Bad Girls

So I'm reading this story about Johnny Depp sending "his" hat, as promised back in April, to a little boy he met while filming his upcoming movie, Public Enemies, in the kid's hometown (yay, Johnny Depp!), and what starts out as a nice story about a celebrity doing something pretty damn cool immediately disintegrates into a piece scolding all those celebrities who are deplorable nogoodniks!

See if you spot anything these horrible people have in common.
"For [Depp] to do something for an ordinary child is really something," his mother, Kris Brand said. "You hear who is doing drugs, who is sleeping with who, but you never hear a celeb saying 'of course' to an ordinary kid. We don't need to hear about Paris Hilton not wearing clothes, we need to hear about Depp doing something for a kid for no reason."

But, it's the negative headlines about celebrities that dominate the media: Amy Winehouse in a drug-abusing video, Britney Spears showing up at a nightclub without underwear, Paris Hilton getting arrested for a DUI.

Two weeks ago, the New York Daily News reported that Nicole Richie was dancing with Mary-Kate Olsen at the Crown Bar in Los Angeles, when she saw a fan snap a photo, grabbed the woman's camera and deleted the photos of herself.

Before that, Lindsay Lohan was in the news for allegedly stealing a $12,000 fur coat from a college student at a private New York City party. The co-ed has filed a lawsuit against her.
Stupid girls. It's a good thing that no famous young men would ever do anything to give celebrity a bad name.

Look, I'm not going to argue that the young women mentioned above—and the ones not mentioned whose names and faces we all know, whether we want to or not—don't court attention to some extent, but I will argue that none of us has any idea what it's like to grow up inevitably defining your self-worth by the amount of public attention you're getting, and how that fucks with one's head. I've got no idea what it must be like to feel equal parts exhilarated and scared when the paparazzi hounds you and equal parts relieved and lost when they don't, how that must compel people to seek out public attention even when it's the last thing they need, because it's all they feel like they've got.

I'm also reminded of Andy Millman's great monologue at the end of Extras: "You open the paper, and you see a picture of Lindsay Lohan getting out of a car, and the headline is: 'Cover up, Lindsay—we can see your knickers.' Of course you can see her knickers! Your photographer is lying in the road pointing the camera up her dress to see her knickers. You're literally the gutter press."

The whole thing is fucking tragic—and I'm increasingly disturbed not only by how often this is now presented as a uniquely female phenomenon, but how young famous women are being pigeon-holed into extremes more than ever before in my lifetime, whores and saints. I'm also completely grossed out by the fact that nothing can so quickly turn the latter into the former in the press as a baby bump. Be sexy, be out there, be independent, be wild, show your knickers!—until we trash you to fuck for it, then rehabilitate your image by becoming a mother, like all women are meant to do.

Anyone else see a problem with this picture?

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus