If there is anything you can learn from the tabloids of the last ten years, it is that there are few things that just happen to be public property: A woman’s burgeoning tummy (or lack thereof), a woman’s weight gain (or lack thereof) and Renée Zellweger’s face.
Tabloids took it upon themselves to examine her wrinkles, bone structure, eyes, lips, nose and everything in between, hiding under the guise of public interest and a well-intentioned (ha) gossip. It was the quintessential faux-sympathy filled bitch-fest. I mean, surely it’s their responsibility to tell her her face has changed. Doesn’t she know her face has changed? Surely she knows? Do we tell her we know? Should we tell her it looks different? We must inform her we think she’s gone too far. Something must be wrong? Is she okay? She mustn’t be okay. It’s Hollywood. It must be Hollywood, she’s caught up in it all. Or divorce? Was it her divorce? Maybe she doesn’t like ageing? No, definitely the ageing thing.
And all that time, under all that scrutiny, Renée Zellweger kept gracefully mum.
In a powerful op-ed Jen Aniston style for the Huffington Post, Zellweger lined up all her ducks in a row and took perfect aim at a tabloid culture who “make fun of others for sport,” spreading mis-truths and dangerous double-standards.
Alluding to her own time in the spotlight where her face and her eyes were part of everyday public discourse, Zellweger slammed tabloid journalism as something that “profits from the chaos and scandal it conjures and injects into people’s lives and their subsequent humiliation” and where “the truth is reduced to representing just one side of the fictional argument.”
Interestingly, Zellweger acknowledges why she’s finally decided to start hitting back and start talking about it after years of silence. It’s silence, she says, that makes you vulnerable to more humiliation in the days of online news.
“Choosing the dignity of silence rather than engaging with the commerce of cruel fiction, leaves one vulnerable not only to the usual ridicule, but to having the narrative of one’s life hijacked by those who profiteer from invented scandal.
Mia and Kate de Brito discuss the feminist implications of a society that is entirely preoccupied with women’s looks. Post continues after video.