January 15, 2005

Celebrity Gossip and Baby-Blogging

In the New York Times today, Gina Bellafante discovers some gender moralizing extant in all the coverage of the Jen Anniston/Brad Pitt breakup saga. ("All Brad wanted to do was settle down, have some children, do some charity work, but ol' Jen was too focused on her career. Bitch.") Intriguing stuff.

Meanwhile, David Brooks notes that 14 percent of women over the age of 40 regret that they have no kids, and therefore should be encouraged to choose a less-prestigious career in order to have more kids. Creepy. (Brooks tries to tie all this in, subtly, to Social Security privatization, even though private accounts will only induce more women to abandon the hearth and enter the workplace -- since there will be a greater premium on working and saving early on in life.) Oh, here's more wisdom from Brooks: Did you know that women don't acquire "the maturity and character to make intelligent career choices" until their "mid-30s"?

Anyways, back to Jenn and Brad! I've never understood why all the celebrity gossip out there doesn't receive more feminist scrutiny. Or maybe it does and I haven't noticed. But at least in the cultural studies sphere I'm familiar with, academic feminists spend a lot of time unpacking the sexist/heterosexist/etc. order perpetuated by movies, TV, books, etc. And yet all these magazines that chronicle the private lives of celebrities seem far, far more influential. For example, Maureen Dowd wonders what ever happened to the days of "snap and crackle of romance between equals," as seen in the old Audrey Hepburn-Spencer Tracey films. But in this day and age, the ugly and stormy real life romance between Hepburn and Tracey would have garnered more attention, and acted as more of a cultural role model than the movies ever did. Hey, at least that's the impression I got when I came down the elevator last Wednesday and all the IT people from the office upstairs were chatting about the big breakup (for what it's worth, they all think George Clooney is going to move in on Anniston).
-- Brad Plumer 4:54 PM || ||