In lashing out against Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, the actress is punching down instead of taking a stand.
When it comes to dealing with critique of just about any kind, celebrities have apparently had it this week. First, Lizzo lashed out against a recent review of her album, posting to Twitter that only musicians should be allowed to write music criticism, followed by Ariana Grande, who tweeted-and-deleted a screed decrying “bloggers,” writing about “how unfulfilled they are and purposeless what they’re doing is.” (Yikes, Ariana, what did we ever do to you?)
Now, Olivia Munn is throwing her hat in the ring, issuing a long, rambling essay against The Fug Girls, a.k.a. Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, the duo behind the cult favorite website Go Fug Yourself. Munn apparently takes issue with their criticism of her red carpet style, specifically a look she wore to the Apex for Youth Awards.
It’s curious that Munn chose to target Morgan and Cocks to begin with, considering just how many people are out there specializing in fashion criticism, including other blogs like Tom and Lorenzo, as well as print publications like US Weekly and televised shows like the now-defunct E! “Fashion Police.” Going after two women would certainly seem to be part of the point for Munn, who argues that their critiques of her style are somehow anti-feminist, implying that blogs like Go Fug Yourself need to “acknowledge the part they’ve played in the suppression of women,” and that “just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you’re not a part of the problem.”
Munn also throws a healthy amount of shade at Morgan and Cocks, writing that they are not “legitimate critics,” and saying that what they write is “neither good or beautiful.” (Perhaps Munn should pick up a copy of The Fug Girls’s excellent novel The Royal We?) As she doesn’t list the qualifications for what makes a legitimate critic, it’s unclear what in particular makes The Fug Girls an exception. Morgan and Cocks have been writing at Go Fug Yourself since the early aughts, which means they have spent more than a decade following the fashion industry, red carpets and the intersection between style and culture, making them more than qualified to report on celebrities’ choices.
Like Grande before her, Munn takes issue with the fact that Morgan and Cocks “continue to make money off of this” — “this” being their, you know, job. There’s something particularly grating about a celebrity who can rake in tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands, or even millions — per job getting angry that someone can eke out a living writing about what they wear.
We love to applaud celebrities for “clapping back” at their “haters,” but so often in these cases, it’s punching down. Here, Olivia Munn is betting that her 825k+ followers will fight back against The Fug Girls’ more modest 110k+ following, even including a photo of the two. While Munn is not wrong that they, too, are public figures, and that they’ve “chosen their opponent” (which is wildly aggressive verbiage for something like this), they certainly lack her level of profile or the profile of someone like the late Joan Rivers, who was basically the patron saint of red carpet critique.
It becomes clear that Munn has never read Go Fug Yourself, or perhaps any other red carpet recaps for that matter, claiming that “it focuses mainly on women and not men, which ultimately contributes to the perpetual minimization of women and propagates the idea that our worth is predominately (or singularly) tied to our looks.” The Fug Girls go to great lengths to spread their red carpet coverage across both genders and avoid any discussion of body or appearances beyond the clothes — and they’re not alone in this. Much of today’s red carpet criticism remains focused around the clothes; the era of the “mean girls” critic largely ended with the passing of Rivers.
But beyond all of that, Munn seems to want to have her cake and eat it, too. Forbidding reporters from asking about designers or snapping at critics who aren’t glowing about your clothes under the guise of feminism pretends that style is somehow frivolous, when — like it or not — red carpet has become a large part of both the celebrity and fashion business. Munn employs a stylist — Jessica Paster — and borrows clothes to appear at events on red carpets. It’s possible that, like other celebrities, Munn even occasionally collects a paycheck to wear certain labels. If Munn believes that the red carpet culture is somehow oppressing women or is detrimental to feminism, she is certainly more than welcome to fire her stylist and buy her own clothes for her events. That would make more of a statement than this rant ever could.
In taking on income inequality in Hollywood or standing up against a sex offender on her set, Olivia Munn has stood up for issues that really matter. Picking on two fashion bloggers because they didn’t like your outfit isn’t one of them.