Opinion Analysis

Thursday 22 March 2018

Alison Pearson: Take a leaf from Meryl's book when at the mercy of an ignorant, sexist oaf

SAY what you like about the 85th Academy Awards, host Seth MacFarlane certainly sank to the occasion. It was like dressing for a black-tie dinner and finding yourself at a frat party for sniggering juveniles.

MacFarlane, who at 39 still wears the permasmirk of the school bully, sang a bouncy little number called 'We Saw Your Boobs', a sort of point-to-point of breasts glimpsed on screen that name-checked several actresses in the audience. Musically speaking, 'We Saw Your Boobs' was the kind of jaunty, marching-band number that Donald O'Connor would have performed with dancing wit, back when the Oscars was the night of a thousand stars, men were men and women were not to be messed with. It is clear that neither civilisation, nor cinema, has taken a great leap forward in the interim. If Bob Hope were hosting nowadays, he'd have to sign off with 'Thanks for the Mammaries'.

Among the "boobs" spotted by MacFarlane were Jodie Foster's in 'The Accused' and Meryl Streep's in 'Silkwood'. At least three of the great actresses in his merry little ditty were being raped in the scenes where their breasts were bared, so it can hardly be described as gratuitous nudity. I don't think anyone could watch the gang-rape of Foster in 'The Accused' and come away humming 'We saw your boobs'. But, hey, maybe I'm just an unsmiling feminist and the violent assault of terrified, half-naked women is actually hilarious, right?

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