Would you ask men these dumb questions?
They say there’s no such thing as a dumb question, but let’s be honest, that’s not true.
Here’s what I consider to be a “dumb” question, and please feel free to disagree:
1. a question where the answer seems so obvious you don’t understand why it was asked in the first place
Example: When Jessica Simpson asked “Is this chicken what I have or fish? I know it’s tuna but it says chicken...by the sea.”
Youtube: Christina Haynes
2. when you’re asked a question about something you just explained indicating the person clearly hadn’t been listening
3. perhaps the worst kind is when the question is offensive and you’re left wondering “did they REALLY just ask that?”
Example: Basically any question asked by Karen Walker in “Will and Grace”
Unfortunately, we have seen this last one play out in the media all too often. Women have been asked thoughtless, and often sexist, questions leaving us to wonder “did they really just ask that?” Here are just 5 examples of these dumb questions and the sharp, smart comebacks the women provided.
1. Lauren Conrad shows us what it means to be a boss
Do you remember Lauren Conrad’s radio interview on Sway in the Morning? Conrad selected random questions from a bag and was asked “What’s your favorite position?” Coming up with perhaps the greatest answer in history, Conrad replied “CEO.” Her answer even had the host, Sway Calloway, cheering and giving her a high-five. It was empowering to see her turn that question around, and prove that women can be boss and have a position on top.
2. Mayim Bialik sets the record straight
Best known for her role in “The Big Bang Theory” Mayim Bialik plays a nerd on TV. At the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Bialik was asked how many people think she can solve calculus because of her role. Little did the reporter know that Bialik actually has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA, and is well versed in calculus, among other things. I love how she didn’t shy away from flaunting her education and letting the interviewer know we ladies have powerful brains too!
3. Quvenzhane Wallis shows us the power in spunk
Tumblr: Hey Veronica
At age nine, Quvenzhane Wallis became the Academy Awards’ youngest nominee for Best Actress for her role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” (Talk about impressive!) While doing press, an AP reporter was unable to pronounce her name and declared “I’m just going to call you Annie.” With a maturity and wisdom greater than her age suggests, Wallis replied “I’m not Annie. I am Quvenzhane.” Granted, I have difficulty pronouncing her name as well (for the record it’s said Kwuh-VEN-jah-nay Wall-iss), but I would never have the audacity to assume I could just change it at will. Wallis’ tenacity to stand up for her own identity and demand she be called the proper name is truly inspiring. She shows that spunk and strength come at all ages.
4. Keira Knightley calls it like it is
Vine: BuzzFeed Celeb
Click video for audio.
An old pro at press junkets at this point, Keira Knightley proved her ability to handle the media when recently asked “How do you balance your career and personal life?” Without missing a beat she replied “are you going to ask all the men that?” I applaud her for calling out this reporter’s question. Women are frequently asked how they plan to balance work and home life, while questions for their male counterparts tend to focus more on the men’s careers. This imbalance makes this a slightly sexist question, and I know we can do better.
5. Hillary Clinton represents the ultimate power woman
When this question was posed, Hillary Clinton was the US Secretary of State, but even that did not exempt her from being asked frivolous questions like who’s her favorite designer. Like a true leader Clinton had an answer ready, and oh what an answer it was! By throwing the question back at the interviewer, she shut him down and pointed out how ridiculous the question really was.
With the Oscars this Sunday, we are sadly going to see more of these kinds of questions asked. Questions which focus on the superficial and not accomplishments, and which are asked more of women than of men. I would define these as “dumb” questions, and if reporters continue to ask these questions then we’ll continue to get dumb answers as this video suggests:
But we don’t have to be compliant with dumb questions. We can take action and demand reporters ask smarter questions!
This Sunday as you watch the red carpet pre-shows, when some reporter inevitably starts asking a female celebrity questions like “who are you wearing?” tweet #AskHerMore to [Amy Poehler’s] @smrtgrls and let the media know what kind of questions you’d like to hear.
Let’s use the hashtag #AskHerMore and change the red carpet dialogue away from looks and towards empowerment.