There are three women in the top 10 of the Forbes Celebrity 100 List: Lady Gaga (1), Oprah (2), and Taylor Swift (7). Gaga may not have as much money as Oprah, but the magazine took influence and power into consideration. When it comes to web and social media rankings, as well as press coverage, Gaga wins. And yeah, Gaga also earned a whopping $90 million dollars last year. It's worth noting that Gaga, Oprah and Taylor Swift are different from many of the men on the list — and not just because they're female.
While Simon Cowell (9), LeBron James (10) and Tiger Woods (6) have occupations that pay well, for them, the job is a job. It's not about their private lives and personal choices. But with Gaga, Oprah and Taylor, what they're selling is so much more. A point of view, a cult of personality. You don't just buy the song or watch the show, you buy into the life. For these women, there is very little difference between work life and personal life. What Oprah personally likes — her favorite things — become part of her show. Taylor Swift's private relationships turn into public album lyrics. Gaga sings that it doesn't matter if you're gay, straight, bi or transgendered while working to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. Basically, for these women, they are the product. They are the work. It's not just a job. The work is their body, their soul. They're selling their souls. And fans — eager for personal connections, for morsels of the mystique, for the sense of belonging and bonding that stems from this (faux, real or imagined) intimacy — reward this by buying every damn thing the ladies touch/promote/offer. The question is: Can a woman reach the pinnacle of wealth, influence and power without exposing (and monetizing) the very fiber of her being?