Ugh, this former Disney CEO basically doesn't think woman can be beautiful and funny
Michael Eisner was the CEO of Disney from 1984 to 2005, and if you hear this and immediately think “Oh, that means this dude was responsible for giving the world seven of my favorite Disney movies,” then solidarity, sister, that’s what I think when I hear “This is the guy who made ’90’s Disney possible” too.
That’s why it straight-up sucks to learn that Eisner has some pretty backwards views when it comes to women. Recently, as Time reports, he had an onstage conversation with Goldie Hawn at the Aspen Ideas Festival in which he made the claim that the reason Hawn has been so successful as an actress is because she’s a combination of traits he finds rare in women: gorgeous and hilarious.
“From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman. By far. They usually—boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online—but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny.”
This is such a teeny-tiny soundbite and yet it contains MULTITUDES of things that are just plain wrong. Let’s start with “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and “Humor is subjective.” If Eisner has a very narrow view of what is beautiful and little makes the man laugh, of course he’s going to think few women (also, just people) can be, to quote Zoolander “really, really ridiculously good looking” and flat-out funny. But if you have an expansive definition of what makes people beautiful AND what makes them hilarious, of course you hear this statement and go “But I know TONS of unbelievably beautiful ladies who are also make-you-pee-your-pants hilarious.” Of course you do, you have a bigger (and better) definition of what makes a person beautiful and funny.
Also, let’s note that he makes this super weird statement about women and then says absolutely nothing about the correlation between a man’s appearance and his ability to crack up a crowd. When we hear a woman’s appearance scrutinized like this while men are left alone, our “objectification” alarm starts blaring like crazy.
Lastly, nice try attempting to cover your butt with the internet with that “Oh I’m going to get in trouble when this goes online because the INTERNET- so outragey, so think-piece-y, always looking for a way to getcha” bit. But here’s the thing- you are an influential person who said something unapologetically backwards about women, you’re not in “trouble with the internet,” you’re in trouble with everyone who read your words and got a gross feeling in their stomachs because it’s 2015 and it sucks to hear women talked about in a manner that makes it feel like the last 100 years never even happened.
If only Eisner had stopped with that soundbite. But no, alas, he had to dig that hole for himself, and he had to dig it DEEP.
“You didn’t think you were beautiful,” Eisner subsequently told Hawn when she spoke of being an “ugly duckling” growing up. “I know women who have been told they’re beautiful, they win Miss Arkansas, they don’t ever have to get attention other than with their looks. So they don’t tell a joke. In the history of the motion-picture business, the number of beautiful, really beautiful women — a Lucille Ball — that are funny, is impossible to find.”
Again, so many multitudes of wrongheaded things in here, but we’ll just leave it at this: we live in a world of really beautiful AND really hilarious ladies, and the fact that Eisner can’t see that is really and truly his loss.