Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Celebrity Ego Alert--Angelina Jolie

Ultimately, it's partially our fault--by purchasing the tabloids and watching entertainment news, we are in fact encouraging our actors to have outrageous egos. They can do it all! Our fascination with celebrity has trickled down (or up) to legitimate news sources, such as the Times. I have noticed a disturbing trend towards our top news sources offering less news and more fluff.

The NY Times has an article today on the 'amazing' Angelina Jolie. The article marvels on how she manages her 6 children. Six is a lot (more a soccer team than a family?), but even I could handle that many if I had unlimited funds, completely flexible schedule, and nannies/maids/chauffeurs/Brad Pitt.
At 33 she occupies a rare place within Hollywood’s uppermost tier of female stars...There’s also the humanitarian activist who has served as a United Nations good-will ambassador and is now a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. And there’s her role as half of Brangelina, an unincorporated business that remains the celebrity magazine industry’s best bet for surviving the economic crisis.
She has that good-will ambassadorship because she is a beautiful celebrity--NOT because she is qualified. There is an important distinction. She's no Boutros Boutros Ghali--that's for damn sure!
A dark period, when Ms. Jolie was cast as the man eater who broke up Mr. Pitt’s marriage to Jennifer Aniston during the production of the 2005 caper "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," is behind her.
She was not 'cast' as a man eater--she was in fact a home wrecker. There was no role or play-acting there. She destroyed a marriage. I have no sympathy for this. The soft wording in the Times article enraged me.
Recently she and Mr. Pitt auctioned off pictures of themselves with their newborn twins to People and Hello! magazines, raising an astonishing $14 million for their charity, the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
Does is really make it better that she exploits her children for good causes? Personally, I think that there is no excuse for this.

I think that idol worship is stupid, but aren't there any better role models out there? Real women (part of Palin's real America, I imagine) struggle everyday to make a living, support their families, and survive.

Jolie is a fraud. She's not a mother, but rather a marketing ploy. Well done advertisers. We bought the magazine, but we don't buy that she's the real thing.


Moriath said...

I agree that our celebrity worship gets out of hand sometimes, but can we please not blithely call her a "home wrecker"? She wasn't the one married at the time - Brad Pitt was. Brad Pitt made the choice to leave his wife for another woman. Angelina Jolie may not be blameless, but she's also not the sole responsible party (and I think Brad Pitt holds a lot more responsibility than she does)

Reluctant Feminazi said...

I've been enjoying your blog but this post is not in keeping with your other posts. This holier than thou attitude is not attractive.

"She was not 'cast' as a man eater--she was in fact a home wrecker. There was no role or play-acting there. She destroyed a marriage."

You blame her for the break-up of the marriage? Not Brad Pitt? You know, the one who took the vow to be faithful? Neither you nor I knows exactly what went on there, but I find it odd that the feminist would blame the "other woman" (or even assume she was the other woman) and not the husband for ending his marriage. As if her evil feminine charms overpowered him and it was beyond his control. Isn't this attitude exactly what we are trying to overcome? Isn't this the reasoning given for shrouding women in a burka so as not to tempt men? Come on. This is just yucky.

Does is really make it better that she exploits her children for good causes?

Yes. It does. Their children live under the constant bulb of the paparazzi. The very fact that they are offspring of the most famous couple in the world means exploitation. Why not turn that inevitable appearance on the page of the gossip rags (that you support) into a good thing?

Not-So-Normal-Mom said...

Hmmm. I really don't know what to say, but at the ame time, felt the need to say something. I agree with both of the previous posts.

He was the one married, and really, we don't know what went on there. We only know what we read in the mags. I find it hilarious that you are denouncing the rags that we read to get our daily dose of entertainment news, but use that same method to garner information on the Pitt-Aniston break-up. Or am I wrong, and you are a close family confidant?

I don't have a problem with celebrity worship, but I do find what she's doing admirable. Yes, she's beautiful, and yes, that may have been what got her foot in the door, but the result has been that a lot of money has been raised for those in need around the world.

Your post came off making you sound much more like a "hater" and less like a feminist. It sounds like another woman-bashing-another-woman tirade that we women should be ashamed of.

Habladora said...

I'd have to agree that the term 'home wrecker' doesn't sit well with me - why do we tend to put more blame on women than the men who choose to cheat? I don't think I've ever heard a man referred to as a 'home wrecker.' It seems a double standard.

As far as faulting Jolie for the media attention she gets - I don't think I can join in. In positions like hers, the attention is already guaranteed and it falls to her (and her publicist) to try to steer the stories. To do so by trying to focus the attention on the aid work that she does seems like as good a choice as a star would have - but I don't know enough about her to know if the work she does is valuable and respectful or mere stunt - as the post implies. If it is real charity work, I'd hate to see it diminished just because the actress is attractive or because of some detail about her sexual history.

Smirking Cat said...

Brad Pitt most definitely deserves the brunt of the responsibility and blame if he chose to begin a relationship with Jolie while still married. But it isn't exactly feminist to pursue or accept another woman's husband, either.

Kris-Stella said...

I do agree with the previous comments - this post is surprisingly out of style on this usually so balanced blog.

I agree with the points other commenters made on 'marriage-wrecking', but I also think some of the other accusations are not particularly well supported. Is selling photos of your children really "child exploitation"? I wouldn't necessarily agree with that.

Also, how can you assert so confidently that she is not qualified to be a goodwill ambassador? That assertion is, well, just an assertion... surely it is not impossible for her to be a qualified goodwill ambassador simply because she is beautiful and rich? Or because the gossip magazines pay attention to her?

And finally, stating that "she is not a mother" is just plainly over the top =(

Soma said...

I'll be the odd one out and say that I more-or-less agree with this post, sans the invocation of "home wrecker." As far as blame goes, the fact is that both she and Brad Pitt were full-grown adults who knew perfectly well what they were doing, and each of them bears the full extent of blame for breaking up his marriage. But the point is that the NY Times is rhetorically implying that she was "cast" into this role (as opposed to it being something she actually did)--the purpose being, now that it's become favorable to praise her, to trivialize and white-wash the time they and other papers and magazines spent denigrating and slut-bashing the same person back when it was more favorable to do that.

And no, I don't buy her or her husband as humanitarians or ideal parents. The money they give to charities is pocket change considering what they make, and though they cast themselves as figureheads the only so-called charity work that they themselves actually do boils down to parading around for the cameras in front of a third-world backdrop. There are plenty of people who are far more directly involved in good causes than they are, but who we never hear about because they aren't conventionally attractive. Especially for Jolie, any real accomplishments she might have will always take a backseat to the fact that she is attractive (or, you know, allegedly she is), which does nothing but perpetuate the message that women don't really matter unless they're pretty.

SMH said...

SO she and she alone was responsible for the break up of the Pitt Aniston marriage i.e. a home wrecker?! Why is she held soley responsible for the actions of two adults.Unfair - there were two parties to that and each bears responsibility for the choices made Feminism at it's root is supposed to be about equality in terms of access, opportunity, shared responsibility and authentic accountability and equitable appropriation of benefits and burdens. It took two to tango.Her kids by virtue of her status will be and are exploited by the media and others as will she. Consider this organizations seeking to raise funds and awareness are seeking her involvement because of her charisma and appeal to further their cause - so she chose to exploit the inevitable exploitation and do some good in both cases. Intelligent use of an existing situation. Based on her choices she is clearly aware of the exploitation and sees it for what it is - she is not lying to herself or the publc and saying it is because of anything other than her fame and access. She sees it for what it is and says why not work with it to do some good. Agree or disagree - fact is this honest self assessment and expression of the situation and her role is respectable. She is not lying to herself or others - but rather moving forward to her goals. This is a far cry from other women who are being exploited for their gender and looks and have drunk the Kool Aid of 'you are qualified' even when clearly that is not the case and they are in over their head.