Dear Shabana Azmi, Can We Please Talk About Your Recent Oscars Tweet?
The Oscars happened, and the deafening roar of nobody really giving a toot slipped by most of the world.
Because while award shows do matter in the sense that they might introduce audiences to filmmakers they weren’t aware of before, people don’t really care as much about the winners. Now more than ever, we have critics and film buffs whose recommendations are far more personal than a bunch of people from the Academy we’ve never met or cared for.
But veteran actress Shabana Azmi has weighed in on one of the most publicized portions of the ceremony, the red carpet.
Watching Oscar Red Carpet and am struck by the desperation to conform to set standards of beauty.Nicked tucked bosom out butt strutted.Such pressure to NOT accept yourself as you are.What a huge pity!
— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) March 11, 2018
Now, this makes more sense if we consider that once she mentioned to IANS how much she wished Cannes coverage would focus on the films rather than on actresses posing with one arm firmly resting on their hips. Fair enough, the hip-thing has long outlived its welcome, but as for claiming that glamourous presentation implies a lack of self-acceptance is a bit more problematic.
Because this year more than any other, women were marching out to proclaim their allegiance to feminist and equalist causes. Whether or not you believe that’s sincere isn’t important at the moment.
If we really are fighting a battle to make women comfortable with themselves and their choices, why should it matter how they’re dressed? Prefer something artistic and modest a la Frances McDormand? Great. Want to go balls to the wall with sequins and glitter and channel a Jennifer Lawrence. Go for it.
We may be wrong, but isn’t that a much more helpful message than “Nicked tucked bosom out butt strutted”?
There are unrealistic standards of beauty abound yes, but at least on the Oscars carpet, they’re living breathing people who have worked hard to achieve their look. Is it frivolous in the grand scheme of things? Yes.
Does the ceaseless coverage tend to eclipse the actual purpose of the evening? Yes.
But by no means does it take away their agency as men and women who have achieved something noteworthy in their field. Again, we may be wrong, but there’s something to be said for a ceasefire where we let go of what men and women actively choose to wear.
We need to consider things like Jennifer Lawrence lashing back at people who called her Versace photoshoot sexist for dressing her in a revealing gown. Because she wanted to wear the damned gown just the way it was.
Or Sonam Kapoor’s genuinely touching write-up about what it takes to truly get herself ready for a red carpet. The actress went out of her way here to mention that it’s not realistic to look that way all day. But it showcases the work of talented stylists, make-up artists and designers nonetheless.
Baby steps yes, but revolutionary as coming from members of an industry where physical perfection is sacrosanct. So go ahead ladies, march out with your tucked bosoms and butt strutted. If you want. Or don’t.
Because we think it shouldn’t really matter.
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