In Defense of Celebrity Feminism
newrepublic.com - Celebrities are our pantheon, these works argue, and their stories are our collective cultural myths. Since we spend hours and years of our lives absorbing them, when we talk about them, why not take them seriously? And if we don’t see our personal canon among the figures that the culture keeps telling us are iconic, what’s to stop us from claiming space for our own icons among their ranks? Massey’s book grew out of her viral Buzzfeed essay, 2015’s “Being a Winona in a World Made for Gwyneths.” In the piece, she wrote about mapping herself onto the wild, messy, dark-hearted and dark-haired archetype that Winona Ryder represents, in contrast to Gwyneth Paltrow’s anodyne commitment to being inoffensively bland—and, well, blonde. All the Lives I Want is on the one hand an examination of the cultural context in which we understand female celebrities’ stories. But it’s also a confession of Massey’s own complex imaginings of their inner lives, and how they help her imagine and understand the complexity of her own.