Award-winning actress Cate Blanchett battles a sexist red carpet

At the recent SAG Awards, the Australian actress won applause for how she handled this distasteful Hollywood practice.


Actress Cate Blanchett at the 2014 SAG Awards. Photo, Keystone Press.

Actress Cate Blanchett has won many fans for her performances in such films as Notes on a Scandal, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Blue Jasmine. But recently the Aussie performer won applause from cultural critics for her obvious irritation at how she was being filmed by E! cameras during the SAG Awards.

Waiting to be interviewed on the red carpet, Blanchett was clearly peeved when the camera operator shot her in one long angle starting from her feet and moving up — at worst the shot is the mechanical equivalent of a dirty leer, at best a mildly offensive onceover.

“Do you do that to the guys?” Blanchett queried the camera operator, emphasizing her question with a pointed finger. Her daring has resulted in her becoming the unwitting star of a GIF that’s been linked and forwarded countless times.

Supporters have pointed out the obvious — that the men don’t get the same treatment. And it’s true male actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney aren’t subjected to the same shot of their figures and outfit (though to be fair, they get their fair share of inane “who are you wearing” type questions on the red carpet).

The red carpet is not exactly the most enlightened boulevard to begin with, though. It exists solely for the public to look at the stars either in admiration or disgust. Blanchett isn’t taking issue with being seen — she could always opt out of walking the red carpet if she were — but rather appears to be setting a boundary for how far she’ll surrender to the ogling eye of the red carpet. In a sense she was saying, “Hey, there’s a limit to how much I’ll be objectified, okay?”

More actresses may want to take a page out of Blanchett’s book in future. It may not change how they’re treated — not immediately anyway — but at the very least it shows they’re savvy enough to spot a creepy cultural tic when it’s staring them in the face — or in this case, offering a slow leer.