Adage of Celebrity

Just before Christmas I published a post about a local magazine’s piece on modern mum’s. My writing was based on celebrity mums not being a clear gauge on how a working mum really copes with the demands of modern life.

That blog caused the Editor of said magazine to respond quite passionately. After some harassment I was compelled to pull the blog from my website. Despite this I still think the discussion around how the media use celebrity is still valid.

Last year for The Punch I wrote the only time the media talks about mental illness is when a celebrity speaks out about it.  While this raises attention around depression it leaves other members of our community to live in shame of the more severe illnesses they are experiencing.

By constantly relying on celebrities to share their own insights we create a sense that life events are only valid if they happen to someone famous. We are always hearing about their heartbreak, their medical scares, their loves, their hates. It is as though what goes on in our world is insignificant compared to what they may be experiencing.

Of course it is easy to say these articles are really only a lighthearted read yet I am one reader who is becoming tired of this argument. Not only did my blog object to that, it was also a response to what I call the Wonder Woman Syndrome. The impact of the “we can have it all, we can do it all” rationale.

Recent studies in both the United States and Europe have revealed that this mentality is contributing to an increase in depression in workingwomen. I would like to go further and say it is not something created in isolation.

It is a mix of working part time hours but trying to fulfill the needs of a full time job. Where after spending half our week at work, we spend the other half in domestic duties and childcare. All the while being told by women’s magazines to find time for beauty treatments, exercise, relaxing and of course at the end of it all become amazing lovers in the bedroom.

This week I saw on Mammia a trailer for a documentary called Miss Representation. As I scrolled through the comments attached to it I saw a lot of women frustrated at how they are being represented in the media. They were making choices not to purchase magazines that distorted their view of reality.

Yet what are they to do when bombarded with advertising images on tv, billboards and on radio of unrealistic images and expectations?

Last year on Q&A Germaine Greer said she never claimed “we could have it all”, she said we had choices. We can choose not to read these magazines and we can choose to speak out against them too.

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