Celebrity girls gone wild Do We Unfairly Demonize Celebrity Girls Gone Wild? Do We Unfairly Demonize Celebrity Girls Gone Wild?

Celebrity girls gone wild
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Virginia Heffernan had a piece in the New York Times Sunday Magazine yestserday that is one of the most nonsensical and tortured pieces I’ve ever read. It makes me wish that the Times would embrace death at a faster pace and put us out of our misery. I’m surprised, because Heffernan is a very smart and accomplished writer.


 Demonize Fun-Loving Women
In Party and Punishment: How We Demonize Fun-Loving Women, Heffernan tries to shame us into not shaming Lindsay Lohan. She begins by invoking Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. He’s the man femisogynists love to hate. Pinsky told a celebrity gossip site last April that if Lindsay Lohan was his daughter, he would offer very tough love:

If Lohan were my daughter, I would pack her car full with illegal substances, send her on her way, call the police and make sure she was arrested. I would make sure she was not allowed to get out of jail. I would then go to the judge and make sure she was ordered to a minimum of a three-year sobriety program.


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 Making villains of women
Heffernan responds, “It’s not clear whether a Pinskian frame-up ever took place,” suggesting that Lindsay Lohan is the victim of entrapment by no-fun busybodies, rather than her own choices. In the six months since Pinsky offered his rather draconian prescription, Lohan has been in jail twice:

  • She spent two weeks of a 90-day sentence for skipping alcohol-education classes that were mandated after arrests for drunk driving and drug possession in 2007.
  • She went to court ordered rehab, but failed a drug test shortly afterwards.
  • She returned to jail, and was released on bail.

    In late September, she checked into the Betty Ford Center for cocaine addiction. Does Heffernan express disgust, disapproval or even pity at these antics? Of course not.

    Right after 9/11, Muslim regimes were depicted as tyrannical in part because they demonized Western fun-loving culture in the name of a misogynistic ideology. Slowly but surely we’ve been doing the same thing with our most visible good-time girls, making villains of women who are dangers almost exclusively to themselves.

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     Under pressure
    There is a great deal wrong with this claim:
    1. The gratuitous introduction of Muslim regimes is a cheap shot, probably inspired by NPR’s recent firing of Juan Williams. She’s trying to portray Pinsky as a totalitarian male who wants to keep women down, and she’s invoking thoughts of stoning, genital mutilation, etc. in an imflammatory fashion. In fact, Pinsky is equally hard on all addicts, evident on his TV show.

    2. Defining drunk driving and drug addiction as part of “Western fun-loving culture” is preposterous. For starters, I’d wager that there’s very little fun to be had with either activity. Drug addicts are not in pursuit of “fun.” Driving a car while heavily intoxicated can hardly be called “fun.” Way back when Lohan began these habits – that first drink at age 12, that first line of cocaine at 15 – perhaps then fun was the goal. It’s been a very long time since Lindsay Lohan appeared to be having a good time.

    3. Heffernan makes the outrageous claim that Lohan and others of her ilk, e.g. Spears, Hilton, Ritchie, are “dangers almost exclusively to themselves.” I suspect that Mothers Against Drunk Driving might dispute that claim. One might also express concern for the children of good-time girls, and in fact, family court judges have done so. Tragically, many of these female wrecks appear to be the product of a childhood spent acting and performing for the camera, managed by overbearing, narcissistic parents. Is there any quicker route to adult dysfunction than the life of a child star?

    Heffernan goes on to express admiration of Lohan’s mug shots:
    Chin tilted down, eyes cast up, Lohan express glamour – the modern starlet’s answer to grace – under pressure.


     The Final Words
    She chastises the paparazzi and celebrity blogs for publishing these images, and for allowing comments on their sites (That’s what a blog is, duh. Heffernan’s piece online did not allow comments.) She expresses her disapproval of online commenters who feel that “what these women “need,” beyond punishment for any particular violation of the law, is time in prison to grow up and wipe that smug pout – and pumpkin-colored bronzer – off their faces.”

    It’s hard to imagine that she’s taking seriously commenters on Perez Hilton, treating them as if they boast the same credentials as Pinsky. As if enjoying the spectacular falls of the rich and famous is a sport unique to American men.

    After going on to defend Michaele Salahi, the woman who crashed a party at the White House as “a pretty lady who wants to dress up and have fun at fancy parties,” Heffernan states:

    Maybe that’s not very noble. But in itself it’s not against the law. For that matter, alcoholism is not against the law, and neither is sleeping around or lying about how many drinks you’ve had or even seeming very, very skanky. For those who maturely skipped the party phase of life, gaming the guest list is part and parcel of the night-life spirit – and also not in itself a jailable offense.

    By virtue of her cocaine addiction and DUI, we know that Lindsay Lohan broke the law on many occasions. People who make stupid decisions and behave badly find themselves in the public eye, especially when they’re famous. There’s a reason we don’t see photographers trying to capture Reese Witherspoon without panties or Jennifer Garner getting arrested. Personally, I don’t know or care what Lindsay Lohan needs. It’s not my job to decide. But shaming civilized adults for judging her behavior is putting the blame in entirely the wrong place.

    Heffernan concludes:
    If these women are bad examples to our daughters, we who take a hang-’em high attitude to party girls have officially become bad examples to their parents.

    Celebrity exacts a high price from those who achieve it. Few marriages survive, privacy doesn’t exist, paparazzi follow you everywhere. Some people can handle it, some can’t. Those who fail in spectacular fashion will always generate headlines, and provide entertainment for we mere mortals. But they also provide valuable lessons for young people. A life of debauchery and self-indulgence in the unending pursuit of fun is a life wasted and ruined.

    Lindsay Lohan is tragic, but she also provides a teachable moment for our daughters: NOT LIKE THAT.


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    Etabliert: 21-10-2022
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