12 famous women who've challenged sexism on the red carpet

Female celebrities are constantly bombarded with inane questions as soon as they step foot on a red carpet. Normally starting with “who are you wearing?” and moving onto other banal topics such as diets and spray tans, red carpet reporters have been shamed for sticking to an outdated script.

Of course, their male co-stars are asked about the hard-hitting stuff surrounding how they prepared for their roles and the issues brought up by their respective films. While plenty of people argue that women’s fashion is inherently more interesting than men’s attire (which usually revolves around a standard tux) and should therefore be talked about, others feel that bigger issues such as race and feminism should be highlighted.

In 2014, the #AskHerMore movement was started by the Representation Project. Championed by the likes of Reese Witherspoon, it urged journalists to ask women and men the same intelligent questions on the red carpet. Example: Orange Is the New Black‘s Taylor Schilling was hit with “how many clutches did you choose from?” rather than discussing the prison system that the Netflix series centres on.

“There’s nothing wrong with loving fashion and being interested in what [celebrities] wear,” the Representation Project’s communications director, Cristina Escobar, told ThinkProgress. “But the problem is, that’s the only thing we talk about with women. Men are allowed to be their whole selves. They’re asked about their interests and passions, how it felt to make the film. It reinforces a message that women are valued for youth and appearance and men are valued for their accomplishments.”

The hashtag has gained traction over the past few years. So much so that at the 2017 Golden Globes, 30 out of 41 celebrities interviewed by E!‘s ‘dream team’ – Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic – were asked about other things before their outfits.

However, the other questions still left a lot to be desired. Viola Davis was asked how she remembered so many lines for Fences instead of what it was like to bring an African-American tale to the big screen.

L’Oreal launched another hashtag campaign to counteract exactly this in 2016. #WorthSaying encouraged a whole host of celebrities to tweet the topics they wanted to be asked about on the red carpet. Julianne Moore brought up women in politics while Zoe Saldana urged the discussion of gender roles and throwing out the rulebook.

Fortunately, this open conversation has kickstarted some serious comebacks on the red carpet. Actresses such as Cate Blanchett and Amy Schumer have hit back with sarcastic remarks when asked about their fashion choices while Julia Roberts and Evan Rachel Wood opted for ensembles that acted as a form of protest.

As International Women’s Day approaches, we revisit all the memorable (and extremely awkward) moments created by actresses in the name of equality.

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