Posts Tagged ‘Anna Nicole Smith’
In Alex Williams’ Sunday New York Times article “Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Will Be Hounded” she asks, “Is there a double standard for stars who behave badly?”
Williams goes on to compare the inequities in the coverage of male and female celebrities’ tribulations. Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Amy Winehouse, Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton, each emotionally impaired in a different way, have had their woes resolutely plastered on every one of our entertainment shows and magazines. On the other hand, stories on Heath Ledger, Owen Wilson, Robert Downey Jr., and Kiefer Sutherland are far fewer and have shown more restraint and respect. On this dynamic Williams and the editors of US Weekly, People, the producers of Entertainment Tonight, as well as the two publicists for Madonna and Ben Affleck all agree.
The article includes a quote from Beverly Hills psychotherapist Rebecca Roy to explain part of what fuels this engine.
“…troubled male stars, like Robert Downey Jr. are encouraged to move past problems to a second act in their careers, while the personal battles of women like Lindsay Lohan or the late Anna Nicole Smith are often played for maximum entertainment value. With men, there’s an emphasis on, ‘he had this issue, but he’s getting over it…but with women, it’s almost like they keep at it, keep at it.”
While I was reading this, I realized I was jarred by the contiguousness of two images in my mind. I would never have put Hillary Clinton and Britney Spears together. Yet there they were.
Two adult women responsible for their own decisions, with each of them paying a price as the entire nation looks on, yes. But also two adult women in the public eye personally scrutinized beyond the point of reason…scrutinized in a way a man never would be. Two women commanding television, newspapers and magazines with questions of whether their tears were real, or appropriate, or effective in holding their fan base. Two women critiqued for the sound of their voices and their hair styles. One beleaguered by mental illness, the other by the tense task of integration, and both apparently slogged down by the mere ownership of estrogen.
We love to pick apart women until there’s nothing of substance to be seen. We’re all guilty of it and we do it consciously and unconsciously. It’s not just the likes of Glenn Beck and Chris Matthews and their male demographic. Guess which gender subsidizes this by representing 70% of the readership of US Weekly, and 90% of People?
The double standards in our society make it hard for us to have an unobstructed view of what’s been involved in Spears’ efforts to be well, or Clinton’s effort to become the first female president.