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Seth, Sexism, and Shirley, Barbra and Jane

But 40.3 million viewers tuned in to watch Sunday’s 85th annual Oscars, a million more than last year, and the 3-hour-and-35-minute trophy show turned in its biggest total since 2010. Among the young-male fan base of MacFarlane’s often-crude Family Guy and Ted, the audience grew 34% over last year, a bigger jump than for any other group. (Last year’s Oscars also aired opposite the NBA All-Star Game.) The gain among young women, and ABC’s target audience of adults 18 to 49, was 11%, while ratings among folks 50 and older, many of whom had probably never heard of the host, dropped 9%. – Some critics skewer MacFarlane, but Oscars’ ratings up

SEVENTY never looked like this before for women. Aging men have always been considered distinguished. Aging women have always been reduced to seeming asexual, matronly, a person of dryness, instead of molten liquid. Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand and Jane Fonda changed that on Sunday and Oscar set it up.

It’s why, amid the cries of sexism against Seth MacFarlane, which includes a ridiculous Slate post that didn’t even get Anne Hathaway’s Oscar correct, everyone missed the magnificent women of well over a certain age that took center stage. This has rarely been seen before and was in addition to all the other females who were the stars. Anne Hathaway, but especially Jennifer Lawrence, stole the show from the men in the same categories, even if Hathaway was getting mocked while Lawrence was getting embraced. Adele to Catherine Zeta-Jones, Charlize Theron to Halle Berry, the Oscars on Sunday celebrated females jubilantly, but didn’t stop at Meryl Streep.

The Oscars have rarely been so female-centric. Hollywood has never honored talented women over 70 who were sensual, beautiful and who also remain supremely talented and viable, perhaps even bankable.

So it’s ironic that the same Slate post I reference above is titled “Forget Seth MacFarlane’s sexist jokes. This was the End of Men Oscars,” while whining about MacFarlane’s alleged sexism. The title and the subject unmask it for what it is. Political correctness run amok.

Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey changed everything for women on Sunday, though we won’t see it for years. They walked out on stage and defied their age through their appearances on a night where looks, beauty and sex appeal are the admission price and beauty is normally reserved for the young.

The smoldering 70s, that was the new category founded by Fonda, 75, Bassey, 76, and Streisand, 70. [Based on birth dates on Wikileaks.]


None of these women look like an old crone who has dried up, which has been the depiction of women over childbearing age, starting at 45 or so. But that these women are well into grandmother status hardly mattered. Their sensuality, grace and beauty defied gravity and age on Sunday, the Hollywood film industry giving a nod to a generation of women that seldom is seen or heard from in the manner they were shown at the 85th Oscars.

Women no longer have to grow old gracefully. Kicking and screaming, with creams and a little work here and there, is the only way to go. And it isn’t for just the very rich anymore, though no one can doubt the more money you’ve got the better you can hold on to your beauty.

There comes a time when we all will surrender to our betraying bodies, but as long as there’s fire, there’s fight. So guard your health.

It’s so odd that so many people are obsessing over “We Saw Your Boobs,” which was meant to nab a younger demographic and did just that. Seth MacFarlane gets the last laugh, whether he’s back next year or not. It worked, because having that song at the top meant that maybe some of those younger viewers wouldn’t change the channel.

Seventy no longer means a woman has to look as old as she is. Shirley, Barbra and Jane proved that fact at this year’s Oscars, which honored women, while making fun of the industry in which they navigate, and owes them more longevity in their careers than screenwriters are currently offering.

Somewhere beyond The Graduate and Fifty Shades of Grey there are innumerable vixen and villain roles for mature women like Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, as well as Shirley Bassey. Hollywood studios and independent film producers simply have to find the writers willing to mine it.

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13 Responses to Seth, Sexism, and Shirley, Barbra and Jane

  1. guyski February 26, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Heh, Heh, Heh, Taylor Marsh wrote the word BOOBS…A little Family Guy humor there.

    It not really ‘political correctness run amok’. It’s really faux outrage or being faux-offended for some kind of personal gain or agenda. We’ve seen enough of this in politics, it really should come as no surprise.

    • Taylor Marsh February 26, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      Too funny… heh-heh… and I think that your assessment is definitely another element of what’s going on.

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter February 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    HOLY GUACAMOLE!!!! Shirley Bassey is HOT!!!!!!
    I have enjoyed thoroughly the wingnut hand wringing and cries of faux outrage over the Boobs gingle on “talk” radio!!!
    Actually saddened by the “liberals” and “progressives” who have joined in.

    • Taylor Marsh February 26, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

      Dame Bassey is SPECTACULAR. …and what pipes!

      • jjamele February 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

        Bassey actually sang an alternative opening credits song for Quantum of Solace, but it was rejected in favor of that horrible Alicia Keys crap, showing what very little taste the people in charge of such decisions have.

  3. jjamele February 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    “Faux Outrage:” “Outrage against something I found to be amusing and not at all insulting. See “Lighten Up.”

    Meanwhile, the next “Kentucky Democrats Who Oppose Ashley Judd’s Candidacy for Senate are Sexist” post coming in 3….2…..1……

    • jinbaltimore February 26, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      hee hee

  4. jinbaltimore February 27, 2013 at 2:28 am #

    “Seth MacFarlane will go on the television and make a joke about George Clooney having sex with a 9-year-old girl who is sitting right there, and your first reaction will be, ‘Well. At least he didn’t literally say she should get raped. Pass the cheese.’”

  5. Taylor Marsh February 27, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Every bad joke doesn’t constitute sexism.

    Some writers see sexism behind every utterance on which they don’t approve.

    It’s weak, and counter productive.

    • jinbaltimore February 27, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      “Every bad joke doesn’t constitute sexism”

      True, and I don’t think that argument is made at all in the link.

      However, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that nearly every McFarlane Oscar joke that incorporated women as the punchline (save the one rightly going after Foster for “privacy”) depended on female anatomy or sexual agency for the “humor.”
      If there is a litany of jokes of his out there from the night that proves this wrong, I do not remember them and could use reminders if anyone has them.

      McFarlane has been quoted as saying backstage that he thought he could have gotten away with the n-word if he’d wanted. Would that have been an occasion to tell people to not take him so seriously as well?

  6. guyski February 27, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    The above link (jezebel) talks about sexism fatigue, but does not discuss WHY there is sexism fatigue. Unless the link itself is an example of why there is sexism fatigue??? As a side note, this fatigue probably applies to a lot -isms.

    As for Seth MacFarlane, and the reaction of some, there seems to have been an utter lack of ‘due diligence’ concerning his choice to host the Oscars. The announcement that he would host was on Oct 12. Plenty of time to research him and actually not much work to find offensiveness. All anyone needed was to watch a couple episodes of Family Guy to figure it out. Then they could have tried to get him removed or censured.

    It’s kind of like inviting a kleptomaniac to a dinner party and everyone at the dinner party knows this person is klepto. But, after he/she leaves people are shocked, really shocked that their stuff is missing. Go figure.

    Note: The use of a kleptomaniac above is for example purposes only. In no way does this constitute, or imply any form bias or derogatory implications toward kleptomaniacs. Kleptomaniac-ISM should be unacceptable in today’s society. ;)

  7. tm123 February 27, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Can’t figure out why MacFarlane agreed to do it. Totally get why he’s never coming back. Those numbers guarantee, it’s his if he wants it. Bob Hope got a piece of the action. That deal’s gone, so why do it? You want people who hate the Oscars to watch the Oscars? Doesn’t makes sense.

  8. DaGoat February 27, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    I am not a big Oscars fan but I loved McFarlane and the musical theme in general. The Sound of Music/Nazi joke was great. Bassey was awesome. Overall I enjoyed McFarlane and the musical acts much more than the usual self-congratulatory blather.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong