I don’t know how aware you are of this but Paris Hilton just released a documentary about her life, specifically her troubled childhood. Now you may be thinking, “What troubled childhood? Growing up with millions and living a spoiled, pampered life? Oh no!”
Well it turns out she had controlling parents who forced her to go to a school that frequently did stuff like hit her and make her huddle in a cold room, among other things.
This documentary is called The Real Story of Paris Hilton: This is Paris. If you’re interested, you can watch it here:
If you read the comments section or search Paris Hilton on twitter, this documentary has led to something of a re-examination of Paris Hilton’s reputation. As we probably all remember, back in the 2000’s, she was basically the butt of the joke, someone who almost EVERYONE made fun of because they saw her as nothing more than a bimbo who did nothing to deserve her fame.
But, after she bravely came out to talk about her past, it seems like the tables have turned and many of us commoners have more respect for Ms. Hilton.
And this isn’t the only time something like this has happened. Britney Spears has been in the news a lot lately because many of her fans’ feel like she is being held captive by her father. There is even a movement going called #FreeBritney. If you remember, back in the 2000’s, though, she was, like Paris, treated like a joke. This was especially true in 2007, the year it seemed like something bad was happening to her every day. And the media just kept making fun of her again and again. It went to the point where one of her fans, Chris Crocker, was made fun of for making a video chastising people for making fun of her when, in hindsight, she clearly had a lot of mental problems that perhaps wasn’t worth the media hounding her on.
Shia Labeouf is another example of this. He went from being a popular Disney Channel star to someone who nerds all over the internet hated because he was in movies that “ruined their childhood” like the Transformers series and Indiana Jones. And then, in the early 2010’s, his stardom fell considerably and he had a mental breakdown, which again made him ripe for mockery by so many people. Remember the memes? Remember?
But then in the mid-late 2010’s, he’s sort of reinvented himself as an indie actor whose movies tend to be good and all has been forgiven. We have forgiven Labeouf for Transformers or “I’m not famous anymore”. And, with his movie Honey Boy, that gave us an interesting and complex look in his childhood, he, like Spears and Hilton, is someone who went from being a subject of mockery for his problems to someone who people are more sympathetic towards.
To a lesser extent, there’s also been a re-evaluation on his Transformers co-star, Megan Fox. Unlike Labeouf, her movie choices haven’t exactly gotten better but I have seen a lot of people on Twitter and the internet admit recently that maybe they were harsher on her than they should’ve been.
Back in 2009, she had given an interview in Empire (http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/2317985/Megan-Fox-hates-sexy-symbol-status) where she said:
“You can’t be a sex symbol 24 hours a day. I can’t be a professional celebrity or a professional sexpot. I can’t do that to myself. I just want to work and make the right choices, and study and develop as an actress.”
At the time people laughed at her for wanting to be a “real actress”. What didn’t help was when she criticized Michael Bay in an interview and her follow-ups to the Transformers movies, like Jennifer’s Body and Jonah Hex, failed at the box office. Yet, as the article above demonstrates, there are people who are now behind her when they maybe weren’t 10 years ago.
So this is sort of an interesting phenomenon going on, where celebrities we judged as being vain, “bimbos”, untalented, wastes of space, you name it, are telling their stories or we’re starting to see more of their stories, which leads us to realize that the backlash towards their success might have been unwarranted.
But what do you think really caused that?
Well, there’s probably many reasons.
First off the #MeToo movement happened. After Me Too, I think we have started to take accusations of abuse in the entertainment industry more seriously overall. Granted it hasn’t fixed a lot, as there are still celebrities accused of abuse being allowed to work, but I do think it has caused people outside of the entertainment industry to be more empathetic towards abuse in the entertainment industry than they may have been beforehand.
Not only that but there has also been more discussions about representation in the entertainment industry. When it comes to representation, there have even been discussions about fixing sexism within the entertainment industry. Many of the examples I mentioned are from women facing not just abuse but sexism as well. And, as recently as the 2000’s, sexism in the entertainment industry just wasn’t something we took that seriously.
At the time we judged these women because of preconceptions we were taught to judge them by that are kinda sexist if you stop and think about it. This, in turn, is probably what led people to judge Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, or even Megan Fox because, to us, they seemed to fit the bimbo mold to a T. So we didn’t really see them as people at the time, just caricatures to point and laugh at because we thought of them as nothing more than spoiled, pampered celebrities that we wanted to see get taken down a peg. And their problems gave us the perfect reason to take them down.
So I think the 2020’s backlash to the culture of 2000’s-early 2010’s celebrity backlash is because we’ve grown and learn. Thanks to things like the MeToo Movement, we’re starting to see these celebrities as people. For once, social media might have also helped as we now have access to more information to see more than one side than we did in the 2000’s or even early 2010’s.