Hatred Of Hollywood Women Reveals An Underlying Misogyny

Illustration for article titled Hatred Of Hollywood Women Reveals An Underlying Misogyny

A marketing study out of England is reporting that the five most-liked celebrities are exclusively male, while the top four out of the five most hated celebrities are female (the one male who is nationally loathed, American Idol judge Simon Cowell, was also voted one of top five best liked). Professor Diane Negra of the University of East Anglia points out that much of this loathing can be blamed on sexism. But the misogyny flung at these females is not always from men — it's often hurled by other women. "[Some women] seem to be incredibly competitive with each other and find it hard to give credit to each other. With male celebrities a lot of men might aspire to be like them or may aspire to be with them," Negra tells BBC.

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Public put-downs, of course, are not just directed at celebrities: Today's Wall Street Journal reports on "body snarking" and the way in which Generation Y uses Facebook and other social networks to critique frenemies' appearances. Lilly Jay, a D.C. 16-year-old, tells the Journal: "When people look weird or bad in pictures, they are often tagged with 'Hahaha'...the unflattering photos can't just be tucked away somewhere. They become the basis for publicly displayed ridicule."

It seems like it's the public part that's most damaging. Look: we've all privately snarked on others' appearances from the privacy of our own homes and our own minds, and I certainly cop to feeling secret glee when someone I hated from high school packed on the pounds in her post-college years. But these are private, shameful thoughts, and the public airing of such trash is possibly keeping women from breaking the glass ceiling — as the Journal points out, Hillary's appearance has been fair game from day one of her Presidential candidacy. Think of it this way: when we attack other women in the public sphere, we're ultimately only hurting ourselves.

Does This Picture Make You Angry? [BBC]
The Rise Of Bodysnarking [WSJ]
Misogyny I Won't Miss [Washington Post]

Earlier: This Year, Let's Call It Quits On The Nasty Nit-Picking

DISCUSSION

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@Archetype: @boring diatribes: @tscheese:

I don't think SJs are going anywhere anytime soon, because they are easy filler for the editors, and they get decent pageviews. But I agree that the editors need to do a better job of picking images if they want the feature to rise above cattiness against the subject's physical appearance. I also think that this has been a problem with SJs from the beginning, and thinking that it started out as funny without being insulting, is probably just selective memory.

I got a worstie the other day, for saying Jenna Bush's wedding gown was unflattering, which was interpreted as me calling her fat. It was a bitchy offhand comment, which I could have said to a friend and immediately have forgotten. But because it was posted publicly, where it was open to extended scrutiny and misinterpretation, it was put under a microscope (my response to that is here, for what it's worth [jezebel.com]).

It really made me think about how my comment was taken, and I won't be posting such things in the future. But it also exposed to me the very blurry line that the editors are trying to straddle here. Whether you're an editor or a commenter, you can get away with making these types of comments if they're funny. I made a badly-worded comment about how I expect a woman of her money and resources to choose a nicer dress, and I got called out. But if I had made a humorous comment about not liking her dress, no one would have paid it any mind. And that kind of thing really adds to the confusion. The name "Snap Judgement" is basically an invitation to post the first thing that pops into your head, and everyone's reaction is different, and everyone's standard of humor is different. If you should only post if you have a good joke, how will you know if others share your amusement until you've said it.

Anyway, it's all a very shady area, and though I'm making an effort to rise above it (I've never been much of a SJ poster anyway), it's up to the editors as much as the commenters. The fact that so many threads have been derailed by this sort of discussion recently should be a sign that the overall tone of the site (not just the commenter rules) isn't being expressed as clearly as it should be.