Women Celebrities Treated Unfairly During Scandals

Cole Tessitore, Staff Writer

   Considering that celebrities are people the average population will most likely never meet or get to know, Americans are undeniably obsessed with them. Which, for many celebrities, is a good thing, because name recognition is how to stay relevant in this fast-paced digital world — but what happens when the public knows something you would rather they not know? Well, for male celebrities, they trend on Twitter for a day and a half and then move on, or have their public relations team write a flimsy fill-in-the-blank apology letter for social media. However, if you are anything other than a cisgender male, it could mean the end of your career. Men in the entertainment industry get treated with way more respect for their privacy and themselves, while women get ridiculed and terrorized relentlessly.

   “Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would,” said Mrs. Kendal Elrich, the wife of the Governor of Maryland in 2003, commenting on her provocative clothing (oxygen.com). This was quite a strong and aberrantly violent statement to make, no less about a pop singer. If it wasn’t clear enough that women in the industry are treated poorly compared to men, Fellow Pop Singer Justin Timberlake was being praised for allegedly hooking up with Spears while they were dating (mirror.co.uk). People still treated Timberlake well, even after he exposed Superstar Janet Jackson’s breast on national television during the Super Bowl (nbcnews.com). To make things worse, instead of Timberlake getting in trouble, as if a wardrobe malfunction is even anything to get in trouble for, only  Jackson got in trouble and then her career was tarnished, and Timberlake got off scott-free. Only recently have people started not only to realize that Timberlake was the poster child for male privilege, but that these types of things happen literally all the time and women get burned at the stake for the tiniest slip ups. What happened with Spears and Janet Jackson wasn’t the first time, and definitely not the last, that a female celebrity is a victim of harassment and public shaming.

   Country Singer Morgan Wallen is someone who recently got exposed for using a racial slur (not hard to guess which one) on camera with friends in January 2021 (tmz.com). One would think that after an explosion of  public support for the Black Lives Matter movement and an overall general consensus that using racial slurs is bad, Wallen and his music career would be over. Several major radio stations stopped playing his music, his Spotify and Apple Music promotions were canned, and the Academy of Country Music announced his most recent album would be disqualified from their awards ceremony. Somehow, none of that even mattered. In fact, it did the exact opposite of what anyone would’ve expected to happen to Wallen. As of February 25, 2021, his album is the number one album in the country and it has been for six weeks, and about four of those weeks were after Wallen was exposed for using a racial slur (theatlantic.com). Although it is terribly unfortunate that a man who uses racial slurs is still having success in the music industry, it isn’t all that surprising, as it’s evident that men rarely face consequences in the entertainment industry.

Although it is terribly unfortunate that a man who uses racial slurs is still having success in the music industry, it isn’t all that surprising, as it’s evident that men rarely face consequences in the entertainment industry.”

   In 2014, Jennifer Lawrence was one of several victims after a hacker leaked nude pictures of her onto the internet (vanityfair.com). People were quick to voice their opinions, for whatever reason, and complained that the star of The Hunger Games should be a better role model for young girls and that taking nude photos of herself is utterly disgraceful. Lawrence, who was twenty-three at the time, was facing an unprecedented amount of ridicule for something she didn’t have control over, and she still has to live with the trauma of being publicly humiliated and slut-shamed. In September of 2020, Avengers Actor Chris Evans accidentally leaked a photo of his genitals on Instagram, where it then circulated around Twitter for just under a few hours until his public relations team did a deep Internet scrub and got rid of all re-posts of the original photo. Instead of being slut-shamed and being told that he should be a better role model for young boys, he was treated with the utmost respect for his privacy and was met with an overwhelming amount of empathy. In fact, to dilute the posts of his genitals under the hashtag of his name on Twitter, people posted pictures of puppies under the hashtag and explained that Evans suffers from anxiety and this situation was making it worse, according to the Los Angeles Times (latimes.com). Well, obviously  this is giving him anxiety — it would give anyone anxiety; imagine how Lawrence felt when that happened to her. Perhaps if people became more forgiving and learned from the Lawrence incident, maybe several hundred other women would not be publicly defamed, but in reality, people just forgive men a lot more easily than women, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to this extreme form of gender inequality.

   Senior Honieh Hemati reflected on the way famous women and men are treated: “Chris Brown beat Rihanna up, but he still has a music career and people treat him as if he didn’t hurt another person.” What does that tell people about themselves, that they fully know about the wrongdoings of a man, and then not still hold him accountable years after? More than anything, these people are to blame, since they are the ones talking about celebrities. If someone as famous and respected as Lawrence gets treated poorly, what does that tell everyone about the way non-famous women are treated? It’s a daunting reminder that women, regardless of status, are under constant scrutiny just for being women.

   Overall, hopefully the countless examples of women losing their careers, being-slut shamed and being humiliated will serve as a reminder to just simply treat everyone equally. People should start to care less about what anyone is doing as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else, and remember that famous people are still people. So, the next time a female celebrity has a wardrobe malfunction, is seen out wearing revealing outfits, or has her nudes leaked, everyone should all just mind their business and treat them with respect, like most people would do with famous men.