Top 20 Celebs Who Shut Down Sexist Interview Questions

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Top 20 Celebs Who Shut Down Sexist Interview Questions

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
These are all celebs who shut down sexist interview questions. Our countdown includes Megan Fox, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, and more!
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Top 20 Celebs Who Shut Down Sexist Interview Questions


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Celebs Who Shut Down Sexist Interview Questions.

For this list, we’ll be looking at instances where stars did not let sexist lines of questioning fly.

Which of these responses do you think was the most epic? Let us know in the comments!

#20: Megan Fox


In the 2014 film “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, Megan Fox played the iconic character April O'Neil. By taking on such a well-known part, she was inevitably opening herself up to some level of critique. During this interview about the project, Fox was asked about whether now was the time for more women to be taking on leading roles in superhero films. She acknowledged that the question was inane, because how could anyone answer anything but “yes”? This would have been a good opportunity to ask some more thoughtful questions that would have garnered more nuanced and compelling responses.

#19: Amy Schumer


While promoting her film, “Trainwreck”, Amy Schumer did an interview where reporter Matt Tilley asked her if Americans use the word “skanky” when discussing her character in the film. That word is an offensive one no matter which side of the pond you hail from, and Schumer didn’t take the line of questioning lying down. She managed to hurl insults at both his mother and wife and made it clear that what he was suggesting was inappropriate. Luckily, in the years since she was promoting this film, the entire media industry has learned a lesson or two about misogyny.

#18: Charlize Theron


At the Cannes Film Festival, during a panel interview about “Mad Max: Fury Road”, Charlize Theron was asked where she drew feelings of rage from in order to portray the character of Furiosa. She had a snarky response at the ready, schooling the interviewer on the fact that women experience strong feelings of anger, just like men do. Considering how much sexist dialogue was already surrounding the expansion of the “Mad Max” franchise, we commend Theron for staying as strong in real life as she was in the movie.

#17: Blake Lively


While on the red carpet for Variety’s Power of Women: New York luncheon, where she was promoting the Child Rescue Coalition, Blake Lively was asked a question that had nothing to do with the cause she was there to bring attention to. An interviewer from “The Today Show”’s online branch asked Lively what her “power outfit” was and she snapped back about how clothing should not be what they’re focusing on. She demanded whether the reporter would have asked a man the same question, and we’ve got to assume that they wouldn’t have.

#16: Lady Gaga


All the way back in 2009, when Lady Gaga wasn’t yet the mega-star she is now, she was asked a question about whether she’s scared that the provocative nature of her songs would overshadow her musical talent. She responded confidently that men who write songs about sex are called rock stars, while she gets asked questions about whether it will negatively affect her image. She finished by asserting that she’s just a rock star, and there’s no way anyone could deny that, especially now after more than a decade at the top of the music industry.

#15: Simone Biles


While most of the other celebrities on our list are actors or musicians, this Olympic athlete is also not immune to receiving sexist questions. Simone Biles appeared on a season of “Dancing with the Stars,” and after one of her performances host Tom Bergeron questioned why she wasn’t smiling when receiving compliments about her performance. Come on Tom, haven’t we all learned by now not to ask women to smile? Luckily, Biles had the perfect response ready, saying that smiles don’t win you gold medals. Ain’t that the truth!

#14: Mark Ruffalo


Scarlett Johansson is used to receiving sexist questions while promoting Marvel movies (more on that later) but in this Cosmopolitan UK video, the interviewer decided to flip the script and let Johansson take the serious questions, while Mark Ruffalo was offered the queries typically asked of female stars. He played up just how ridiculous these standard questions are when asked about his red carpet wardrobe, the most flattering poses for photography, and his diet and exercise regimen. From here on out, let’s just ask everyone the same questions no matter their gender, okay?

#13: Jennifer Aniston


It seems like there have been Jennifer Anison pregnancy rumors on the cover of tabloids in the line at the grocery store for pretty much decades now. Aniston has understandably tired of the persistent question she receives about her desire to be a mother, and explained in an interview with Allure, saying, “I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women – that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated. I don’t think it’s fair.” She went on to say that being maternal doesn’t simply need to be about having biological children, and that she is mothering to her friends, dogs, and friends’ children.

#12: Taylor Swift


While being interviewed by Germany’s DPA, Taylor Swift was asked whether her 30th birthday would prompt her to settle down with a man. She refused to answer, saying, “I really doubt men get asked the same question when they turn 30.” Swift seems like something of a magnet for sexism, and while on the Grammys red carpet, Nancy O’Dell of “Entertainment Tonight” commented on Taylor’s physique, saying she’d be “going home with lots of men”... to which Taylor replied that she’d simply be hanging out with her friends and going home to her cats. Me-ow!

#11: Rihanna


During a red carpet interview at the launch of her Rogue Man fragrance in 2014, Rihanna was asked by a reporter what she’s looking for in a man to wear her new product. The multi-talented star took issue with the very question itself, responding confidently that she’s not looking for a man, period. The question was phrased bizarrely, making it unclear whether the journalist was asking RiRi about her love life or her business venture. Either way, the starlet was having none of it when she gave this sassy response.

#10: Serena Williams


She has the most number of singles, doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles among active players COMBINED and was ranked World No. 1 eight times between 2002 and 2017. So it’s no exaggeration to call Serena Williams skilful, talented and graceful when she’s on the court. But as the only tennis player – male or female - to win 2 of 4 Grand Slams 7 times each as well as the only one – male or female – to earn 10 Grand Slam Singles in 2 different decades, it’s also clearly no exaggeration to call her one of the greatest athletes of all time, period. So when a reporter asked her what it’s like to be “one of the greatest female athletes of all time,” she quickly and admirably told the journalist what’s what.

#9: Tom Hardy


When details about the “Mad Max” reboot first came to light, a lot of conversation stemmed from the seemingly female centric take on a formally ultra-macho franchise. This, naturally, generated a backlash online from people wanting to boycott the film because of its alleged feminist undertones. During a press conference in Cannes that focused on “Fury Road”, the film’s male lead, Tom Hardy, was asked how he felt about all the women in the movie. His response was simple, but incredibly effective.

#8: Keira Knightly


After being honored with a Hollywood Film Award for her portrayal of Joan Clarke in 2014’s “The Imitation Game”, Keira Knightley was answering the perfunctory backstage questions. One reporter asked a question that has been posed to successful women for decades: how she manages to balance her career and her personal life, a question rarely, if ever asked of male actors or politicians. Knightley was not going to let it slide though, and followed up with a question of her own.

#7: Emma Stone


While the mid 2010s is seeing “Teen Vogue” shifting towards more cutting-edge political coverage, back in 2012 they hadn’t exactly hit their stride in terms of their progressive slant. After starring together in “The Amazing Spider-Man”, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield were interviewed for the magazine. Emma was asked about her hair color at one point, and in response began to question why she frequently experienced these sort of superficial questions. When Andrew interjected, she said, “You get asked interesting, poignant questions because you are a boy,” and shut the whole thing down.

#6: Lauren Conrad


Lauren Conrad managed to turn a string of reality TV shows into a full-fledged career as a lifestyle guru. She has designed her own fashion line and published a series of novels, and is known for being an ultimate girl boss. That’s why her response to a question posed on a radio show was so delightfully perfect. A listener asked what her favorite position was and after a moment of contemplation answered, “CEO”. It even took the radio hosts a minute to catch on to what she had just said.

#5: Scarlett Johansson


ScarJo is no stranger to sexist interview questions, and they came in on a seemingly constant basis while she did press for her role in the “Avengers” movies. For instance, there was this press conference in which Robert Downey Jr. was asked about character development and Johansson was asked about her fitness regime. Instead of responding, she questioned why her co-stars got the interesting questions while she was only asked about her figure. Similarly, she seems to be asked quite often about the undergarments she wears under her Black Widow costume. Does the Hulk have ripped up CGI tighty-whities under his ripped up CGI pants? We may never know.

#4: Rowan Blanchard


The “Girl Meets World” star had the perfect response when a red carpet reporter once asked her if she had any dieting tips for other teenage girls. Blanchard, who was only 13 at the time, told Elle that she questioned whether they’d ever ask about dieting tips for teenage boys. She went on to assert that she does not diet and that if she has one food related tip for fans it’s that, 'if you don't order fries, you'll probably be mad.' Poignant, and true.

#3: Anne Hathaway


After having a much reported upon wardrobe malfunction at the premiere of her 2012 film, “Les Misérables”, Anne Hathaway sat down with the Today Show’s Matt Lauer. He jumped right into things by asking her what was the “lesson learned”. Rather than allowing herself to be blamed, she turned his question around and put the blame squarely on the photographer and the population who’ll pay for such an image. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only time Hathaway was faced with sexist questions. While doing press for “The Dark Knight Rises”, Anne Hathaway was asked about her “Feline Fitness Routine”. After trying to deflect the line of questioning away from her Catwoman costume and her body, she finally had enough of his persistence and she turned the question right back on him.

#2: Ariana Grande


The “Side to Side” singer was not going to take any gendered questions when she was participating in a radio interview in the mid 2010s. The hosts of the show - who all happened to be male - asked her if she had to give up one thing - her cell phone or her makeup - which it would be. She responded right away by letting them know she thought the question was a sexist one. As the interview went on however, they continued to put an emphasis on things that “girls do” and she eventually had to lay down the law for them.

#1: Helen Mirren


Today, feminism is no longer a dirty word and many stars proudly claim it. In 1975 however, speaking up about issues of sexism was much more difficult - and not always as well received. Helen Mirren appeared on Michael Parkinson's iconic chat show early in her career and found herself cornered into an uncomfortable conversation. Parkinson seemed to focus on her body rather than her abilities as an actress, and while the clip is uncomfortable to watch, seeing Mirren own him is totally worth it.
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