We Spleen: Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner

Last week at the Aspen Ideas Festival, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner said that women who are beautiful and funny are almost impossible to find.

While speaking on stage with Goldie Hawn, Eisner graced the audience with his theory on why Hawn’s Hollywood career had been so successful:

“From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman,” he said. “By far. They usually—boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online—but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny.”

What does “unbelievably beautiful” even mean anyway? Is it a mythical quality? Can you only find one who bears this essence in Narnia? Venus? Pandora? Is it a unicorn? A Nargle? I really, truly, do not understand.

And what I understand less is how in the world we can still have a “serious” conversation about women in which we both question their essential humor and unwaveringly attach their worth to their outward appearance.

According to The Atlantic, Hawn said that her sense of humor may be due to growing up as an “ugly duckling,” to which Eisner tactfully responded, “You didn’t think you were beautiful.”

I don’t even want to use the words “beautiful” or “attractive” because I don’t want to give any credence to the idea that we can still determine a woman’s value based on her appearance. So instead, I’m going to rattle off a list of names, names with which you may associate whatever you like, but with which I associate brains, innovative, tear-inducing humor and untouchable Hollywood careers: Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Sarah Silverman, Cecily Strong, Wanda Sykes, Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Kristen Wiig, Margaret Cho, Ellen Degeneres, Jessica Williams, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and so, so many more.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Ed Schipul licensed under Creative Commons 2.0




Julia Robins is a Ms. editorial intern and a graduate of William & Mary. Follow Julia on Twitter @julia_robins.