by Jennifer de la Chevotiere
At one time or another, your eyes have drifted over to the bright array of tabloid magazines at the checkout of the grocery store. Inevitably, these magazines have been speckled with unflattering pictures of female celebrities, topped with biting captions about their appearance.
If you’re anything like me, you probably find these caustic covers obnoxious and unfair. So what if these women didn’t feel the need to spend two hours in the make-up chair to shop at the grocery store, or sport a perfectly flowing up-do at the gym? What’s worse is that even when tabloid magazines are treating women nicely, the focus is all about their ability to maintain beautiful bodies. Luckily, a new trend has been taking the bite out of vamped up celebrity gossip and giving it a serious reality check.
I first came across this trend on Reddit.com under the title: This is My Favourite Thing at the Moment. After checking out the post, several redditors were quick to share their opinions, support, and similar experiences. One contributor wrote: “I used to write for a celeb gossip blog and it eventually wore on me to where I couldn’t do it anymore…I realized that most people who dog on celebrities are just insecure, ignorant, ugly souls who lash out at people that they’ll never meet because it makes them feel good, temporarily. At that point I had to quit – I felt like I was not only NOT contributing to society but helping tear it down”.
This redditor sums up the reason behind the titles. It is meant for cheap titillation and to bring idealized women back down to earth. The issue is that these women did nothing to warrant being publicly shamed for their everyday behaviours. I do disagree with them on one point, the people who lash out at celebrities aren’t ugly souls, it’s all of us. Everyone has taken out their insecurities on public figures, even if only in their heads, because they are visible targets. Becoming aware of this tenancy and our role in it is the first step to making a conscious decision to keep it from becoming an acceptable norm.
Another redditor quipped: “and then society makes fun of women for feeling insecure about their bodies”. Unfortunately, media attention for women seems to focus on the quality of their bodies rather than their accomplishments. This is why the first picture of Amy Adams has become my absolute favourite headline swap. A ridiculous comment about her lack of glamour while completing menial tasks is replaced with a solid, impressive accomplishment.
Since the post on reddit, this fad has popped up on several websites including Upworthy.com and has been discussed on countless blogs, but it can be traced back to the hilarious people at Vagenda Magazine. Vagenda is an online magazine dedicated to taking a sardonic look at what passes for women’s press. Something about their humorous, light-hearted approach to feminism has clearly resonated with the men and women of cyberspace. It’s a great example of the power of humour. It is disarming, accessible, and a great way to get people talking about subjects and perspectives they may not have considered.
We may be far from winning the war on how women are portrayed in the media, but this type of thing might be exactly what we need at the end of a long battle. It is easy to become frustrated and begin to feel ashamed and hurt by all of the negative attention. So for now, let’s sit back, relax, and have a good hearty chuckle about how ridiculous it is.