22
Sep
2011
If I Were A Boy
the Emmy Pageant
Becky
If I were a Boy is the story of a young woman dealing with what it means to be a girl today. The world is different for the young 20 something generation, largely because most women of that age now work, often waiting to get married and have babies, if they decide to have them at all. The very definition of what it means to be a woman is changing. Pop culture presents an interesting place to look at what it now means to be a woman, what it means to be feminine, and consequentially what that all means for everyone else. The story will range from sci-fi, to fashion, to music and even politics, but mostly its going to be about how all of that affects me, and my life as a girl.


Last Sunday, I sat with my roommate and my future other roommate, drinking Bellinis, eating brownies and watching the Emmys. Although most people were disappointed with the Emmy's, I found several successes for women.

Jane Lynch I thought did a good job. She is an interesting woman, who has had an interesting career. Her recent marriage was not brought up, from what I saw, despite the fact that she married long time girlfriend Lara Embry in June. The New York Times offers a beautiful announcement and I read about it in Vogue a few months ago also.

Lynch is typically thought of as being fairly "˜butch', a trait further emphasized by Lynch's portrayal of Sue Sylvester in Glee. However throughout the Emmys Lynch dazzled in ball gown after ball gown, I only saw her in one suit while she was accompanied by the self-mocking Paula Abdul. The fact that Lynch blurs traditional gender stereotypes in her acting, yet is comfortable presenting TV's best night in ball gowns, is an interesting feat. She portrays competitive, intense, angry and aggressive women on some screens, yet shines in and sings in feminine gowns and skirts at other moments. Lynch definitely provides an interesting case study in gender portrayal.

However my favorite moment in the Emmy's did not feature Lynch. Like most people, my favorite part was when Amy Poehler jumped on stage, prom or pageant style, after they announced her nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category. The five other nominees quickly followed her on stage as their names were read, leaving my viewing partners to ask if the event was planned or an impromptu example of Poehler and other female comedians' genius.



However I was less concerned with the planned nature of the act, and instead was entertained by the comedians on stage. They hugged each other in nervousness and welcome as each new name was called. They held hands while all wore long ball gowns, evoking images of pageants and the stereotypical high school prom.

When Mellissa McCarthy took home the well deserved win, they all hugged her and seemed truly happy to be on stage and share her joy. There were no tears or fake smiles like you would see in pageants or prom night, these incredible women recognized that McCarthy's victory did not mean their loss.

And furthermore, as McCarthy received flowers and a fake crown, I realized this comedic but touching stunt could not have been pulled off by men. Men going on stage as their nomination is announced would seem fake and pushed. Only women could evoke the pageant imagery, both mocking and embracing it simultaneously.

McCarthy's tears of shock and joy during her acceptance speech were also touching. She fully admitted to them, calling herself "a crier"(A trait I commiserate with as my face starts uncontrollably leaking far more often then I would like). But these tears could also not have been able to be pulled of by a man. Sure men cry during acceptance speeches, men get nervous and seem obviously overwhelmed by their victory. But tears on women still humble them in a way men have to go to big lengths to invoke.

Women are allowed to use a sensitivity that can make them seem more real. Sure, seeing my father cry for the first time shocked me by the fact that he could be hurt and saddened. But seeing a celebrity, an idol, a role model for young girls, up on stage unable to hold back tears as an example of her "feminine weakness" makes her seem more real to me. It shows me the real shock they have in winning.

Women in general cry more, and tears on women are far more acceptable in society today. But when I see a female celebrity crying, I see her as a woman first and a celebrity second. It humanizes these idols, and shows how they can have real feelings. Because it is still generally a taboo for men to cry, seeing a man crying on screen can seem fake and forced. It does little to humanize or humble them.

While these comedic goddesses all stood on stage together like beauty pageant queens, they used a female stereotype to show how far women have come. These women are not the best in their field because they are the most beautiful women today (although they all are truly stunning in their own diverse way). Instead they were being recognized for being hilarious, clever and witty. Arguably these women are funnier than the men nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and the stunt they pulled at the Emmys only shows how funny women can be.

Check out more If I Were a Boy here

Tags:
comments powered by Disqus