About a month ago, I posted on the community side of Feministing about my annoyance with Jezebel hating on celebrity women. That was about a couple of instances when Jez writers and commenters all but asserted that certain famous women do not have the same rights to autonomy and personal boundaries as everyone else. To which I say, such rights are fundamental, and no amount of moving conspicuously through public space can forfeit those rights. Basically, Jezebel sucks at applying a feminist perspective to celebrity watching.
Which brings me to the latest example of Jezebel sucking. When I checked the site today, the item at the top of the page was, "Watch Lindsay Lohan Break Down During Her Sentencing."
Um, no. And also, why? I feel like the "Leave Britney Alone" guy here, but he actually had a good point. Celebrities are human beings. In many ways they are very lucky and highly privileged human beings. But it's the "human" part I want to focus on.
To me, one of the core principles of being a feminist is that everybody is equal in terms of a basic level of dignity. That means that every woman, from sex workers to presidential candidates to bloggers to starlets is assumed to be a thinking, feeling person with an inner life and aspirations, a unique perspective informed by life experiences, and reasons for behaving the way that she does. In light of this, there is a minimal level of respect with which everyone should be treated.
The morbid fascination with celebrity downfalls, to the point that one would watch a video of an individual's emotional breakdown, seems to me to be fundamentally at odds with that principle.
I get celebrity watching, and keeping up with celebrity gossip, I do. But an individual's life is not a spectator sport. There's a line. And that video crossed it.