Smart Girls: More Than Their Dresses

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During Sunday's dazzlingly tedious Oscars, the most notable moments were those insistent, inspiring ones when the real world, despite the odds, disrupted the glitzy proceedings. After weeks-long campaigns protesting the awards' racism and sexism came the unlikely victory of "Citizenfour," Patricia Arquette's impassioned call for wage equity, the fierce glory of "Glory," and several calls for justice for the black, immigrant, female, gay and weird among us.

The all-white acting nominations had already sparked a popular #OscarsSoWhite Twitter campaign and the domination of men in other major categories - no women among 26 nominees for directing, cinematography, and screenwriting - had provoked uproar and parodies before the launch of a furious  #AskHerMore campaign challenging the numbingly idiotic questions asked of women, but rarely men, on the Red Carpet. An array of women-centric organizations - including Makers and Amy Poehler's Smart Girls - supported the radical notion that "Smart girls are more than their dresses," and that the parade of successful women might be interested in discussing more substantive questions than the perennially inane, 'Who are you wearing?'

The campaign is one of several welcome signs women have had enough of the bullshit required of them in a famously sexist industry, and have decided to use their clout and platform to tell us. Patricia Arquette's righteous call for gender equity likewise drew riotous applause (probably mostly from women), especially from the ever-classy Meryl Streep, who provided the evening's most joyful, whooping, GIF-worthy moment. Online, she had support from a slew of hashtags like  #filmlikeagirl #film #women #womeninfilm #movies #oscars #oscars2015.

Such enthusiasm and right-mindedness, of course, was not unanimous. There was still plenty of excess, whiteness and stupidity on display. Right-wing trolls lamented that Hollywood's elites were so hypocritical they didn't like American Sniper even though they had L.A. snipers protecting their commie asses and what's up with that? Fox News was appalled that women want equal pay. Donald Trump was horrified a damn Mexican won all those awards. Selma was still unconscionably snubbed. Etc. The Oscars, obviously, are not the real world. But because it's in fact so far from it - and because movies, like all culture, help portray and explain and change the world - it's a modest victory that the two at least occasionally overlapped. Hey Academy, a whole lotta people are increasingly saying. We're here.

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