Everything That Upset the Internet This Week

Between International Women’s Day and the Academy Awards, there was a lot going on in pop culture this week for the Internet to be upset about. Here are a few of the controversies you might have missed:

Emma Watson sported a misspelled Time’s Up tattoo

THE STORY: Emma Watson, a longtime supporter of the women’s rights, showed up to the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty Sunday night with an incredibly powerful accessory: a giant Time’s Up tattoo on her forearm. It was a creative way to show her support and a bold statement on the longevity of the movement … and it had a typo.


RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE: Come on guys! Emma Watson has an English degree from Brown University, has spoken to the United Nations about the need to involve men in the fight for gender equality and she spent her youth attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If I had to guess, this was an intentional error to maximize the movement’s publicity. And even if it was just a mistake, at least she had a witty comeback: “Fake tattoo proofreading position available,” Watson tweeted in response to the social media backlash, “Experience with apostrophes a must.”

McDonald’s flipped their arches into a W… for “Women”

THE STORY: In celebration of International Women’s Day, the fast-food McBehemoth flipped its iconic “M” logo. The arches were physically turned upside down at over 100 locations on Tuesday, and they were digitally flipped across McDonald’s digital channels. The company also had its employees wear “special hats and shirts” to mark IWD,  with McDonald’s chief diversity officer Wendy Lewis telling CNN the logo change is “in honour of the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere.”


RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE: Wait, so does this mean that the golden arches of McDonald’s stand for “men” every other day of the year? Or a better question might be: how much did this empty symbolic stunt cost Micky Dee’s? If the corporate giant had instead spent their International Women’s Day budget on, say, funding a women’s charity or scholarships for young girls, we might buy a little more into their marketing ploy. Symbolism is cool and all, but when it doesn’t translate into actual action — and it comes from a massive corporation with questionable values — it reads like an opportunist gimmick.

An Oscars montage featured an actor in yellowface

THE STORY: Before announcing the winner of this year’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar (spoiler: it’s Allison Janney), a montage of past winners played for the audience. Among the celebrated actresses was Linda Hunt, who took home an Academy Award for her role in The Year of Living Dangerously. In the 1983 film, Hunt plays Billy Kwan, “a half-Asian male” photographer in Jakarta. She was given stereotypical Asian features for the role, a racist makeup technique long used in the earlier days of Hollywood.


RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE: This seems like a pretty significant oversight, especially given the Academy’s push to present itself as diverse and inclusive. Strides have been made, but Hollywood continues to have a serious problem with Asian representation. First of all, there’s the problem of whitewashing: in recent movies like Ghost in the Shell, Annihilation and Aloha, roles that originated as Asian characters went to white actors. And when Asian actors do get roles in film and television, they’re often forced to portray stereotypes of their culture.

A female cleaner scrubbed the words “Happy International Women’s Day” off Oxford University steps

THE STORY: A female cleaner was photographed scrubbing off the words “Happy International Women’s Day,” which had been written in chalk on an Oxford University campus staircase. As she wipes away the message, a group of males security guards stand by.


RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE: Context is everything … but pictures speak louder than words! And this image speaks volumes: a likely low-wage female worker is erasing a message intended to provide her with support. “We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused,” Oxford University tweeted in response to the backlash, “International Women’s Day is hugely important to Oxford. This should not have happened.”

Sophie Smith, an associate professor of political theory at the prestigious British school, seemingly accepted the apology: “I appreciate your apology, but far more importantly can you please make sure that the woman asked to remove the message receives a heartfelt apology, a warm cup of tea, the rest of the day off and, along with all our precarious staff, good enough pay to live in this city.”