It is thoroughly unsurprising that adult women would chafe at the process of parading themselves down a red carpet in front of countless cameras while being harshly judged on their physical appearance and asked the most stupid possible questions by peppy anchors from America's most idiotic celebrity-news shows. No reasonable human would enjoy such a charade. Cara Buckley writes of the growing mini-revolts against the red carpet by individual celebrities, such as the refusal of a few women to shove their manicured hands into the E! network's "Mani Cam."
Such exasperation is understandable. But bypassing Mani Cams are not the stuff from which revolution is made. If female celebrities are tired of being patronized and judged as mere physical objects while parading down the red carpet—and they should be—they should not parade down the red carpet. I know that this may blow many minds throughout Hollywood, but it is possible for celebrities to choose not to walk down the red carpet. There is in fact no state law in California which compels movie stars to put on designer gowns, step out of a limousine, pose before cameras, and answer questions from Ryan Seacrest.
The red carpet is awful. Celebrities should boycott it. If enough celebrities boycotted it, it would change. That minor problem in the generally fabulous lives of celebrities would be solved.
So why don't celebrities stay off the red carpet? Because they want the red carpet. They want it to build their personal brands. They want it to help them become more famous and desirable. They want it to make them money. "If celebrities 'do a series of good looks' on the red carpet," the Times writes, "they are better poised to land lucrative contracts."
What we have here is an attempt by celebrities to breach their own contract. That implicit contract states that celebrities will be richly rewarded with wealth and fame in exchange for being, in essence, fanciful monkeys that dance for the public's amusement. Celebrities will dress themselves up and put on plastic smiles and answer idiotic questions and have their appearance grossly dissected in the most appalling possible ways, and they will do it willingly, because they want what comes with it: fame and fortune. Celebrities are free to opt out of the sickening process of the red carpet—and out of awards shows altogether—any time they choose to do so. But that would mean potentially sacrificing a bit of fame and fortune. So they do not do that. Instead they stage petty and ultimately meaningless acts of mild complaint, and the whole show continues on. Complaining about the vapidity of the red carpet while continuing to walk down red carpets is like complaining about traffic while choosing to walk down the middle of the highway.