BY MIA FREEDMAN
I was sitting in the back of a cab last week with a visitor here from New York, trying to explain the puzzling phenomenon of Delta Goodrem hating. It was difficult. First, I told her about the Tall Poppy Syndrome. “Australians don’t like anyone who is too full of themselves, who grows too tall, who is too successful.”
She looked puzzled by this. Understandably because it sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud. Especially to someone who comes from the land of ‘YOU GO GIRL”.
“But what’s she done wrong? Why don’t these people like her?”
Good question. She’s young. She’s pretty, She’s talented. She’s successful.
In Australia, one of the things that tend to endear female celebrities to us is their vulnerability. Their flaws. Their failures. Whether it’s a weight struggle, a struggle to conceive, heartbreak, illness, wearing no make-up, having a bad hair day…..we don’t like our Aussie girls to be too perfect.
But Delta has that! She had cancer as a teenager at the peak of her fame! She’s had several high profile relationships end badly including her engagement to Brian McFadden last year. So why is she not afforded that special place in our collective hearts? The place where Kylie Minogue has always lived but never moreso than after battling breast cancer.
And what can possibly motivate slamming someone down so viciously? Is it pure jealousy? I think that’s part of it but there’s an added dimension I’m struggling to identify.
Nicole Kidman and Delta are unique in the way they polarise without having actually done anything. And the venom directed towards them by some is startlingly similar.
It’s not like either of them have ever said or done anything to cause great offence (like others who have been the victim of haters, like Yumi Stynes). Or any offence. The best most of the haters can come up with when questioned is that they’re just “annoying”.
So is Delta too nice? Too pretty? Too…..vanilla?
Gee, what a crime.
In an interview with Women’s Day last week Delta responded to critics.
She said: “Anybody who has gone through a life-changing experience will tell you there is a different understanding of what is real and what is important, and when you are going through different moments, you can reflect and go, ‘I have been through worse’,” she said.
“I can’t be all things to everyone. I’m doing the best I can. I’m thankful for my songs being at the top of the charts but I am human – I think people still have to remember that. I’m still human – I can’t not feel. I’m learning. It’s a new chapter. I think that’s all I can do.”
She’s right. How can you fight back against people who take such delight from abusing you for things that are totally out of your control, like being “too perfect” or “boring”? It’s like boxing at shadows. There’s nothing to defend.
Last night while watching The Voice, I was appalled by the bullying I saw – yes, celebrities can be bullied. When they are the subject of sustained personal, public attacks, there’s nothing else to call it.
So I did:
If you feel the same way, perhaps share this post and step out of the repugnant, bile-fest that social media can become when the pack turns on an individual.
For a full wrap of last night’s episode of The Voice, check out Em Rusciano’s post here.
So what is tall poppy about? Why do some public figures just polarise us?
Please leave a comment but I want you to imagine Delta – and her mother – reading it. Out loud. By all means debate the point but personal abuse will never be tolerated.