Are We Too Tough on Our Famous Party Girls?


“Celebrity women get arrested at night, in their dresses; men get arrested after fights, when they’re messes.” This puts fun-loving famous women at a disadvantage compared to male peers, or says Virginia Heffernan on demonizing fun women. And?

And so we are a little bit like a Muslim regime! Er, well, more than we’d maybe like to admit, anyway. Or are we?

After 9/11, writes Virginia Heffernan, those regimes “were depicted as tyrannical in part because they demonized Western fun-loving culture in the name of a misogynistic ideology. Slowly but surely we’ve been doing the same thing with our most visible good-time girls, making villains of women who are dangerous almost exclusively to themselves.”

I’m not going to get into the particulars of Islam’s oppression of women. But let’s look at one of her examples: Lindsay Lohan. Yes, most of the damage she’s done by drinking and partying has been self-harm. But remember how she took those three guys hostage that one time, and drove really really fast, and then blamed all it on “the black kid” when the cops showed up? That probably could have harmed someone! And certainly did nothing positive for black kids.

Heffernan makes a slightly better point when she criticizes those who “point cameras into their darkened cars and literally up [starlets’] skirts to find cellulite or evidence of immodesty that wouldn’t exist without the cameras.” When the party gals start drinking and doing drugs—ostensibly because of all those cameras—”just as many celebrities before them have done, we become incensed, agitating for them to go to jail.”

But celebrity party girls aren’t the ones who are suffering the most from those forces in our culture that gain momentum off of punishment: ask any woman who’s doing hard time for delivering drugs on behalf of her boyfriend (hello, Locked Up Abroad!), and she’ll clue you in on some things about this.

(At the end of Heffernan’s article Jez does get a shout-out, noting the “top-rank commenters.” Congrats, top-rank commenters! You are now famous; perhaps even party girls, in which case everyone will be tough on you. As established above, kinda.)

Party and Punishment [NYT]

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