The Description of Angelina Jolie in This Story Is Sexist and Embarrassing

It's an important and wide-ranging interview that's undercut by how the writer talks about her looks.

Angelina Jolie
(Image credit: Getty Images/SOPA Images)

Hey, did you guys know that in some lights, the actress named Angelina Jolie can actually look really pretty? Oh yeah, it's true. And according to an interview with her in the Guardian (written by a male author—surprise!), it's the first thing you need to be aware of about her.

In the interview itself, Jolie talks about her decades of humanitarian work, her high-profile divorce from Brad Pitt, and the concerns she has about her children living under intense public scrutiny. There's also a pretty striking allegation in which Jolie claims that, while they were married, Brad Pitt reportedly approached Harvey Weinstein about distributing one of his movies—even after he allegedly knew about her traumatic experiences with him. (Remember that Angelina Jolie was one of the women who, in 2017, came forward to openly discuss her terrifying encounters with Weinstein, who is now in prison after being convicted on sexual assault and rape charges.)

But enough about that substantive information about her as a person, because her lips? Yow! And also, *checks notes* her posture? Awooga!

Here's the first paragraph of the story:

Angelina Jolie sits at a desk, back straight as a rule and rather regal. Her features are cartoonishly beautiful – straight black hair, vertiginous cheekbones, huge blue eyes and lips like a plumped red sofa. She is talking on Zoom to four young activists. It is a horribly apt day to be discussing human rights – the Taliban has just captured Ghazni city on its approach to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

OK, who had "vertiginous cheekbones," "lips like a sofa" and "Taliban captures Ghazni" on their First Paragraph Bingo Card? Wow, you win! Someone has clearly been reading every 1990s magazine writer description of a woman!

Obviously, the internet had some fun poking at the obliviousness of this lede:

And yes, we should totally make fun of men who still insist on describing women like they're literal objects that can be purchased at Raymour and Flanagan. But it remains really disheartening that someone as accomplished as Jolie can't even speak her truth without the story starting out with some creepy, Wattpad prose about her delish bod. Like, this woman has been through enough! Let's roll that tongue back into your head, Male Writer, before you file your draft to the editor! Ugh, men. Let's just...let's just don't.

Cady Drell

Cady Drell is a writer, editor, researcher and pet enthusiast from Brooklyn.