Emmy's 2017: Diversity Looks So Good On You
Did Sunday night’s Emmy’s feel different to you? Me too. People wanted to watch – and not just the red carpet - but the actual awards show. This year had a tonne of former film folks taker their turn at TV. Dare I say TV is no longer considered the cutesy kid sister of film?
Why? Well it’s simple: there are richer roles for women and minorities than the junk that’s often offered via film. The roles on TV, made by women for women, resemble actual human beings rather than riding metaphorical shotgun to the leading man that often happens. The multi episode format, too, lends well to slowly revealing a character rather than relying on ridiculous one-dimensional tropes.
With so many women led shows being nominated - and winning – this year feels like the tide may be on women’s side. Well, at least in TV. We’ve got a long way to go in pretty much every other area that affects women. Let’s celebrate each win, though, yes? Yes.
Over the past few years Reese Witherspoon has become an advocate for women’s storytelling. She has proven this with the projects she’s involved in, like Big Little Lies, both in front and behind the big screen. She is using her position and privilege to create opportunity for herself and others. While I don’t understand the Southern Charm schtick (I am so NOT the target audience for Draper James) I do fully understand the need for women to tell their own stories.
Lena Waithe, co-writer on Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, was a winner. No, she IS a winner. As she accepted the awards she shouted out her “LGBTQIA family” while Aziz stood by her side. The winning episode was about a young, black women coming into her own and out in the world. For those who have seen that episode, there was more humanity and genuine laughter in those mere minutes than entire filmographies of praised comedic men.
Of course, the one provocative dystopian Margaret Atwood book-to-screen story The Handmaid’s Tale was recognized. A lot. This show was uncomfortable, immaculately captured, yet gave viewers a terrifying not-so-dystopian dose of realness in today’s climate. It’s going to take me a while to see a long sleeve, long skirt burgundy dress as a fun option again.
What I will be lusting over is a custom Christian Siriano dress of my own someday. He keeps showing up for women who don’t fall into sample sizes To be clear, that's like 99% of women? Yeah. Huge opportunity. What he said about why he works with Jones is so bang on for me. The Hollywood Reporter noted,
“Siriano dressed several women for the Emmys red carpet this season, but added that Jones, whom he first formed a relationship with last year when he whipped up a red gown for her to wear to the premiere of Ghostbusters, held a special place in his heart. "It's her first nomination, which is so exciting, and she deserves to look fabulous."
Right? Looking fabulous on a night you’re celebrating being part of the best of the best should not be for just a few. This is the elite of Hollywood we’re talking about; these folks can afford to look the very most fabulous. Hey Fashion: let's be sure to provide fabulous options for more bodies, shall we?
Thinking more about the whole awards, it’s so silly – sad maybe – to be praising the Emmy’s for (finally) recognizing diversity. On the one hand I do believe that by celebrating, we are normalizing. Inclusion has power. By taking away the fear of “otherness” perhaps people can expand their own ideas of what is worthy of promotion. On the other hand, it pains me to think that in 2017, we are still having to make it noteworthy to celebrate the rare wins of women, people of colour, member of Lena’s “LGBTQIA family”, people that are differently able… basically anyone who isn’t specifically rich, white, and male. Deep sigh.
If that is what is considered “otherness,” I’ll stick with “otherness” over the snooze fest patriarchy option. Emmy's, you know you did a good job, but thanks for doing it right.