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.