ByJess O'Kane, writer at
Big in Japan
Jess O'Kane

Let's talk about how an actress can set back women 40 years in 5 minutes.

Sofia Vergara is no stranger to attention: the Colombian-born bombshell was the highest-paid actress on TV in 2012 and 2013 for her role as overbearing matriarch Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in Modern Family, which won the Emmy for Best Comedy for the fourth time this weekend.

Even so, it must be a new sensation to have the full rage of the internet coming down on you like a ton of bricks.

The Problem

At the 66th Emmys this weekend, Vergara took part in a stunt with the President of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Bruce Rosenblum. The 'gag' involved Vergara revolving on a display pedestal like a home appliance while Rosenblum spoke about "diversity" and equality on screen.

While Vergara beamed and slapped her ass, Rosenblum concluded:

What truly matters is that we never forget that our success is based on always giving the viewer something compelling to watch.

IT'S 2014.

Apparently, this is supposed to be satire. In reality, it's about as satirical as Hooters.

The internet has responded appropriately, with Twitter calling the gag a "disgrace", "racist" and something that "rolled back women's progress by 30 years".

Sarah Begley wrote in TIME that Vergara has undersold herself:

It does a disservice to Vergara’s skills as an actress and comedian to pretend — even in a self-conscious way — like she’s just a body.

By partaking in her objectification, Vergara has perpetuated stereotypes of women, and Latina women especially. What a shame that someone voted 32nd most powerful woman in the world this year can so casually relapse into tokenisms.

The Response

Vergara has responded in three ways.

1) Firstly, she stated backstage at the Emmys that the gag "means that somebody can be hot and also be funny and make fun of herself." In other words, that as long as you can acknowledge the existence of more than one 'type' of woman, you can't possibly be sexist.

(Okay, I just wanted to use this GIF, but that idea is still so, so wrong.)

2) Vergara tweeted that her fans needed to "lighten up."

Hell no.

3) In the Emmy press room, Vergara said the backlash began as a malicious rumour: "I think it’s ridiculous that somebody started this — I know who she was — who has no sense of humor [and should] lighten up a little bit."

Yeah, you're right, it's ridiculous for people to react to what they consider to be sexist behaviour.

(Source: Vulture)


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