EVERYONE was uncomfortable.
Bill Maher and his merry panelists experienced the mother of all pregnant pauses when a viewer’s question directed at actress Lisa Kudrow baiting an anti-Republican reaction to the “war on women” fell flatter than a pancake on a cold skillet.
“There’s a Republican ‘war on women?’ Which part of being a woman?” Translation: why am I here right now?
The recent reboot of Kudrow’s hit TV show “The Comeback” has forced pundits to once again begin beating the dead “war on women” horse, but from Kudrow’s perspective, jumping immediately to cries of “institutional sexism!” just doesn’t make sense:
Kudrow told HuffPost Live’s Ricky Camilleri on Tuesday that while she did feel audiences were uncomfortable with a humiliated woman on TV, she thinks the problem expands far beyond Hollywood.
“I’m not sure I’d go as far as misogyny in the business, though, but a lot of people do see it that way. … I think it’s just the world. I don’t think it’s specific to this industry,” Kudrow said.
The actress recalled a conversation with her “Comeback” co-creator Michael Patrick King during the first season in which he expressed unhappiness that entertainment lacks a point of reference for every type of woman, especially a potentially unlikeable one. It wasn’t until the series got the axe from HBO that Kudrow realized King had a point.
“I thought, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s a character. It’s a great character.’ I wasn’t thinking in terms of a man or a woman. What does it matter? It’s a great character,” she said. “I didn’t think it would matter, and then it slowly hit me: Oh, that may have been something there. That may have been what it was.”
Whether you agree with Kudrow’s perspective on the differing portrayals of men and women coming out of the entertainment industry, I think her reaction to Maher’s question, coupled with this snippet, is representative of more women in America than the cheap punditry of outrage peddlers like Sandra Fluke.
The portrayal of Kudrow’s “Comeback” character bothered some, but Kudrow herself didn’t seem to think about the gender bias-consequences of that portrayal until pressed about it—and I think that’s how most women react to things like this.
Most women I know don’t expect a “point of reference” in every female character they’re exposed to, mostly because in the real world, having some sort of expectation of womanly connection to every X chromosome in existence is to be divorced from reality. However, most women I know would also find it unreasonable if every female character was turned into some sort of misogynistic caricature of the modern woman, making it impossible to identify with or make a connection with the story the actress is attempting to tell.
Welcome to the middle ground between Victorian England, and a “war on women.” Society should relax and stay a while—because this is where the answers to addressing legitimate sexism will be found.
h/t to MediaiteDONATE
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