She’s So Glamorous
She’s in full makeup, at nine am, when she drops her kids off at school. She’s in really great shape. She’s got great hair. She looks like she probably shaves her legs, everyday. She wears expensive clothes. She can afford expensive clothes. She’s got three kids (all clean and well dressed) but she still manages to have time for a career and a night life. She never talks shit about her husband. She gets along great with her mother…. she’s bullshit.
She’s on t.v. on the reality shows and in the magazines you read at the checkout lane. She’s completely fascinating because we think we have full access to her every move. We think every time she stops for gas or McDonalds, someone takes her picture. We’re pretty sure that every time something interesting happens to her, we get to hear about it. Every time she’s a little bloated, we follow her every appearance, for weeks, in speculation: was that a stop to an OBGYN? Or the cosmetic surgeon in the same office building? Who is she buying that little pink onsie for? Why does her boyfriend/husband/finance have that look in his eye? Why is she resting her hand on her belly? We begin to feel as though we actually know what’s going on in the lives (and bodies) of these people.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. I won’t lie- I have TMZ bookmarked. I visit the site regularly. I’m intrigued by celebrities. Kind of the same way I’m intrigued by the oil spill. The injustice and humanity of it are hypnotic. I want to know what’s going to happen, next. I’m outraged. I know I’m a part of a society that has created an opportunity for the problem and that cannot change it’s habits even in the face of glaring evidence of it’s inevitable consequences.
Yes- I know- the oil spill is a disaster that is and will continue to impact the water, animals, people, environment, economy, and livelihood of an already devastated area of our country for decades to come. The oil spill is far more serious than the plaque of celebrity gossip… I know…
but think of it this way: The Kardashian sisters get an estimated $10,000-$25,000 per episode apiece, with some estimates going as high as $100,000… with 12 episodes of Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami per season, guest appearances on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, their own clothing lines, jewelry lines, and perfume lines, spokemanship for multiple products, magazine covers, and appearance fees, the estimated annual salary of Kim alone is somewhere around $5 million dollars …. most people think it’s even higher. And the other two Kardashian sisters make comparable salaries of their own.
The Olsen twins reportedly make 38 million dollars a year- according to this site that breaks down celebrities’ and sports’ stars’ salaries in real time, Mary Kate and Ashley Olson earned, in the time it took me to get up and pour myself a cup of coffee, enough to cover my mortgage.
This all while one single year of the Kardashian sisters’ combined salaries could save my sons’ school district’s budget crisis for this year with maybe enough left over to bring back the full preschool program to the cities’ already struggling schools.
A single year of the Olsen twins’ salary might do that and save the jobs of nearly 100 teachers “encouraged” into retirement, this year and keep the GRPS from having to sell buildings to private investors.
These peoples’ high-cost “reality” is built of perfect lighting, staged drama, and a self perpetuating cycle of “fame”… take a close look at Khloe Kardashian when she’s supposed to be just waking up… her make up crew has already been there. And yet we spend… how much??? every year, watching the show that follows the fake and ultra-high-stakes and well-financed life, buying the weight loss drug and makeup line that supposedly shape the body and craft the face that makes the show watchable, reading the websites and magazines that follow the “celebrityhood” that is chronicled by the show that was made because the polished face and surgically enhanced, diet-pilled, privately trained body are all over the covers of magazines and are there-for, apparently, of some interest to us. This is what we call fame.
My more highly evolved friends don’t watch this shit. They don’t care about it and they don’t waste their time on it. Don’t ask me why I do. I used to have a whole bitter theory about the social justice of invading a celebrity’s privacy in order to make up for the pay-off they get for being famous just for being famous for being famous for….. it doesn’t make any sense. Invasion of someone’s privacy is never socially just and lifting up any group of people for the sake of simple and societally damaging entertainment at the cost of our own time, money and cultural mentality is simply a sick perpetuation of misinterpretation of the human condition. It’s lazy. Duh. I get that. Doesn’t really stop me, all the time.
What’s worse, is the fact that some people even set their own personal standards by this shit. Not their cultural standards, but their own personal standards. Myself, occasionally, albeit briefly, included.
I watch the shows sometimes, when I’m too exhausted to watch and comprehend some Discovery Health medical mystery show or History Channel Mayan pottery special. I watch when my own life has taken too much out of me and I feel intellectually incapable of even stringing together full sentences. Sometimes I watch in the afternoon, when my mind is numbed by the superhero themesongs and animal noises reverberating off the walls of my trashed living room. I watch when my own life is too much for me. And then, on my television-there’s Kendra Wilkinson-hair, makeup, tan, wardrobe, lighting,, and maid-cleaned home all prearranged- sitting on a couch staring at her infant son blankly and babbling on about how traumatized she is by the release of a sex tape that could possibly net her $680,000.
It’s hard, in that moment, for even the most intelligent, self-assured, evolved of stay-at-home-moms (of which I may or may not be) to separate that glossy version of reality from their expectations of themselves and the perceived expectations of the rest of the world. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and see the baby belly and the messy hair, the comfort-before-style clothes and the tired eyes and not think that maybe you need to be on an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag U (one of the only reality tv shows I full-heartedly endorse, by the way). It’s hard to look around at the crumbs and clothes and toys and fingerprints everywhere and wonder “why the hell can’t I keep my house so nice and presentable?”- even harder not to apologize to unexpected guests about the fact that your house does not, in fact, have a quiet and invisible-to-the-cameras live-in maid who keeps the shit off the walls and the dirty socks out of the toilet. It’s hard not to wonder where the hell all the cameras are when you drop your own kid off at school? Where are they when you go to the mall play area just so you can sit, frazzled and drained, holding a Starbucks and nursing your toddler? You start to think, “Am I not interesting enough?”
Well… it’s hard not to at least let those thoughts flash through your mind- maybe for even a moment? Go on and admit that you’ve at least gotten your ass off the couch and cleaned your house after an episode of Hoarders, for the exact opposite reason- real reality- actual reality- is dirty and often boring, and the people who surround you are not superstars. There are some realities that are better than your own and some that are worse.. The other moms at the mall are all settled into their varying niches along the spectrum of comfort-to- style fashion… there are some dressed quite nicely (that’s sort of me on a good day) and some in frumpy sweats or jammie pants and slippers (I’ve never quite gone there) And there are some in between. But 90% of them look like regular women- ugly, cute, pretty, but either way without a team of experts refreshing their look, all day long. And that same 90% are going to go home to houses and apartments of varying degrees of trashed. The other ten percent might look perfect, standing in that mall or waiting in line at the grocery store, but they will go home and, as my friend B. once (semi-jokingly) said, “sit in the bathtub and cry and pull their hair out, strand by strand, for the duration of two PBS Kids shows” then they’ll pull it together and call in the maid to clean the tub.
They just do it all behind the scenes.