Entertainment

Women Standing Up to Sexist Interview Questions 

Lisa Waugh
Updated February 27, 2020 9.8k votes 2.4k voters 526.5k views 21 items

What are you wearing? Is that egg on your face? Despite the fact that it’s the 21st century, women in the public eye still get asked some of the most uninformed, sexist questions during interviews. Some women respond gracefully, some join up with the #AskHerMore campaign, some wake the neighbors with the sound of a gigantic eye roll, some pull off their rings and kick off their shoes fixin’ to get real. But all of them have to deal with sexism in Hollywood.

More and more women celebrities and public figures have been calling out the media about sexist, lopsided, softball, and just plain lazy questions. Robert Downey Jr. probably doesn't get asked about his skin care regime fives times during a full day of press, but many women are asked these dumb and dull questions interview after interview. 

Tips! We've got tips for interviewers. Maybe watch the movies, come up with better questions, hire a writer to help you craft better questions, shake up an '80s magic eight ball, ask the nearest child, consult a fortune cookie — there’s a way to be better. So be better. 

When it comes to reacting to those sexist questions on the red carpet, who withstood these inane questions the best? Which of these famous actresses decided they'd had enough and wouldn't answer one more question about their dress, beauty routine, or the balance of work and family life? From the Mani Cam to who Taylor Swift is going home with (hint: it's her cats), these famous women stood up to reporters and their ridiculous, sexism-fueled questions, taking back the runway and their interview time. So upvote the best actress responses to sexist questions below, and leave some good interview question ideas for reporters in the comments section.

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Q: Do you find, in fact, that what could be best described as your equipment, in fact, hinders you in that pursuit [of being taken seriously as an actress]?

A: I'd like you to explain what you mean by my equipment. In great detail. 

Q: Well, your physical attributes. 

A: You mean my fingers?

Q: No, I meant your figure.

A: Because serious actresses can't have big bosoms. Is that what you mean?

Helen Mirren is a queen when it comes to standing up to sexist questions in interviews. This heated exchange, from 1975, was conducted to promote a staging of Macbeth in which Mirren starred as Lady Macbeth. Apparently, even when you do Shakespeare, if you're a woman, the questions come down to sex appeal. Almost the entire 15-minute interview consists of Mirren batting down, redirecting, or undermining sexist, ignorant comments from host Michael Parkinson. 

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More Helen Mirren 

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Q: Being on The Big Bang Theory, how many people — not that you aren’t a genius — think that you can solve calculus at the drop of the hat?
A: I actually was trained in calculus for several years. I’m a neuroscientist... Yeah, I can do calculus.

Science: It’s for everyone! This genius at the SAG Awards red carpet asked Mayim Bialik about her math skills and got schooled.

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#724 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History #54 of 226 The Greatest Former Child Stars Things You Didn't Know About Mayim Bialik

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Q: What’s your favorite position?
A: CEO.

Lauren Conrad was on Sway in the Morning and apparently they have a mystery question sack. She got to pull three questions out of this sack, the last of which was this intrusive ask. Conrad took two seconds before she sweetly answered as above.
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Elena Serova
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Q: What do you think you’ll worry about in your every day life on the station, such as your hair? How will you do your hair?
A: I have a question for you: Why don’t you ask about Alexander’s hair?

Russian Cosmonaut Elena Serova was the first female Russian cosmonaut to be on the International Space Station — the first one ever. So during a press conference with all of the ISS team, why wouldn't they ask her about her hair? One small step for women, one giant leap for shade. 

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