The #AskHerMore twitter campaign highlighted at last night's 87th Academy Awards by Reese Witherspoon and others, points out the disparity in the types of questions asked of the 44 women nominees compared with those asked of their male counterparts. Ask her more than who she's wearing, in particular, what causes she supports. "We're more than just our dresses," Witherspoon says.
Asking is great. Doing is even better. So, let's take this #AskHerMore one step further. Ask her if she'll run for office to make these causes happen and to make equal rights happen for women. We need more women in the House and Senate. Ask her to get out of the house and into the House -- and Senate.
Boyhood Best Supporting Actress winner, Chicago-born Patricia Arquette in closing out her thank yous at the Oscars, pushed for pay equality for women now with Meryl Streep standing up to second the motion from the floor. See these actresses already have Robert's Rules of Parliamentary Procedure down pat. Why wouldn't they?
Meryl Streep took acting classes at Vassar with Jean Arthur, as did I, though not at the same time. She was a senior when I was a freshman. What a tribute to the late Jean Arthur who starred with Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, if Ms. Streep goes to Washington, elected to the House or Senate. It was a popular movie on campus during our Vassar years, don't need a remake of the film, a first response, no doubt from Ms. Streep. Instead, we need her to run in real life. She can get her fourth Oscar later after she leaves office. She needs to literally live the role first.
Ask her more. If I were to interview Reese Witherspoon, my first question would be why haven't you run for office with your Stanford education? Julianne Moore of Boston University, what's your excuse? Catholic University of America's Susan Sarandon, how about it? Sarah Lawrence alumnae Joanne Woodward and Yoko Ono who share their alma mater with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Barbara Walters, what's stopping you?
To the hesitant, don't be. I remember interviewing Mayor Emanuel in the West Wing as he was exiting the Clinton White House in 1998. In response to my question, he said he had no interest in running for office himself. Then he changed his mind. Look where he is now.
Jessica Lange, Faye Dunaway, why not run? Annette Bening danced with the president. Okay, it was a movie president, Michael Douglas in The American President (1995). But with Warren Beatty as her campaign manager, how could Senator Bening lose?
These actresses have name recognition, poise, speaking ability, a base already, okay it's a fan base but could easily become a political base, have studied at some of the globe's top schools.
Television and radio call-in shows already clamor to give actresses free air time to express their views, cutting down greatly on the amount of money they will need to raise and spend for political commercials to get their messages out.
In fact, actresses might not have to spend any money at all for paid commercials. Just be articulate and well-informed on the talk shows. There will be no lack of invitations to appear and discuss your political views.
And the best thing about these actresses, is they are not lawyers. Too many lawyers are representing us in Washington. Our country desperately needs a diversity of occupations in the House and Senate. Those bodies are just too lawyered up.
Clearly, Warren Beatty, when he finishes managing Annette's campaign, should run, as should The West Wing's Martin Sheen and Bradley Whitford, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood, who has already held office, should run again and may be willing to share some pointers with the other actors and actresses running even though they may be on opposite sides of the aisle.
When will Illinois' own Oprah Winfrey, talk queen/actress, fill the shoes of former Senator Carol Moseley Braun, the only African-American woman to be in that mostly all-boys club? Or kick off those shoes and fill her own? The Land of Lincoln is awaiting.
I mean it's not as if we've never had an actor in the White House. President Ronald Reagan was quite popular even with those who didn't agree with most of his policies. And he did get the Berlin Wall torn down.
So when you ask her more, don't stop with what causes she supports or whether she prefers to be referred to as an actor or actress. Act as if President John F. Kennedy is still around. Ask her not what her country can do for her, but what she can do for her country!
Lonna Saunders may be reached at email@example.com.