Michael Jackson’s fifteen year old daughter Paris is all over the news at the moment after she called a suicide hotline as a cry for help, and has been spotted with scars on her wrists. She has a troubled life, fame isn’t easy for children particularly when having to deal with the premature death of a parent and the consequent media bitching that not only is it rumoured that he was a pedophile but that he might not be Paris’ biological father.
After being bombarded with news articles leeching off the suffering of this poor child, I couldn’t resist writing this post. I’ve grown more and more disgusted with this kind of low-level ‘news’ as time’s gone on and as a writer hoping to one day have a career in the written media the morals surrounding this kind of thing have always interested me.
Mindless celebrity gossip is not news, it’s an invasion of privacy. The way the media leeches off their embarrassing stories or publicises their insecurities is low and pathetic. I’ve seen first hand paparazzi waiting in a huddle in the mud for hours with their cameras to catch a glimpse and take a photo of a celeb in the very very brief moment that they walk past. It’s almost embarrassing to think that these people will just stand there for ages for one damn photograph of someone who, shock horror; is a human being like you and me and probably doesn’t want cameras in their face 24-7.
Another thing I’ve noticed whilst perusing various, what most call low-brow news sites like the Daily Mail is the degradation and sexism. Now I’m far from being feminist but something about constant articles that treat women like pieces of meat that really riles me. Articles about celebs at Cannes having wardrobe malfunctions and showing off their ‘lady bits’, or a recent one that I saw on the DM ‘Bust a move! Kate Upton risks disaster with her ample cleavage as she jumps up and down on The Other Woman film set’ There’s something really seedy and disgusting about the whole thing, and ultimately very sexist. I feel exactly the same way about articles that talk about men as if they’re pieces of meat, like the recent double page spread in the Daily Express that showed a bunch of male celebs in little swimming shorts and discussed whether their completely bare chests are attractive or not. The act of treating a person or people, be them male or female, as if they have no feelings and no humanity and are simply items there for us to lust over is sexist and degrading and it angers me when all this is in the tabloids as if it’s news.
Another recent story really got my back up; bikinis have been banned from the latest ‘Miss World’ competition so as not to offend muslims in the country where it will take place, instead they will be wearing sarongs and less revealing beach outfits. It wasn’t the debate over whether or not they should be allowed to wear bikinis, it was several reasons including a) the fact that the women involved in the competition had no say in the matter and just have to wear what they’re told, b) the fact that they were discussed as if they were simply just pieces of meat with no personality, they might as well have just been mannequins and c) all the letches commenting in the comments section of the articles about how they’ll lose viewing figures and blah blah blah just because they can’t look at a bunch of women in bikinis. That’s not what the show is for, for a start, and also there are plenty of other places on the web or in real life (uh…the swimming pool or the beach!) for that kind of letchery. People aren’t just pieces of meat to be used for our enjoyment and it winds me up! The kind of behaviour seen over the internet and in tabloids would be considered sexual misconduct or harassment if it happened in public and not only that but it has a damaging effect on how we all view the opposite sex.
In reality, I’m very liberal. It’s never bothered me if men make comments about me, and it hasn’t bothered me when people have slapped my bum while I’ve been out. It’s all harmless fun, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t just a bit flattering too. But there’s a difference between what’s acceptable in real life and what’s acceptable to broadcast to a wide audience and a lot of women would be offended and insulted by that kind of behaviour if it happened to them, and these articles about so and so’s cleavage or such and such’s wardrobe malfunction that showed off her ‘lady bits’ are probably equivalent to quite a lot more than just a slap on the ass while out in the street. While I’ve no problem at all with people being open about what they find attractive, nor do I care if people lust over pictures in the news or even real people in the street (because that’s just human nature) I wouldn’t be seen dead with someone with that little respect.
So the story about Paris Jackson is the main one irritating me at the moment, and as someone who recalls vividly being depressed and even self harming as a teenager I can honestly say that this kind of media attention is not positive. She’s just fifteen, and already because of the celebrity lifestyle and her slightly odd upbringing she looks and acts much older than she is and clearly, that’s taking it’s toll. Children aren’t built to deal with such adult issues and she’s got a massive burden on her shoulders. I think it’s high time these media leeches left her well alone and stopped feeding off her misery for the sake of viewing figures and money and actually respected the fact that she’s a child that desperately needs help. Broadcasting her issues means she can’t escape it, and there’s no chance she can get the help she needs quietly without having to deal with paparazzi or nosy leeches intent on covering every inch of her story, which does not help the poor girl at all! Get a grip media, you’re disgusting.