When I was preparing for my semester exams last month I came across a point that said ‘Media studies helps us question, criticize and analyze subjects instead of taking them at face value’. This is definitely what we have been taught (but most students don’t really care enough to apply it in real life) to do about all the things that interest the world. We have studied soviet-era journalism, nazi propoganda and even present-day publicity- the most important thing that I learned was that 90% of what you see is fabricated. Just like in The Hunger Games when the team behind each tribute design how every one of them will be showcased, based on the kind of emotions they want to evoke in the audience, that is exactly what PR agencies do in reality as well. According to me, the biggest PR miracle of our generation is convincing the ordinary audience that Jennifer Lawrence is ‘just like us’.
I have been suspicious of this beautiful, funny, smart, talented and ‘down-to-earth’ girl from the very beginning. I never jumped onto the ‘Jennifer Lawrence is my bff’ bandwagon, I happen to be a rather cautious person naturally. First we will discuss her as a person, then talk about the way the public has perceived her (spoiler: it’s shady). Lawrence earned her first Oscar nomination for ‘Winter’s Bone’, she was equally talented at that time. But the first time when people noticed her ‘quirky’ personality was when she starred as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Lawrence’s nonchalance, borderline unprofessionalism and utter disrespect for personal hygiene was quickly accepted by people.
Every other actress in Hollywood works out every day of the week, maintains a healthy lifestyle and follows a strict diet. That is the only way you can have an ‘attractive’ body. Jennifer definitely has an attractive body but she always pretends like all she eats is cheese-burgers. She has claimed previously that she would punch anyone who enjoys exercising. But if she eats junk food all day and never hits the gym, how does she have a body perfect enough to put on the cover of Vogue? You see, she doesn’t! She goes to the gym and eats healthy just like every other actress but pretends to not be so uptight to seem like every other girl. That’s the trick!
She recently stated in an interview for US Weekly, “I would just rather have somebody that has the same taste in reality TV, I do love my Real Housewives. New York Housewives — and Beverly Hills, New Jersey, and Atlanta Housewives. I mean, I love them all, but Miami — oh, my God! Miami is really special.” With a heavy schedule there is no way she gets time to watch all the above shows, but she claims to anyway- because every other woman in America does. About her personal life she added, “[I want someone who] isn’t afraid to fart in front of me [rather] than to have big, passionate love.I’d rather have just a peaceful time. [Those relationships] are deeper because you can be your true self with somebody, and somebody can be their true self with you.” So you are only being yourself if you stuff a hot-dog in your mouth while reciting ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Apparently if a lady enjoys eating gluten-free food and does that in front of her husband, she is not being herself?
Does ‘being yourself’ mean being the worst, most annoying, degrading version of yourself? If you want to be a better person for someone, if you want to improve yourself, does that not count as ‘being yourself’? Does wearing sweatpants and discussing butt plugs contribute as honesty? Does talking about intestinal problems on national television make you cool? The truthful and dejecting answer is yes- you see it isn’t very complicated. Lawrence’s PR guys have made her a dream girl- they have built the exact opposite of the ‘innocent, decent, girly girl’ trope that the media used to prefer.
Lawrence pretends to be like any ordinary girl but she isn’t- her personality is simply a performance. Now you may argue that she doesn’t seem fake but she has an Academy Award at home for ‘Best Actress’ so duh! Men want her, women want to be her- but she’s not really her. She is playing this person who everyone wants and no one can see it. She is ‘flawless’ because she is like most of today’s lazy women, so if you are not like the majority then you are ‘flawed’. This ‘evading the mainstream’ practice has become so mainstream, not doing it makes you ‘uncool’.
This ‘cool girl’ has become the old ‘girly girl’- it is equally suffocating, demanding, challenging and demeaning to women who have different tastes. Since Lawrence heads this army of fake cool girls, anyone who likes doing yoga will be attacked. But at the same time, if you accept your body even if it is not up to the mark, you are criticized for being arrogant. Or if you choose to crib about your body being undesirable, the same people criticize you for being insecure. Also if you ditch exercise altogether, they will call you fat. This ‘cool girl’ trope is demanding all the women to fit in a mould built with utmost strictness. This ‘cool girl’ persona is forcing women to behave in a certain way so they can convince the world that they are a ‘cool girl’. The problem is not Jennifer Lawrence, the problem is our gullibility.
We women (even those who call ourselves “feminists”) have extremely misogynistic standards- we love it when a 5’7 inches blonde blue-eyed beauty says that she loves McDonalds. Why wouldn’t she say it? She’s fucking gorgeous! But if someone oversized like Melissa McCarthney says something similar, we would only criticize them for being unattractive. You see, you are only a cool girl if you eat junk AND maintain a size zero. Whenever women hail Lawrence as a hero, it baffles me because
a) she is abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous, so even she ate the entire Trojan army alive she will still look gorgeous
b) women who want to be ‘cool’ like her are NOT, so they will have to spend equal amount of time in Subway to eat carbs (so they can brag about ‘not giving a shit’) and in the gym to actually lose the calories (because secretly they do give a shit)
You see here is the problem- another unrealistic standard that women have to reach to be accepted. That itself is misogyny- the belief that a woman has to be a certain way to qualify as a woman is gross. If we like Emma Watson, we want to be classy. If we like Kate Moss, we want to be skinny. If we like Christina Hendricks, we want to be curvy. Why can’t we ever be just us? Just because Gwyneth Paltrow eats kale, doesn’t mean we all have to start writing books about the importance of kale. Just because Kim Kardashian wears a particular brand, doesn’t mean we have to sport the same logo. Just because men find ‘cool girls’ attractive, doesn’t mean we have to be one!
We don’t have to live our lives trying to live up to the standards that other people built for us. We are all mature, capable, intelligent human beings who can decide their own good. We are all able of taking responsibility, making decisions and pulling strings of our lives. So why should we let a celebrity tell us, who we can or cannot be? Why do we give a piece of paper (fashion magazines) the power to make us feel insecure about our bodies? Have we really become so obssesed with being someone else that we have completely forgotten the unique, beautiful, complicated and flawed creature we truly are?
P.S: This is not hate propoganda, this is ‘open-your-bloody-eyes-and-see-the-nasty-truth’ propoganda.