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Forget “Who Are You Wearing?”–Here’s What We Should Be Asking Women on the Red Carpet

Amy Poehler’s #SmartGirlsAsk is changing the game when it comes to how Hollywood treats women at awards shows.

image via (cc) flickr user watchwithkristin

“Who are you wearing?”


It’s a question that’s become synonymous with the “style-over-substance” obsession Hollywood seems to have when it comes to women walking down an awards show red carpet. The ubiquitous fixation on what clothes an actress (or director, or writer) has on their body–and therefor, on that body itself–only serves to distract from the actual work she’s done to get herself onto the red carpet in the first place. Yes, Hollywood is, on some level, inescapably predicated on the celebration of glitz and glamor, but the perennial fixation on female fashion above all else on the red carpet is indicative of a larger trend toward devaluing (literally) women’s contributions to the entertainment industry.

There are those, however, fighting back against this sort of reductionist red carpet behavior. Leading the charge is none other than Amy Poehler, whose Smart Girls organization made a point of expanding the questions asked of women at Awards Shows at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards. Poehler’s group, which partnered with Twitter, and the Television Academy itself for the initiative, used the hashtag #SmartGirlsAsk to pose thoughtful, impactful, and inspiring questions to Emmy attendees, all to demonstrate that a stroll down the red carpet can be an opportunity to do more than simply rattle off the names of fashion designers.

Once the cameras started rolling for Sunday night’s awards, Emmy attendees–both men and women–from all corners of television responded to the decidedly un-Access Hollywood-ish prompts. Saturday Night Live’s Kate Mckinnon admitted that she listens to “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked as her psych-up music. Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, meanwhile, shared the best career advice he’d ever received (“Every single day, write something”). And, when asked by twitter user Angela Green to name a charity they are passionate about and why, Amy Poehler pointed to Worldwide Orphans, an aid and advocacy group focusing on children without parents around the world.

Poehler concluded her answer simply, saying “Thank you for that interesting question. Thank you for not asking me what I’m wearing.”

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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

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Culture
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

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A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

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