Seth MacFarlane’s performance as the host of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards has been met with much criticism and little praise from the media, law makers, and women’s rights advocates the world over.
From Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson to celebrity actresses Jane Fonda and Lena Dunham, women’s rights activists have been speaking out concerning the off-colour comments made by MacFarlane during the Oscars, and the world media has been inundated by accusations of MacFarlane’s misogynist humour and a persecution of the Academy that placed him on the world stage has begun.
While singing a song entitled “We Saw Your Boobs”, in which he listed Academy Award nominated actresses who had preformed nude scenes, MacFarlane diminished these actresses to simple body parts. He lightheartedly mused about physically assaulting women with a quip about Rihanna and Chris Brown, accused Jennifer Aniston of being a stripper, and patronized Jessica Chastain’s brave and noble character in Zero Dark Thirty (who was based on a real woman) by equating her to a nagging girlfriend.
A movement of gender equality in film and television has been occurring over the years, forged by prevalent women in the arts and advocates for neutrality in a historically male dominated field. The Oscars have more recently been hosted by persons of diverse age, race, gender, and sexual orientation. To have MacFarlane as the host was a choice made by the Academy; his brand of intentionally offensive humour is not unknown and the chance of backlash due to his content was more than likely.
While MacFarlane is no stranger to criticism about his particular brand of shock and awe humour, the general agreement is that by putting it on the air, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences publicly condoned what most are calling subversive misogyny. The Academy has chosen to stand by MacFarlane’s performance, as a spokesperson for the Academy has been quoted as saying, “If the Oscars are about anything, they’re about creative freedom.”
Seth MacFarlane has no plans to host the Academy Awards again.