By Emma Kidger
After the New York Times Presents released the unexpected documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” more Hollywood stars and celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton continue to call out issues with entertainment media and advocate for change within hollywood. While focusing on Britney Spears conservatorship, the documentary spotlights the greater impact that the paparazzi and television hosts have on big stars. The question around whether the media in Hollywood ultimately leads to downfalls and breakdowns of careers has been on the back burner for decades. Time after time we see how the entertainment media, from paparazzi to television interviews, are ultimately the villains of Hollywood.
The entertainment industry, as a whole, has been set up to make money off the faults and flaws of celebrities. As this idea of finding “what’s wrong” with celebrities in the public eye has been normalized and therefore made more popular, the competition amongst photographers and paparazzi for the best shot of the worst situations couldn’t be higher. In the “Framing Britney Spears”, the audience watches a team of paparazzi trying to take pictures of Spears as she is going through the emotional turmoil of losing custody of her sons to her ex-husband. While driving through a gas station, a photographer heartlessly asks her if she’s OK and claims “we are just concerned about you.” Without even trying to empathize with her pain, the photographers are more focused on the photos they could potentially give to big name magazines. This, of course, is not the first nor the last time this will happen as the public increasingly becomes more focused on the news they receive in magazines with exaggerated drama, rather than thinking of how these pictures were taken.
Not only do photographers pose as a threat in the entertainment industry, but also television hosts have been even worse. David Letterman and Diane Sawyer, for example, have been huge perpetrators of the sexualization and nitpicking of female celebrities. Again, the systematic issues, like sexism, continue to expand into the entertainment industry and normalized to the point where interviews are more like interrogations. Singer/songwriter Taylor Swift recently has pointed out these flaws in Hollywood, as she has been a target of sexism when it comes to her music. In a 2015 Grammy interview, Nancy O’Dell first asks to pan down Swift’s outfit claiming she just wanted to “ show the legs because… you’re [Swift] gonna walk home with more than maybe just a trophy tonight, I think lots of men.” Blatant sexism and disrespect towards women is praised as such TV hosts blast such mockery on national TV to millions of viewers and fans.
All in all, paparazzi and many television hosts continue to normalize catching celebrities at their lowest and exaggerate their stories in order for their industry to grow, disregarding the systematic sexism that exists. These aspects of the entertainment industry are consistently the biggest threat in Hollywood. While we sit and read People’s magazine or watch penalizing T.V. interviews, we need to consistently recognize and advocate for the fact that these glorified occurrences are dehumanizing and abusive.