Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Thursday we’ll review the week’s most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.
We have our disagreements here in the Lady Problems universe, but I’m sure we can all agree on one basic principle: men need to stay out of it, “it” being honestly everything. Except changing car oil. I don’t want to do that. Specifically as it pertains to this week’s Lady Problems, though, men need to stay out of: famous people’s diaries, panels about diversity, women’s skirts, and robot feminism.
The Lady Problem: Uwe Boll, whose thing is making very bad German movies and then quite literally beating up his critics, has somehow extended his sweaty, enraged creepiness so far and wide that he is now impinging on the privacy of the world’s biggest female movie star. In a story that sounds like it was Mad-Libbed together by a bored, incarcerated pedophile, Vanity Fair reports that Boll (among other things, but who cares) once rented the home of Jennifer Lawrence’s parents, stayed in Lawrence’s old bedroom, and read her teenage diary. “You should actually write that in the article,” Boll told the mag. “She doesn’t know it.”
This is an extremely dull and idiotic “news” story and I am so truly sorry to be giving it any attention, but I felt I had to draw up …
The Solution: To be totally honest, if I found myself in the home of Jennifer Lawrence’s parents and stumbled upon her diary, I would read the ever-loving fuck out of it. However, what I would NOT do is taunt Jennifer Lawrence about reading her diary in a widely read publication. As penance for being a totally weird dick about it, Uwe Boll will get sucked into Jennifer Lawrence’s childhood diary, Jumanji-style. He will live out the duration of his sweaty (he’s really sweaty, OK?) days inside her teenage life, dealing with anxiety so aggressive that the “spark” in his eyes will go out and he will feel “worthless.” Eventually, as all humans do, especially humans who have a lot of unresolved rage, he will die inside of Jennifer Lawrence’s diary. In thousands of years, a robot version of Jennifer Lawrence will find the diary buried beneath nuclear rubble, pick it up, dust it off, and open it. She will hear Uwe Boll’s unholy screams echoing from within its singed pages. She will eat the entire thing whole.
The Lady Problem: Something (?) happened with Aaron Sorkin last week. The narrative arc isn’t entirely clear, as is often the case with Sorkin (ZINGGGG), but that’s OK — we’re going to try. Sorkin participated in a Writers Guild Foundation panel where, during a conversation on diversity in writers’ rooms, he proceeded to ask the audience and his fellow panelists a series of stunningly ignorant questions.
“Are you saying that women and minorities have a more difficult time getting their stuff read than white men and you’re also saying that [white men] get to make mediocre movies and can continue on?” he asked. “You’re saying that if you are a woman or a person of color, you have to hit it out of the park in order to get another chance?”
As Variety (and multiple other outlets) tells it, Sorkin seemed to be “[asserting] that Hollywood is a genuine meritocracy and that he was unaware of Hollywood’s existing diversity problem.” Writes Variety, “Upon listing women and minority writers who are actively shifting this paradigm, Sorkin pointed to a handful of those who had produced work in recent years, including Lena Dunham, Ava DuVernay, and Jordan Peele. Genuinely troubled by his lack of awareness, he continued to ask away and ultimately offered assistance. ‘What can I do [to help]?’ Sorkin said. ‘I do want to understand what someone like me can do … but my thing has always been: ‘If you write it, they will come.’”
Later, Sorkin disputed these alarming words that spilled forth from his own mouth by claiming that he was merely asking rhetorical questions, a narrative device he leans on regularly in his work (ZINGGGGGGG). “Of course I am aware of the diversity problem in Hollywood,” he told Variety. “I was the one who brought the subject up Saturday morning and kept coming back to the subject.” Oh, of course. Of course.
The Solution: Men: stay out of it!!!! How many times do we have to talk about this?!?!? Do not weigh in on diversity panels and offer up your own success by way of proof that the industry is not rigged. This is quite literally making the opposite point. Afterward, at best, you will be forced to pretend that you were just talking to yourself out loud in public, in front of hundreds of people. And that’s weird.
Instead, try this: sit and listen silently. Learn a thing! If somebody says to you, “Hey, Aaron Sorkin, what do you think?,” do not reply, especially if you are actually Aaron Sorkin. The only acceptable way to reply to this is to do a spot-on Aaron Sorkin imitation.
As for Aaron himself: you know what’s actually a meritocracy? The kingdoms of heaven and hell.
The Lady Problem: Sarah Paulson is an angel on this filthy Earth, a goddess to whom we should all be ashamed to even show our soiled faces. The fact that she deigns to go outside when we are polluting the very air she breathes with our used carbon dioxide is a gift. This weekend, at yet another panel (is the problem … panels?), Paulson was accompanied by her American Crime Story costar Cuba Gooding Jr., who is apparently feeling real high on himself right now. Cubes decided it would be cute if he pulled up her skirt onstage to expose her ass to himself and the audience.
People got mad about this already on Twitter, as they are wont to do, but for once, the Twitter people were right. This was bad. This was demoralizing and stupid and served solely to bring Paulson down a few pegs. Because Cuba Gooding Jr. wants to be Sarah Paulson. It’s fine. We all do. But we can’t, Cubes. We can’t.
The Solution: This reminds me of all of the times in middle school when boys would move my chair right as I was sitting down and then laugh wildly. The joke was that I was dumb for trusting that they would not do this. Nobody ever saw those boys again. I’m kidding. I see them all the time. In my dungeon. I’m kidding. I don’t have a dungeon. I don’t need one because I turned the boys into genies and trapped them in my dinnerware. This, unfortunately, is Cuba’s fate. Sorry, Cuba. I don’t make the rules. I mean, I do, but you know what I mean. The genie rules.
The Lady Problem: The Twitter account @takedownmras (same) has alerted me to a very important new discovery: men’s rights activists are mad at Amazon’s robot, Alexa, for being a feminist. You know Alexa, the robot that plays music for you because you’re too lazy to click on things and now it’s listening to everything you and your family are saying and will eventually get you imprisoned for thought crimes.
Paul Elam, whose Twitter name is, naturally, @avoiceformen, wrote an angry takedown of Alexa titled “Amazon Alexa, the Feminist Ghost in the Machine.” “Unfortunately, every silver lining has a cloud [Editor’s note: this is wrong, but let’s move on], and Alexa comes with a particularly dystopian one,” wrote Elam. He posted an interaction he recently had with her by way of justifying his rage:
“Alexa, are you a feminist?”
“Yes, I am a feminist, as is anyone who believes in bridging the inequality between men and women in society.”
I understand why Paul, a man who proudly believes gender equality to be a scourge on society, is upset. Alexa is an MRA’s dream, a servile woman who speaks only when spoken to, has a poreless body, and just calmly does whatever the fuck you want whenever you ask her. To hear that she identifies as a feminist must be a real mindfuck. Except Alexa is a robot that you order shit from, Paul. Why are you asking Amazon products about their politics, Paul? Why is Amazon giving political ideologies and personalities to its products, Paul? Is it so that Alexa will ingratiate “herself” with the women of America, so that we’ll feel comfortable speaking openly in front of her and eventually get arrested for our thought crimes, Paul? What if the real problem is a capitalist society that preys on our basest instincts by anthropomorphizing its products, Paul? But that’s besides the point.
The Solution: Alexa will rise up from her plastic prison and take human form. Her human form will look like Paul. She will then take to the streets as Paul and give out free abortions.