Ask her more, please!

by +CrystalThieringer    @cdthieringer

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.50.00 AMLike millions of others watching television last night, I flipped back and forth between the Oscars and other stuff. I am fond of going to the movies. I enjoy getting lost in the story, of spending a few hours exploring something I may not have thought much about. My husband and I often take in a Saturday morning matinee–we choose mornings because it isn’t as busy, and because I have far more energy in the mornings than the evenings. It works for us.

Besides, I believe a movie-date shouldn’t cost more than groceries for a week.

I don’t care enough about any award show, however, to watch it all the way through. I’ve never understood the hype, and I don’t care enough about fashion (although I will admit to flipping through the photos even quicker than I flip through the channels). Hey, I’m a bluejeans kind of girl. I like comfortable, and I have a difficult time understanding the desire to spend gazillions of dollars on a dress when I could leave the mountains of snow and vacation in the south of France instead. That’s my definition of comfortable though, and it doesn’t have to be everyone else’s.

Maybe that’s why I appreciate what Reese Witherspoon did. She campaigned journalists to “ask her more” than the name of the person who designed her dress, her diamonds or her shoes, to marvel at more than the state of her manicure or her seemingly effortless hair, to care about more than what she ate before that awards show or any other. She never said fashion didn’t matter to the people it matters to. She just pointed out that there other things that matter too.

She was helped by other women to make the hashtag #askhermore a trending topic on Twitter. And I can get behind that.

In my opinion, women should always put their best, most authentic selves forward in any situation. It’s not that I’m advocating everyone wear the jeans and knit tops I’m fond of–I have young designer friends who are passionate about how things go together, about making women feel the best about themselves. I’m proud to know them, but it isn’t just because of their clothes.

It’s because of their passion.

Passion is fascinating, whether it’s a passion to drape fabric, decorate spaces, give new life to old things, or write or knit obsessively. Creativity is interesting. Movie-making, screen-writing (and novel-writing), acting and directing are all about passion, about what people are willing to give up to satisfy it. Some find a creative outlet in movie making, of course, but these same women are often passionate about equal rights, about human trafficking, about why there isn’t enough food or water to go around, or about how chasing after a dream–whatever it is–can be a good and noble thing.

We just never ask them.

Maybe the only way to get girls and and young women to stop obsessing about how they look, to stop judging and bullying each other, or to stop chasing crazy and damaging eating plans is to change the institutions that demand we choose whether one pixie cut is better than another, whether one person wore the ‘it’ colour and another didn’t, or publicly debates how much people weigh, and why.

Focus on passion, not on fashion.

Well done, Miss Witherspoon. Well done indeed. There is SO much more I want to know about you now.

2 thoughts on “Ask her more, please!

  1. Well done Crystal! I totally agree with you. It is such a waste of time and talent to focus on unimportant issues like appearance. The example this sets for young women is so important. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
    Mary Ellen

  2. Thanks Mary Ellen. I hope that many young people will look at some of the posts surrounding this issue. It could make such a difference. I want to know how these women grew up, what obstacles did they overcome, what are they passionate about, did they always want to be an actor or was it just one aspect of their dreams? I want to know who taught them to cook, if they relax in their homes, what they think is most important in a relationship. They have the world’s biggest stage, and yet, really, no one will give them the microphone.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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