Why We Shouldn’t Worry about Michael Eisner
We are not raising our funny girls to be pretty enough. Or we are not raising our pretty girls to be funny enough.This is Michael Eisner’s Hollywood casting problem.Or maybe it’s his parenting problem.But it’s not my problem and probably shouldn’t be yours.This weekend, Eisner was in conversation with Goldie Hawn at the Aspen Ideas Festival and said he had a hard time finding women who were both funny and smart in Hollywood:“But I know women and actresses who have been told they’re beautiful. They win Miss Arkansas. And they don’t ever have to get attention other than their looks. So they don’t tell a joke! So in the history of the motion picture business, the number of beautiful—really beautiful women—a Lucille Ball, who was a beautiful woman, that are funny, is impossible to find.” Fine. There are only so many hours in the day. Few of us prioritize multiple skills simultaneously as children. Instead, we focus on the hobby, or attribute, or character element that is easiest to attain and most rewarding in the context of our communities and families.Funny, pretty women—like Tina Fey, Sasheer Zamata, Mindy Kaling, Ellen DeGeneres, Emma Stone, Maya Rudolph, Amy Schumer, Jessica Williams, Melissa McCarthy, Sofia Vergara, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kate McKinnon, Nasim Pedrad, Kristen Wiig, and Zooey Deschanel, to name a few—started working on being funny early in life, from taking acting and comedy classes to working the standup circuit.We don’t need to solve Eisner’s casting/parenting problem by raising our daughters to be all things to all people at all times.But we also don’t need to worry about it, either.Beauty is attainable for anyone willing to spend the money (and time) on the clothes, cosmetics and haircare. But comedy, like other vocations, is a lifelong discipline.As long as we know the difference between attributes and skills that can be attained in an hour, or three—beauty—and ones that take a lifetime to hone—intelligence, wit, athleticism, humor, cooking, painting, architecture, etc.—we, and our daughters, will be fine.