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 Thursday 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.
This week, we're talking about Sunday's Golden Globes, which, as usual, were hellish.
The Lady Problem: Golden Globes Edition
Each year, for several months in a row, Hollywood's best and brightest women allow themselves to be strapped down in a chair for several hours, shellacked with chemicals only slightly less toxic than the inside of Trump's mouth, their hairs stretched and burned into fantastical shapes not found in nature, their ketone-flooded bodies incarcerated in dresses that, were they any tighter, would be instruments of death. And this is only the beginning. Thereafter, these ladies must consent to being herded, abdomens slowly caving in, through a human bazaar, where the strength of the beating sun is matched only by the strength of the roiling crowds that scream their name, demand their undivided attentions, exorcising the fury they feel toward the invisible hands of fate that have placed them in the unventilated barn instead of the ivory tower. Once these women are finally allowed indoors, safe from the roar of the plebeians and the carcinogenic glare of a member of the Bush family, they're shown to an assigned table, where they must sit placidly, showing restrained grace even as they are pitted against one another in the public forum, laughing only when panned to, smiling benignly when some manner of sexually abusive white male takes to the stage and thanks his mother. Sparkling alcohol their only recourse, a bathroom stall their only temporary reprieve, these women must spend hours in this intellectual and literal prison, all the while making sure their armpit fat is not breaking free of its restraints, their faces never dislodging from the “benevolent nun who is sexy, but only for you” position. It's awards season, baby!!!!!!!!
This Sunday's Golden Globes were particularly dysfunctional, something we discuss in great and graphic detail on this week's podcast. Rather than rehash the blatant, half-assed fuckery that was the ceremony itself — I'm looking at your infernal beard and alleged history of sexual violence, Casey Affleck — I thought we'd spend this week's column imagining the specific levels of discomfort experienced by several of the women of the Golden Globes. We'll rank the degrees of body horror brought to mind by their dresses, examining which dresses reminded me most of my fragile mortality, of the thin veneer of fabric that separates life and violent death by asphyxiation. We'll break down the ways in which each woman was intellectually stifled by our oppressive culture of ACQUIESCENCE and POLITENESS. And then we'll give her an arbitrary number, because there's nothing women like more than that.
The Degree of Body Horror Recalled By Her Dress: Extremely low, akin to that episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? in which that girl has nightmares about turning into a wolf but never actually does. Natalie looked comfy as fuck. I did not feel stressed imagining a new, dress-induced layout of her internal organs; in fact, I did not think of them at all, except to think kind thoughts toward her unborn French baby. But remember: Only pregnant women are allowed to cover their entire bodies in fabric. If Emma Stone tried to do this, she would be put out to pasture.
The Degree To Which She Was Intellectually Stifled By Our Oppressive Culture of Acquiescence and Politeness: Medium. Natalie could not get five feet without somebody telling her how much her look reminded them of Jackie O. Like, no shit, Seacrest!!! Natalie did it on purpose and we get it, we get it. Let's move on. Ask her about her directorial debut, ask her about that batshit accent, ask her if her husband really has a million feet, etc.
Overall Level of Discomfort: 2
The Degree of Body Horror Recalled By Her Dress: Medium, like the part in The Exorcist when Regan crawls down the stairs backwards, but it looks kind of fun. This dress is incredible and Kerry looks like a Roman goddess in it. However, I cannot imagine that, when she returned home, her ribcage was not imprinted with the shape of that belt thing.
The Degree To Which She Was Intellectually Stifled By Our Oppressive Culture of Acquiescence and Politeness: Low. Kerry rarely allows herself to be fucked with on an intellectual level, remaining alternately outspoken and private at her own discretion. One of the Bush twins — “Jenna,” if you will — asked her some wildly passive-aggressive questions about supporting the Obamas. Kerry shut it down instantaneously.
Overall Level of Discomfort: 4
The Degree of Body Horror Recalled By Her Dress: Low. The scene in Game of Thrones where Tommen hurls himself out a window, but you never actually see him die. Meryl always looks like she has gotten dressed in an outdoor garden by a coterie of butterflies who respect and admire women's bodies.
The Degree To Which She Was Intellectually Stifled By Our Oppressive Culture of Acquiescence and Politeness: Low, then sky-high. Meryl gave a striking speech on Trump and his culture of humiliation and oppression, then Trump and his supporters made an attempt to humiliate and oppress her immediately after. A common refrain after her speech, from both sides of the spectrum: “Celebrities should stick to acting and shut up about politics.” Can you remember the last time anybody directed this critique at a dude? Where were these fucks when Clint Eastwood was yelling at a chair?
Overall level of discomfort: 6
The Degree of Body Horror Recalled By Her Dress: Very high. The trailer for Human Centipede. Sofia is strapped into her clothing and she will need the help of many friends to escape alive.
The Degree To Which She Was Intellectually Stifled By Our Oppressive Culture of Acquiescence and Politeness: Very high. Sofia's entire Globes speech hinged on a joke about her grasp of the English language being so weak that she confused the words “annual” and “anal.” Not only is this joke boring, but it's also irresponsible under an administration that's desperate to discredit and otherize immigrants.
Overall level of discomfort: 10
The Degree of Body Horror Recalled By Her Dress: Relatively low. Somebody discussing a Cronenberg movie obliquely without describing any specific scene. While I don't know that Emma could dig for clams in this dress, she could certainly sit down while preserving her ability to exhale carbon dioxide. Also, it looks itchy.
The Degree To Which She Was Intellectually Stifled By Our Oppressive Culture of Acquiescence and Politeness:
Medium. Emma hugged Damien Chazelle at the same time that he smooched a woman he appeared to be romantically involved with, which was vaguely uncomfortable to behold. But we must ask ourselves: WHY? What does it say about us that we cannot handle the sight of two women pressing their bodies against the man who fired Miles Teller? What does it reveal about our broken society that we look away in horror from the vision of three white, straight people enmeshed in a moment of sensual celebration? Open your minds, sheeple!!!
Overall level of discomfort: 5
The Degree of Body Horror Recalled By Her Dress: High. The part in Alien vs. Predator when they find a chamber of human ribs exploded by the aforementioned creatures. If somebody asked Goldie to reach for a jar of pickles on a shelf anywhere but directly at hand level, she would expire from the effort.
The Degree To Which She Was Intellectually Stifled By Our Oppressive Culture of Acquiescence and Politeness: High. Somebody made Goldie get onstage and pretend to be an old, demented moron. I hate that person.
Overall level of discomfort: 10
Evan Rachel Wood
The Degree of Body Horror Recalled By Her Dress: Nonexistent. The part in White Christmas when everybody is gorgeous and singing Christmas songs and thrilled to be alive. Evan Rachel Wood was not wearing a dress. Evan Rachel Wood looked stone-cold hot and stone-cold comfortable.
The Degree To Which She Was Intellectually Stifled By Our Oppressive Culture of Acquiescence and Politeness: Nonexistent. When Seacrest asked her why she wasn't wearing a dress, she was like, “Dresses aren't a requirement, much like your life.” Shortly thereafter, an alien burst from Ryan Seacrest's chest. Coincidence?