Here's why everyone is so skeeved out by that Margot Robbie profile in Vanity Fair

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Summer 2016 has truly been a landmark season for terrible journalism about female celebrities and their bodies written by—those rascals!—men. First, there was the L.A. Weekly piece that asserted musician Sky Ferreira's most profound talent was her sex appeal, likening her to a "freshly licked lollipop," a turn of phrase that should carry a three-month prison sentence for its every use. In a Variety column, Owen Gleiberman complained that Renée Zellweger's apparent plastic surgery has adversely affected his enjoyment of her films. Even sportswriter Rick Reilly found his way into the mix, tweeting yesterday that NBA player Kevin Durant's move to the Golden State Warriors is as unappealing as "giving Kate Upton a third breast." And as of today, Rich Cohen's Vanity Fair cover story on Australian actress (did he mention that she's Australian?) Margot Robbie has proudly joined their ranks of sexist, demeaning bullshit.


The lede alone is a work of art—specifically, it is those 90 tin cans an Italian artist filled with his own feces.

Let's begin at the beginning.

America is so far gone, we have to go to Australia to find a girl next door.

If you thought Margot Robbie was an incredibly beautiful movie star, get an eye exam and possibly an MRI, because she's actually an approachable and attainable "girl next door." (Did you know? The number-one fact affecting real estate prices is the attractiveness of a given property's female neighbors.) Also, every woman in America is ugly.

In case you’ve missed it, her name is Margot Robbie.

In case you've missed… her? Maybe the writer realized he'd slipped up on his pronoun usage here and decided he had no choice but to sexualize his subject throughout the story so that even the most simple-minded readers would understand that she is a woman.

She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance.

Those sure are some words, together, in a sentence. Word jazz!

She is blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes.


Those sentences are either from a children's book that teaches an important lesson about how appearances are the only thing that matter or a short story written by James Franco.

She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character.

This sentence is either from some unhinged erotic fanfic posted as a comment on a female celebrity's Facebook fan page—I have read the phrase "even while naked but only in character" 10 times now and I still don't know what means—or a short story written by James Franco.

As I said, she is from Australia.

ty for the reminder

To understand her, you should think about what that means.

ok will do

Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people.


This, you see, is how time zones work.

Later, after quoting The Wolf of Wall Street screenwriter Terence Winter's description of Robbie's character in the movie's script ("the hottest blonde ever"), Rich asks about her "famously short-skirted" sex scene opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. "It's so awkward," she responds, and it's unclear if she's referring to filming the intimate moment or this garbagey interview.


Unsurprisingly, Cohen's treatment of Robbie—an actress with talents that extend far beyond her ability to remain sexy and composed while naked, and who seems to have handled all these questions with admirable aplomb—as a walking, talking poster-in-a-locker fantasy has rightly made his story Twitter cannon fodder. Enjoy!


Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.