Anyone who knows me very well knows that I am a complete celebrity and entertainment junkie. From knowing all the current news in pop culture on any given day to remembering what someone wore to the Oscars 10 years ago. So, I am no one new to the constant disrespect women in Hollywood face on a daily basis about their beauty, weight, health, and style.
The show, “Fashion Police”, on the E! channel has been for over a decade and has been a place for women and men to gather and make fun of other people’s outfits in Hollywood. As the years passed by, the “jokes” got less and less funny and became steadily more offensive because I was learning just how much women are judged in society without having to be put down by other women struggling with the same oppressions. Instead of uniting together as a sisterhood against oppressions against women, Fashion Police portrays the capitalization behind a society socialized into thinking it is okay to judge other people on their looks. Bell Hooks comments on this miw sisterhood in her book, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, when she says, “We are taught that women are ‘natural’ enemies, that solidarity will never exist between us because we cannot, should not, and do not bond with one another.” If we know this stigma and stereotype about women being enemies with each other, why do we perpetuate this behavior with shows like Fashion Police?
This year, while the “Fashion Police” was airing their annual Oscar special the day after the big event, there was a controversial comment made by Gulianna Rancic about the look of an 18 year-old Zendaya on the red carpet, “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil…or weed,” the Fashion Police co-host infamously said of the Disney alum’s dreadlocks.
This comment served as the breaking point for so many women watching the show and also lead to another one of the co-hosts to immediately quit the series. Although there are very many other instances of the hosts of Fashion Police’s berating other women for questionable looks and having a segment called “celebrity or streetwalker”, Zendaya spoke up about the comment made against her and took a stand against gender and racial oppressions.
Zendaya’s words were very inspiring and she gained a huge following of women standing up with her. She was able to rally women together instead of against each other by turning a bad situation of woman vs. woman, into using her voice to reunite the ideal of sisterhood between her followers. To end with the momentum of Zendaya, Bell Hooks says, “Working together to expose, examine, and eliminate sexist socialization within ourselves, women would strengthen and affirm one another and build a solid foundation for developing political solidarity.” Zendaya uses her celebrity status and social media following to call out this behavior of sexist socialization and racial slurs by putting her foot down and standing up for women, especially black women, everywhere.
Hooks, B. (2015). Feminist theory: From margin to center. New York, NY: Routledge.