Are women celebrities treated like s**t compared to men celebrities by the tabloids?


Today’s NY Times has an article exploring the double standard when it comes to covering the trials and tribulations of famous & infamous women and men. There is a justification for the reasons behind tabloid media monitoring every coffee purchase and psych ward stay of Britney Spears and begging off airing video of Heath Ledger attending a party where there were drugs present:

Some editors confirm that they handle female celebrities differently. But the reason, they say, is rooted not in sexism, but in the demographics of their audience.

The readership of US Weekly, for example, is 70 percent female; for People, it’s more than 90 percent, according to the editors of these magazines.

“Almost no female magazines will put a solo male on the cover,” said Janice Min, the editor in chief of US Weekly. “You just don’t. It’s cover death. Women don’t want to read about men unless it’s through another woman: a marriage, a baby, a breakup.”


To me, a bigger reason why Britney Spears and her issues make her a tabloid media poster girl and actors like Heath Ledger and Owen Wilson are treated with a little more kindness.

It’s family.

When the extent of Owen Wilson’s depression was revealed, his family rushed to his side and formed a brick solid support system to protect him from the harsh media glare. Yes, People did a cover story but the public isn’t being subjected to weekly updates on Owen Wilson’s fight with depression. He’s allowed the space to heal in private and with some semblance of dignity.

And I have a feeling that Entertainment Tonight‘s refusal to air the Heath Ledger tape was probably due to a Ledger family member or representative calling the show’s executive producer and asking for empathy during such a tragic time.

In comparison, Britney Spears’ parents called Dr. Phil McGraw to talk to their troubled daughter. Dr. Phil! I can’t imagine that a TV doctor was the best person for them to call. A TV doctor who immediately decided to devote an episode to Britney Spears in light of his ‘in-depth’ session with her.

Now let’s examine two other women who have been subjected to tabloid infamy– Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.

Again, it goes back to the family.

The Hilton and Lohan families seem to value the spotlight over the emotional health and maturity of their children. Of course, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are grown women but the behavior of their families
during their troubles seem out of touch with the idea of building and maintaining a well adjusted family life.

From the media coverage, I get the feeling that Spears and Lohan were the breadwinners for their families for so long that after a time, seeing them as girls in need of guidance was a completely foreign concept. Where I would see a flesh and blood human being with certain talents, needs and flaws, their families saw dollar signs and more dollar signs. Spears and Lohan have given so much to their families but I wonder what did their families ever give to them?

The Hilton family doesn’t need Paris Hilton to provide their income but she provides something equally valuable in this entertainment crazed culture: celebrity. Granted, Hilton can’t breathy sing and dance as well as Britney or act as well as Lohan (I’m a Mean Girls fan) but she has milked celebrity (even if it’s the pseudo kind) for every last drop it has to offer her no talent having butt. And, to the Hiltons, that’s worth something.

So yeah there is a double standard. Some families see their children as human beings to be loved, nurtured and disciplined (when necessary) and others see their children as bank accounts where they can make constant withdrawals, depositing nothing in return.


4 thoughts on “Are women celebrities treated like s**t compared to men celebrities by the tabloids?

  1. calliope10

    Okay – I’m with you on the Dr. Phil thing. Lynne Spears HAS always seemed WAY too celebrity-minded, but Britney’s father seems to be doing a better job of protecting her lately. I’m not so sure about Owen Wilson, however. I’ve been following his story closely (maybe too closely) and, while it’s true that his family rallied around him after the fact, where were they BEFORE (especially his brothers)? People magazine has a picture of Owen taken on August 8 (about three weeks before his reported attempt) and he looked thin, disheveled and pretty obviously in SOME type of mental distress and under the influence. If you saw a stranger looking like that on the street, I’d bet that you couldn’t help but ask that person “Are you alright?” His brothers didn’t see this? But when things went public, suddenly everyone was there. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that Owen isn’t viewed with dollar signs by those in HIS life as well. Luke is a mediocre actor at best and what is it that the oldest brother Andrew does for a living again? Owen Wilson’s family know how the game is played just as well as Britney, Lindsay and Paris’ families do. They just do it with more class. And never underestimate the power of a good publicist. Owen Wilson’s freakout came while he was still at the top of his game, with quite a few big-budget projects in the works. Owen still has many years of money-making potential before him. Britney and Lindsay – not so much. Owen’s studios are protecting their investment by squashing drug-abuse stories about him and trying to make everyone forget the suicide attempt/cutting incident as soon as possible. There’s a LOT more factors at play here protecting Owen than just Owen’s family. Plus, I don’t discount the “girls vs. boys” aspect of it at all. I believe that’s very true. Celebrity boys get a pass (and sympathy) when they screw-up and successful girls are expected to be virgins AND whores and then to crash-and-burn into drug abuse/mental illness when they can’t reconciliate those conflicting images. BTW – I’m a MUCH bigger Owen Wilson fan than I am a Britney Spears fan, but why is Owen’s mental illness (unipolar depression) any more deserving of privacy and dignity than Britney Spears’ mental illness (bipolar disorder) especially when BOTH of these celebrities’ conditions were most likely made worse by illegal drug use? And let’s not give credit where there is really no credit due… In the same way that Britney is no more responsible for her upbringing and her mother’s behavior, Owen is also not responsible for his parents’ upper-class mien and their grace in dealing with his situation. Rather, Britney and Owen are both adults who DO have the responsibilty to stop self-medicating and to try to get better mentally in order to SELF-protect
    (because, great family or not, NO-ONE can do it for you) their immortal souls, not just their image as money-making celebs…

  2. tallulahbankhead

    hi calliope10….thank you for visiting.

    you bring up excellent points that I agree with.
    people like britney spears, lindsay lohan, owen wilson and (tragically) heath ledger are responsible for their choices.

    I still admire the protective nature exhibited in the Wilson and Ledger cases.

    Something else that comes to mind is wondering if Janice Min, Bonnie Fuller and other tabloid media editors will continue to feel comfortable funding their lives with others’ misery and mistakes.

  3. Rock Star

    but why oh why isn’t britney’s dad making sure she’s wearing panties?! the first time, ok, a slip up, but from then on he should have somebody checking for VPL

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