at the OSCARS, I’d be losing my freakin’ mind.