(The views expressed by our guest columnists are not necessarily those of the Celebrity Baby Blog.)
I thought for a while about not writing this post. It involves Britney Spears and for a gazillion reasons I don’t want to be yet another writer/reporter/blogger/person writing about her and her endless issues. It also makes some pretty big generalizations based on a few data points and that’s not my favorite type of post. But I just couldn’t make it go away, I kept thinking about it, and so here goes.
This weekend I was browsing through The New York Times online (the only way I get to catch up on reading the paper these days, during nap time, while taking a 10-minute break from work) and came across an article titled Boys Will Be Boys, Girls Will Be Hounded By The Media. It’s main point is the fact that the press seems to be much harsher and tougher on women celebrities than on men. (E.g. When Kiefer Sutherland got released from jail, most media outlets ignored the event, but a pandemic of coverage erupted when Paris Hilton returned to complete her jail sentence.)
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I’m not what you’d call a celebrity junkie (OK, I read through US Weekly when I am stuck at an airport), so I was ready to move on to the next article when I read this:
IfBritney weren’t a mother, this story wouldn’t be getting a fraction ofattention it’s getting… The fact that the custody of her children isat stake is the fuel of this narrative. If she were a single woman,bombing around in her car with paparazzi following, it wouldn’t be thesame.
I agree. When I saw footage of Britney riding around in a car withher son on her lap I couldn’t believe it and when I see coverage of herdemise I usually think about her poor kids and how it’s affecting them.And since the majority of celebrity magazine readers are women and manyof them moms, it makes sense that her story keeps getting coverage –it causes reactions and reactions sell copies
But — and hereit is the big generalization I warned about — I think one of thereasons Britney’s being a mom is fueling the media coverage is becausewe (and by this I mean, we, people, Americans) tend to be more criticalof moms in general. I remembered a studyI read a while back about Americans being more critical of the job momsare doing today compared to a generation ago than dads, as compared tothe previous generation of fathers. (You can read more about it andsome Work It, Mom! member comments here.) Mommy wars get a ton more coverage than daddy wars. Heck, even my own mom is a lot more critical of me now that I am a mom (but we’ll leave that for another blog post.)
Part of me thinks our society has the right to be more critical ofmoms because we have one of the most incredible responsibilities I knowof — raising children. But c’mon, the 1950s are done with and manyfathers are as involved, if not more, in raising kids and impactingtheir future. So shouldn’t we see more critical stories about celebritydads who aren’t doing their jobs? And maybe even more importantly,don’t moms have enough to deal with without more pressure and scrutiny?
I feel a bit like a fish out of water writing a post aboutcelebrities, so sound off with your thoughts in the comments and don’tleave me contemplating here alone.
Do you feel we’re more critical of moms than dads? Women than men? Why?
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