One Video Shows All the Worst Questions Aimed at Women on the Red Carpet

Chief among them is the dreaded "What's in your clutch?"
Feb 18, 2015·
Jennifer Swann is TakePart’s culture and lifestyle reporter.

"Who are you wearing?"

It's one of the most commonly asked questions at award shows, so it's fitting that it's the first one lobbed at Glee actor Heather Morris in a parody video that mocks the red carpet ritual. The video is the result of a collaboration between Amy Poehler's Smart Girls and The Representation Project, whose "Ask Her More" campaign aims to replace superficial red carpet inquiries with ones that carry a little more substance.

"I did a lot of YouTubing of different red carpet interviews, and the one question, 'What's in your clutch?'—that one gets asked all the time," says Dara Laine, the L.A.-based comedian who plays the parody's vapid reporter. "It's such a dumb question. What do you think is in one's clutch? Probably lip gloss and a cell phone."

Or in Sarah Silverman's case at the Emmys last year: a vape pen containing liquid THC. The actor and comedian showed off her pot stash when E!'s Giuliana Rancic demanded to see inside her clutch on the red carpet.

"Oh, my God you're going to be so excited. We're debuting a new camera," said Rancic. That new camera was the Clutch Cam, a rhinestoned, twirling pedestal intended to display a purse as if it were a major award. "What's a clutch?" Silverman responded, unamused.

"What part of 'You have to be prepared for red carpets' don't you understand?" Rancic asked. Silverman went on to win the Emmy for outstanding variety special for Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles that night.

The "Ask Her More" campaign, launched by The Representation Project at the Oscars last year, seeks to expunge the notion that women must be prepared to talk about their clothing, clutches, or shoes at an awards show intended to honor their achievements in film. The message of the parody video: Dumb questions yield dumb answers. On Oscar night, Laine and other supporters of the campaign will be using the hashtag #askhermore to suggest red carpet questions other than the obvious ones.

"I'd just like to see [women asked] the same kinds of questions that men get asked," says Laine, who suggests that reporters ask more questions about women's careers, artistic processes, and future projects. "I love that so many female celebrities are aware of this now and happy to speak out for this now and to call people out."

Among the actors calling out reporters on their shallow awards show antics are Julianne Moore, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston, each of whom, The New York Times reported, refused to show off their fingernails for E!'s Mani Cam, a camera-mounted box that functions much like the Clutch Cam.

"There's been a definite change this awards season," Laine says. "If these actresses are OK with the line of questioning about their appearance and the men they're dating, it's status quo and it's not going to change. So it's going to have to [take] people tweeting and these actresses to just say, 'No, I'm not interested.' If the women refuse to answer them, they're going to have to think of new questions."