Emmys remind us that women are only ‘compelling’ when on display

I tuned into the Emmys tonight just in time to catch Sofia Vergara rotating on a platform.

Twenty four hours ago we saw the word “FEMINIST” on the MTV Video Music Awards and tonight we have the highest-paid actress on TV spinning on a stage like, you know, an object.

While Beyonce’s representation of feminism may well be problematic for a number of reasons, I have to admit to having been more than a little bit thrilled at seeing one of my favorite words lit up in all caps in what can generally be said to be a pretty sexist space, historically. Not only that, but watching her husband take the back seat, minding the babe, was a nice image to see as well. (No cookies for dads being parents, but I’m still feeling these gradual moves towards a more egalitarian future…) I’m unsure as to the actual impact of this “FEMINIST” statement and whether it will or could translate into more human rights for women and less male violence against them, but I’m honestly feeling a little weary of the Beyonce/feminism debate at the moment, so I’ll leave the Bey portion of my commentary at this for now: feminism on MTV; Jay Z sits down, watches child while partner rules the world.

But lest you get too excited about our movement’s shining MTV moment, hold up because this is one of those “half a step forward, about eight steps back” kinda situations. Again.

The Modern Family actress came on stage to introduce the CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Bruce Rosenblum, who said “This has been a terrific year for American television and our shows continue to have a meaningful impact around the world,” before asking Vergara to demonstrate this by getting onto a revolving platform. Rosenblum goes on with his speech as Vergara spins. The audience cheers when they get to her ass-side.

Rosenblum concludes his speech by saying: “What truly matters is that we never forget that our success is based on always giving the viewer something compelling to watch.” Get it?? Objectified women is what audiences like to watch. HA.

Vergara reportedly responded to critics afterwards, saying the stunt wasn’t sexist but rather “It means that somebody can be hot and also be funny and make fun of herself. I think it’s ridiculous that somebody started this… who has no sense of humor [and should] lighten up a little bit.”

Ok well maybe we’ll all “lighten up” a bit when women are permitted to be successful without having to be literally on display for the male gaze while the real, full humans get to talk about serious, important things.


Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.