I was so happy that Mad Men won Best Drama at the Emmys tonight! This past season of the show, its fourth, was its best. And, as Mad Men is possibly the best show on television, it couldn’t have not won for its best season.
That said, I was annoyed by something in this post from The Hollywood Reporter. Nothing that THR did, but in what they reported. Apparently, some reporter in the press room, after interviewing Matthew Weiner about the win, asked Christina Hendricks some question about her figure, which she (rightfully) deflected.
I hate that she was even put in that position. Her show just won Best Drama (and she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress) and you’re asking her questions about her body? Really?
I get it. Christina Hendricks is gorgeous. I’m sure I’m not the only woman I know who would kill to have her curves, or her hair, or her ridiculously awesome skin.
That said, she’s also an actress. An actress who’s been nominated for her oustanding performance of Joan Harris, one of the most brilliant and nuanced characters on television, several times. And yet people around her can’t seem to focus on anything but her looks. I feel bad for her.
I know what you’re probably thinking: Oh, boo hoo! All people can do is talk about how beautiful she is! Must be a hard life!
The things is I’m sure she, like anyone else who’s good at their job, wants to be taken seriously. I’m sure she would love to primarily talk about her craft, or about the writing on the show, or about anything else. And yet, she’s constantly forced to deal with every interviewer (particularly the males) being reduced to driveling fanboys over how she looks. Like Conan, for example, who can’t manage to ask her an actual question throughout this entire interview, and you can see Hendricks doing her best with what she’s being given:
Now, I mentioned male reporters, but women aren’t any better. Check out how Alexandra Wentworth derails what could’ve been a decent interview:
Focusing exclusively on her looks is the flip-side of not focusing on other body types. If you complain about the fact that too much focus is put on “anorexic-looking” actresses and models, or about the fact that overweight actresses don’t get enough roles, or about there not being enough diversity of body types in media, talking about Hendricks’ looks at the expense of talking about her talent is part of the problem. Drooling interviewers of either gender don’t help.
For the love of God, we know she’s curvy. We know she’s beautiful. It’s obvious. What would be great is if the dialogue about Christina Hendricks could be about more than just her body. It should be about the fact that, as Saffron on Firefly, she was believeably a naive farmer’s daughter just before turning into a ruthless, ass-kicking criminal. It should be about the fact that, as Joan on Mad Men, she manages to blend vulnerability and a backbone of steel seemingly effortlessly, bringing us a character we continually root for, even as she’s making not-so-great decisions (like staying with her insanely needy, rapist husband). She’s good at what she does.
The dialogue about Christina Hendricks should be about what an awesome actress she is. Because she is.