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February 21, 2024


Dear Mr. Manners:

I have objected to many poorly reasoned ideas and distortions by feminists which have been endorsed by the media. Regarding a current one, I do not understand the logic behind it. I am referring to the movie “Barbie” and the Academy Awards.

In fact, “Barbie” did extremely well in the Academy Award nominations, getting eight of them. In addition, it was nominated in the most prestigious category, that of best picture. The flack is about Greta Gerwig not being nominated in the best director category and Margot Robbie not being nominated for best actress.

The primary reason for the outrage I think is clear. That being the box office success of the movie. It was the top box office movie in 2023.  Making it the first time a female has directed a movie that reached the top of gross earnings. Add to that, it has a feminist theme, and it was not just popular, but having artistic merit.

Still, I think the central reason for the anger about the picture not being nominated is its box office success.  It is not a rare thing for positively reviewed movies with feminist themes receiving modest box office success, to not receive Oscar nominations.

As for Ms. Gerwig, I have not heard anyone say why her direction was better than the movies nominated. Which nominated movie should it have replaced? What about her direction is superior to movies that were nominated in the best director category? Why not ask her fellow, as well as lady directors, why they did not choose “Barbie”. Then again, these people might be understandably reluctant to give an opinion on the matter.

Gerwig did receive a best director nomination for her solo directorial debut, “Lady Bird”. Quite an impressive accomplishment. She was not nominated for best director for her second, “Little Women”. Why then was there not similar outrage that Gerwig was not nominated for that film with that of “Barbie.” I have not seen one word saying Ms. Gerwig did an inferior directing job for “Little Women” than “Barbie.” She did quite well at the 2024 awards. The screenplay she co-authored received an Oscar nomination.

What about Robbie? What made her performance better than the women nominated? Why is another woman getting nominated instead of her, sexism against women? Which woman should have been shutout for her to get nominated?  In addition, Robbie was nominated as a producer in the best picture category.  How is that for being slighted?

Another part of the controversy is that unlike Robbie, the male lead Ryan Gosling did get nominated. That was in the best supporting actor category. How can this be an example of anti-female sexism when Gosling was competing against a completely different group than Robbie for the award?

I think a better question would be why Gosling was relegated to the supporting actor category. Then again, if he was considered a lead actor, he might have suffered the same fate as Robbie of not being nominated at all. Also, I should note that America Ferrera was nominated for best supporting actress in the movie.

As for popularity, isn’t a justification for award shows to go beyond popularity and focus on artistic achievement? If these contests were based on popularity there would be no reason for having the Academy Awards in the first place.

As far as box office and best director nominations, I decided to see how many top box office films were nominated for best director Oscars in the twenty first century. In that 24-year period it happened a total of two times.

What about movies popularity and female director nominations?  In the year 2010, Kathryn Biglow became the first female to win the best director award with her picture “The Hurt Locker”.  This was also one of the two years in this century where the top box office movie received a best director nomination. The top grossing movie being “Avatar” which grossed 2,923 billion. The Hurt Locker grossed 49.2 million dollars.

The “Hurt Locker” also won the best picture Academy Award. In real dollars, it was the lowest grossing winner in the category in the history of the Oscars. “Lady Bird” was 81st in gross earnings for the year it was nominated for, 2017.  Should we question the nomination of these two movies in the best director category based on the lack of audience? I think not.

As for 2023, the second highest box office behind Barbie was the “Super Mario Bros. Movie”. The 2000 box office winner was ‘The Grinch Stole Who Christmas.” Where are their best director nominations?

The WAR AGAINST BOYS: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young MenGerwig noted she partly based the script on the book “Reviving Ophelia” by Mary Pipher. In her book “The War Against Boys”, author Christina Hoff Sommers observed a very disturbing distortion in Pipher’s book.  Pipher related that the suicide rate rose 75% for those aged 10 to 14 between 1979 and 1988. Pipher noted: “Something dramatic is happening to adolescent girls in America.”

Sommers pointed out that in fact, while the suicide rate did increase for girls in that period for 10- to 14-year-olds, the rise was much greater for boys. It increased 71% for boys and girls 27% (The War Against Boys pages 19-20, Simon and Schuster, 2000).”

Considering the relative lack of attention to boys’ issues, the significantly higher suicide rates for boys even before these increases, adds to the lack of communication by troubled boys on such issues and this is a very disturbing inaccuracy.

Having read the Barbie script, I think the stereotypical feminist stance of the movie is influenced by a good deal of inaccurate feminist data and thinking. Do such things dilute the quality of the script enough that it should not have even been considered for best screen play? Clearly so in my opinion.

Mr. Manners, I am being sincere when I say I do not understand what people are talking about when they claim “Barbie” not getting a best director nomination is sexism. Please explain.

Sincerely Baffled:

Dear Babble:

I am more of a fight fan than an Academy Award watcher. Since Will Smith will not be at the ceremony, I have little interest. Still, you brought it up.

You going by the name Babble is right since this is what you are spouting. So “Avatar” outgrossed “The Hurt Locker” by twenty-nine billion or so. Is not that nitpicking about small differences.

“The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and “Super Mario Bro Movie” are clearly cinematic masterpieces. But consider the origin of the two movies.  One is based on a children’s book, the other a video game.

Barbie on the other hand is a piece of plastic shaped into a doll. About dolls, research shows that some kids may lose interest around the age of 5 or 6 while others may continue to play with them into their per-teen years . Therefore, Barbie deserved a best director nomination.

I rest my case.

Mr. Manners

national coalition for men


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