Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Friday, we’ll review the week’s most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce. Appropriately, we’re kicking off the column just a few days after the celebration of International Women’s Day, when women across the industry took the opportunity to do the patriarchy’s dirty work for free by tearing each other to pieces in a public forum.
The Lady Problem: Hilary Duff enthusiast Miley Cyrus kicked off the week with a deeply confusing Instagram post that threw inexplicable shade at Jodie Sweetin, star of Fuller House, erstwhile star of Full House, and erstwhile meth connoisseur.
To compose her post, it would appear that Cyrus dove deep into Google Image archives, found a photo of Sweetin from her self-admitted hard-partying days, then haphazardly doctored said photo to make it even more patently insulting. Let’s quickly run through what’s going on here: A clearly fucked-up Sweetin, sporting purple jeans and the first stirrings of duck face, straddles a man with unfortunate taste in neck tattoos. The man’s face has been superimposed with the face of Dave Coulier, who plays Sweetin’s uncle on Houses both Full and Fuller. Cyrus captioned the photo “Current Mood #fullerhouse,” which, again, made little sense considering the context. Her current mood was ... straddling a stoned Blink-182 stan sporting the disembodied face of her fictional uncle?
Sweetin’s fans immediately flocked to Cyrus’s Instagram to express their discontent. “Waay harsh! Waay below the belt! Unclassy, but then that's you, mileymush! Be a decent human being for once & apologize to Jodie Sweetin!” wrote user joeynewwaver. “She has said many times that she looks back on that time with regret,” wrote jsmith1105. “I like you Miley, but this is not okay.” For her part, Sweetin told E! News, “I don't pay attention to negative stuff. I have so much good stuff going on in my life right now that I try not to pay attention to anything like that.” Cyrus eventually edited her caption to (theoretically) clarify her intentions and simultaneously insult her public, which, as every celebrity knows, is the best way to prove your innocence. “[O]nly you freaks take this as shaming!” she wrote. “To me it looks like Stephanie is having a fucking gay ol time!”
The Solution: To repent for her considerable crimes, which include two counts of shitty Photoshop and one count of mysteriously motivated Sweetin-shaming, Cyrus must visit the set of Fuller House, where she will guest star as an adult Hannah Montana who’s now homeless and living on the Tanners' stoop. In a Very Special Episode, Stephanie will agree to teach Hannah the marketable skill of Photoshop, thus helping Hannah get back on her cowboy-booted feet. At the end of the episode, Cyrus will break the fourth wall and apologize publicly to Sweetin, who will hand Cyrus a doctored photo of Robin Thicke sporting the face of Billy Ray Cyrus and grinding up on Miley. Everyone will laugh good-naturedly.
The Lady Problem: Fox Sports's Erin Andrews received a $55 million settlement this week after her garbage stalker, Michael David Barrett, filmed her through a peephole in her Nashville hotel room back in 2008. She likely won’t see much of this money, because Barrett is a broke, half-finished Mount Rushmore head who literally lives in his parents’ basement, and she needs to pay her lawyer, and our legal system is deeply flawed, and our planet is melting. Even so, the sum and the ruling marked a significant victory for Andrews, who’s spoken at length about how traumatized she was by the video and the subsequent fallout. In short, Barrett’s video and the public’s rabid response to it messed her up for a while, as it would any human being, and while no amount of money will ever be able to make up for the years of her life she spent terrified to change her clothes, the civil suit’s outcome had to be vindicating for her.
The Internet, known neither for its empathy nor its acceptance of women as human citizens, responded to the verdict with its usual nightmarishness. Media outlets and social media users (who I won’t deign to list here for fear of pushing traffic their way) wrote victim-blaming screeds about how Andrews isn’t really a victim, how the video was the “best thing that ever happened to her,” how it’s the one thing responsible for her current level of fame. A particularly egregious tweet came from destroyer-of-Disneylands Jenny McCarthy:
McCarthy, who has done very little but negatively contribute to public health over the past few years, found it appropriate not only to make light of Andrews’s considerable trauma, but to imply that Andrews was lucky to be sexually victimized in the public sphere. This is a particularly fucked-up sentiment considering that McCarthy “celebrated” International Women’s Day a few tweets later by encouraging her female fans to “use their brains and power to change the world.”
The Solution: Michael David Barrett will continue to live in his dad’s basement and we will forget about him immediately after finishing this sentence. After Jenny McCarthy pays reparations to all of the families whose children got sick and/or died because their parents listened to her asinine pseudoscience, she will take to her Sirius XM radio show, where she will apologize profusely to Andrews and, as added penance, consume 200 pigs in a blanket live on the air.
The Lady Problem: Full disclosure: I do not watch The Bachelor anymore, because I find it to be a regressive and #problematic television program that turns women into lazy archetypes/demons. Also, it is just so lengthy! I’m not a complete monster, though; I do casually follow along with the conversation surrounding the show. During this week’s "Women Tell All" special, which I understand included the Most Shocking Revelations Of All Time, sentient Crest White Strip Chris Harrison told contestant Jubilee Sharp – who was adopted after her ENTIRE FAMILY DIED — that he “understood” why she wasn’t just a hot piece of human flesh, but rather a hot piece of human flesh with feelings and a “past,” which really means “baggage,” which really means “gross.” "I know you can't control how complicated you are," said Harrison. "You might be complicated, and I know you stir the pot sometimes, but I hope you realize you're a pretty special woman, and I really appreciate you coming here and opening up the way you did."
Amy Schumer, never one to let a fellow lady languish under the blindingly bright lights of Chris Harrison’s teeth, spoke up on Jubilee’s behalf.
Even after Harrison got defensive and cited some questionable math,
Schumer was like, “Turn off your teeth for a minute and listen.”
The two eventually mended fences and made plans to drink wine together, which will never happen, because wine stains the teeth. Nobody invited Jubilee.
The Solution: Chris Harrison will pay for and throw an actual jubilee, in which Jubilee will sit on a massive throne and watch Chris Harrison do very “complicated” things, such as solve a Rubik’s Cube while being dangled upside down over a giant pot of hot coffee, which he must stir and occasionally dip his teeth into.
The Lady Problem: The Matrix director Lilly Wachowski came out as a transgender woman this week in a letter released to the Windy City Times. The letter, which you can read in full here, is thoughtful and moving, rife with candid personal details and trenchant insights on what it means to be transgender in 2016. “But these words, ‘transgender’ and ‘transitioned’ are hard for me because they both have lost their complexity in their assimilation into the mainstream. There is a lack of nuance of time and space,” writes Wachowski. “To be transgender is something largely understood as existing within the dogmatic terminus of male or female. And to ‘transition’ imparts a sense of immediacy, a before and after from one terminus to another. But the reality, my reality is that I've been transitioning and will continue to transition all of my life, through the infinite that exists between male and female as it does in the infinite between the binary of zero and one. We need to elevate the dialogue beyond the simplicity of binary. Binary is a false idol.”
Unfortunately, the timing of Wachowski’s reveal was not her decision. As she explains in the letter, her hand was forced after a Daily Mail reporter showed up on her doorstep and insinuated that her story would be published one way or another, with or without her participation. “My sister Lana and I have largely avoided the press. I find talking about my art frustratingly tedious and talking about myself a wholly mortifying experience,” writes Wachowski. “I knew at some point I would have to come out publicly. You know, when you're living as an out transgender person it's … kind of difficult to hide. I just wanted—needed some time to get my head right, to feel comfortable. But apparently I don't get to decide this.”
GLAAD has since released a statement explaining why the Daily Mail’s actions were so troublesome/why it’s considered “unacceptable” to out — or threaten to out — a person against their will. For their part, the Daily Mail claimed their li'l British hands were clean, telling Mic, “DailyMail.com categorically denies that it in anyway [sic] tried to coerce Lilly Wachowski into revealing her gender transition.” This isn’t the Daily Mail’s first transphobic rodeo; the outlet was previously accused of inappropriately outing a transgender teacher, Lucy Meadows, which many believed contributed to Meadows’s decision to take her own life. Relatedly, the Daily Mail is trash.
The Solution: All of us need to stop reading the Daily Mail. I know that reading their rapt descriptions of celebrity gas station attire is a near-transcendental experience. I know there are very few additional places to find consistent updates on quirky, little-known reality TV personalities from the U.K. But we must stop rewarding bad behavior, and we also must do better things with our free time, like burn copies of the Daily Mail in our bathtubs while cackling wildly.
The Lady Problem: Piers Morgan is talking shit again. GUESS WHERE.
The Solution: Piers Morgan will henceforth subsist on a diet of old, burnt copies of the Daily Mail.