Jen Yamato on Three Awful Articles About Actresses

Posted on July 9, 2016 at 3:22 pm

There have been a lot of complaints about the Vanity Fair cover story on Margot Robbie by Rich Cohen (“Vinyl”), which reads like a parody of skeezily raphsodic profiles of beautiful women. I particularly like the takedown from Rebecca Shaw, who is, like Robbie, Australian, and so addresses Cohen’s idiotic comments about her country as well as his idiotic comments about Robbie.

Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people.

Bloody hell, calm your farm Richo. We’re America 50 years ago, so what – increasing our troops into Vietnam?…

That was the middle of a search that finally led to Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan and Robbie as Jane. Jerry spoke of the actress in a tone he reserved for the big stars, the sure things, the Clooneys and Pitts, those whose magnitude seems old-fashioned. “When I think of Margot Robbie, a single word comes to mind,” Jerry said. “Audrey Hepburn.”

A single word: these two words. Earlier in the piece Richo said that Wolf of Wall Street defined Robbie. It “put her up with Sharon Stone in Casino and Cathy Moriarty in Raging Bull – one of Scorcese’s women.

I know I am 50 years behind all of this being one of the throwback people and all, but did you know that women don’t have to be defined by 1. being compared to other women and 2. belonging to some man or another? Astonishing stuff from here, downunder.

The Fug’s Heather has some thoughts as well.

The piece reads like an interview in which subject and questioner had zero chemistry. But it’s an interviewer’s job to find that, or fix it, rather than go home and throw Google searches at the problem. Frankly, when I read that conclusion and it so strongly created the image of her just casually standing up and leaving, I wanted to shake her hand. Australia has a right to be offended by the finished article (and it is, from what I’ve read). So too does Margot Robbie, though I suspect she will calmly say nothing. She’s already won, honestly. She, somehow, still comes across as normal and cool even though she’s not given as much voice as she deserves.

At The Daily Beast, Jen Yamato insightfuly brings together the Rich Cohen profile of Margot Robbie with two other articles about actresses that have provoked complaints. Variety’s critic Owen Gleiberman wrote that the trailer for the new “Bridget Jones” movie made him think that Renee Zellweger “no longer looks like herself,” and thus he might not be able to enjoy the movie.  (See Thelma Adams’ response, too.)

And the usually-better Wesley Morris wrote a piece titled “How I Learned to Tolerate Blake Lively.” He spends most of the article explaining that he was expecting to see Kate Hudson starring in “The Shallows,” but no, it was another lithe blonde actress from California instead.  Yamato has some good advice: “One glaring (and fixable!) factor in this trend of vaguely lecherous, sketchy filmbro culture: Hire more women writers and editors to represent a more accurate diversity of opinions, analysis, context.”

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