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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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And the award goes to… patriarchy, again

Three+trophies+in+the+colors+pink%2C+gold+and+blue+are+centered+in+the+image.+A+yellow+background+is+covered+in+text+highlighting+key+moments+from+Jo+Koys+Golden+Globes+monologue.
Elizabeth Franklin
Recent award shows have met criticism for the underrepresentation of women and sexist remarks. Feminist Club executive aide and sophomore Clara Lazarini discussed the importance of female representation at a recent club meeting, highlighting the events of comedian Jo Koy’s infamous Golden Globes monologue. “[Female representation is] really important because a couple of decades back, women didn’t have any representation in certain fields,” Lazarini said.

It’s award season. From the paparazzi clamoring for celebrity photos to internet debacles over the best-dressed attendees or the works that are most likely to win, the Golden Globes kicked off this year’s set of award shows with flair, as elegantly-dressed celebrities lined the red carpet and prepared for an evening of celebration. 

However, nothing could have prepared them for the unpredictable night ahead of them. On the surface, there were many things to celebrate about the 81st Golden Globes: Lily Gladstone was the first Indigenous person to win the award for Best Actress, and “Barbie,” a lighthearted, but at its core, powerful feminist film, snagged nine nominations. By the end of the night, the movie ended up winning the Golden Globe for Cinematic and Box Office Achievement, and one of its songs — “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell — secured the Best Original Song – Motion Picture award. Various incredibly wholesome moments took place as well, like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone celebrating each other in a meeting.

But despite the many positive things about the night, news anchors the next morning could only talk about one thing — comedian Jo Koy’s monologue


Golden Globes

Being chosen within two weeks of the event, Koy opened his speech with a standard “It’s an honor to be here. I used to watch these shows as a kid” type of intro. He then proceeded to talk about “The Bear” and transitioned to “Oppenheimer.” And, to quote, he said, “‘Oppenheimer’ is based on a 721-page, Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project. And ‘Barbie’ is on a plastic doll with big boobies.”

Cut to “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig, who produced a small smile and a head nod. But Koy wasn’t done. As the camera panned to unimpressed looks from “Barbie” actors Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, he proceeded to say, “A key moment in ‘Barbie’ is when she goes from beauty to bad breath, cellulite and flat feet — or what casting directors like to call ‘character actor.’”

In the background of the shot, singer-songwriter and actress Selena Gomez put her head in her hands, accompanied by a few other “ouch” reactions. 

And who could blame her? Though Koy said he binged every nominee film and show days before the event, he steered away from everything that “Barbie” stands for. Yes, the two-hour film is based on a toy, but it goes so far beyond just a plastic doll. The film celebrates humanity, it honors equality — no matter the gender — and it calls out some deep-rooted problems in our world in a beautifully digestible manner. 

“A movie like that was very important to make because Barbie is supposed to be a character that represents a woman, and that inspires the younger generation to be anything they want to be,” Feminist Club executive aide and sophomore Clara Lazarini said. “Making a joke like that makes it seem like [Barbie is] just a doll, but it’s so much more than that for girls. So, [the joke] distracts from the main meaning of the movie.”

So, to rework the outrightly feminist movie, Koy somehow managed to circle it back to women’s bodies. You didn’t miss your mark, Koy. You missed the entire point of the movie. 

After the unsolicited negative reactions from the crowd, Koy turned to laugh, quickly and awkwardly adding, “Some [jokes] I wrote, some others wrote… I got the gig 10 days ago. Do you expect a perfect monologue? Shut up. You’re kidding me, right? I wrote some of these, and they’re the ones you’re laughing at.”

So, Koy didn’t get the laughs he wanted. He’s a comedian. Surely not every joke he makes lands. And even if he didn’t write them, he still ultimately chose to perform them. Koy only continued to make things more uncomfortable, mentioning actor Barry Keoghan’s privates, a series of “white people” jokes and — yet another — joke about singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s dating life. 

Resorting to joking about genitalia, race or one of the most publicly-covered celebrity relationships of the year is a clear sign that Koy and the writers must have gotten stuck brainstorming anything remotely funny. 

If we stand by and tolerate sexist, uncomfortable and, honestly, unfunny jokes, then we are standing by and watching it become much more incorporated in our society. Think of the little kid watching, waiting to see Barbie and Ken again on TV, only to witness a joke about “big boobies.” What will that kid take away from what was once a fun and enlightening movie from then on? Degrading comments like the ones Koy made need to be addressed because if we let them fly under the radar, they will just become all the more acceptable. Feminist Club recently covered the Golden Globes in a meeting, discussing how to stand up against sexism in the workplace.  

“One way to fight against [statements like that] is definitely to speak about ‘Barbie’ and not only the movie but the lesson that women should be more accommodated in those spaces. We need to bring more awareness to women in their fields of job and make sure that women feel included in those spaces,” Lazarini said. 

But degrading “Barbie” wasn’t where the spectacle stopped. Celebrities were asked in interviews to comment on the bodies of their fellow colleagues, like “The Bear”’s Ayo Edebiri on the red carpet before the Golden Globes. After being shown a poster of co-star Jeremy Allen White’s recent Calvin Klein photoshoot, Access Hollywood asked her thoughts on it, to which she uncomfortably responded, “I’m happy for him. That’s my boy. I do feel like I want people to understand that he’s my coworker.” 

In any other industry, being asked to comment on a colleague’s provocative photos would be utterly unacceptable. Celebrities, despite being in the public eye, should not be expected to tolerate an unprofessional work environment. Not only does it make things awkward for both parties, it’s awkward for the audience, too. 

Still, the Golden Globes wasn’t the only event that attracted sexist remarks. The “Best Original Song” category at the Critics Choice Awards went to Gosling for “I’m Just Ken,” a satirical song in “Barbie” that plays on the effect of patriarchy on men. The song ended up beating “What was I made for?,” a beautiful ode to the struggles of womanhood. Even Gosling’s puzzled reaction, which was similar to so many of the audience’s, was plastered over the internet.

Critics Choice

Furthermore, the Oscars nominations excluded Robbie and Gerwig, the lead and director of “Barbie,” which became the highest-grossing movie of 2023, while highlighting Gosling as a nominee in the Best Supporting Actor category. In addition, “Barbie”’s numerous nominations place Gerwig as the first female director with three top-prize movies. If Gosling was nominated for “Barbie,” shouldn’t that have guaranteed a spot for female nominations? Gosling himself was even disappointed in the nominees, stating, “There is no Ken without Barbie, and there is no Barbie movie without Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie.”

These award shows are events that should celebrate representation, beautifully artistic filmmaking and music, and the talent of people from around the world. Instead, the Golden Globes and many other recent shows were a pitiful, painful and sadly unsurprising attack on the very values they base their nominations on. 

Sure, this is just another example of celebrity drama. Sure, this level of fame comes with its downsides. Sure, these people face the spotlight and several forms of scrutiny daily. But in the same way that celebrity fashion eventually makes its way into stores worldwide, their comments and behavior make their way into our lives as well. In a time of increasing idolization and online attention toward these idols, the people we watch are the people who affect us the most. We have to choose carefully, and we must address hurtful comments when they are made. Toleration leads to integration, and we can’t afford the acceptance of sexism in our lives.

In addition to calling out sexism, we need to act further. Accommodating women in workplaces is necessary in order to create an equal working environment, and that applies to every field. Initiating equality should be something that everyone strives for, not only for the sake of women today but for the upcoming generations who are watching and learning from our example. 

“Speaking about bringing awareness makes it so not only [do] women feel more included in jobs [but in] society as a whole. It helps younger girls [become] more confident and feel like they belong in the space and feel safe,” Lazarini said.

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Franklin, Editor-in-Chief
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 12 Years on staff: 4 What is your favorite piece of literature?"Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" is such a classic piece of literature that can still resonate with many people in the U.S. today. Cassie, the book’s protagonist was and is still refreshing to me: she’s a child, so the way that racism and discrimination impact her made it easy for me, also a child at the time, to understand some of the bigotry and prejudice that many of my ancestors faced, especially living in the South. Cassie’s a little spitfire, sure, but she’s also just a child, and at the end of the day, she embodies what America’s intrinsic racism can do to childish innocence like hers. Who is your hero? My hero is Ida B. Wells. She was an excellent journalist and was always dedicated to finding the truth, no matter the obstacles — and as a Black woman reporting in the South, she had a lot of obstacles. Although my journalistic career isn’t as nearly as dangerous as hers was, her work has paved the way for numerous other Black writers and journalists in the field, and it reminds me to always keep digging, even when the subjects are obscure or controversial in today’s overall political climate. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? I'm not going to lie, I could probably shovel down buckets of those Welch's fruit snacks.
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    Lauren HolcombFeb 2, 2024 at 9:18 am

    jo koy sucked but it’s really disappointing that so much attention has been taken away from lily gladstone and other up-and-coming actresses of color and put onto greta gerwig and margot, two of the most successful women in Hollywood 🙁 great article tho!

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  • W

    Will GonsiorFeb 1, 2024 at 9:39 am

    AMAZING job Emily! This was such a great read and Clara was such a great interview

    Reply