The Cult of Jolie

Let me say at the onset that I have nothing against Angelina Jolie. I’m in no position to judge whether or not she (or any human, really) deserves the kind of riches the world has bestowed her. I don’t know if any person deserves to be impossibly wealthy, able to work when she likes, devote herself to the causes she likes, and be married to the sexiest man alive. I guess I don’t know if she represents real American success to be admired, or American royalty to be rejected. My objection probably isn’t so much rooted in Ms. Jolie, it’s rooted in what the media has turned her into. Somewhere between a saint and a goddess-Ms. Jolie stars in mediocre action movies, looks gorgeous, gives birth to gorgeous twins, marries gorgeous men, and saves small children from incredibly sad things. She is wonderwoman, Mother Teresa and Carrie rolled into one sex-goddess package. 

What I do know is that she represents a growing culture of celebrity worship that needs to be stopped. Maybe she has it all, and maybe it’s natural for the rest of us to want it all, but this is no way for a generation of women to grow up. Perhaps she is saying all the right things. That she hopes she can inspire other women to take on causes they cherish and do something about them. Maybe she really does want to be an inspiration to as may people as possible. Or maybe its even more simple, maybe she’s just a woman of means that wants to do some good. The problem is the media is sending a distinct message. She is better than all of us, she represents more than we could ever be and we should adore her because of all she has and all we don’t.

She has become the matriarch of media celebrity worship. The female symbol of what used to be a role dominated by men. Bill Gates, Bono, George Clooney all fall into the same catergory of do-gooder celebrity. The media’s obsession with them has fed a fire of self-loathing among Americans. We will never accomplish what they have so why try? All of these celebrities have their hearts in the right place. They are doing good, and should continue to draw attention to the causes they champion. The media, however, needs to balance their reporting of these megastars with stories about what we all as Americans can do to help the world everyday. 

Rather than encourage people to join in their Democracy and enact change in the ways available to them- we clamber over celebrity-gods that take pity on a particular cause and shower it with their millions and attention.

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2 Responses

  1. You’re absolutely right. But, it’s nothing new, perhaps it’s taken on new dimensions, but it’s the same old thing really. What I’m becoming increasingly alarmed at is the excessive cosmetic surgery that’s become so commonplace that young women must all feel inadequate nowadays. I personally hate Angelina’s lips.

  2. Ah to revel in your own negativity. You look upon yourself in self-pity when why can’t these idolizations be seen as a standing point for others to reach? Why can’t her message through what some would call overachievement be spread to those you feel to be less “gorgeous” lifestyle-worthy as inspiration to attempt something smaller but equally as noble? Instead of adopting three adopt one, or even sponsor a child somewhere through a legitimate program if you cannot handle the responsibility of parenthood when so many refugees undergo the challenges of mother/fatherhood at ages as young as 10 and assume the role as young as six over their orphaned or abandoned siblings. Instead of becoming a UN ambassador research the corruption going on and write a letter to your public official, donate time or money to a volunteer relief organization, or even pray for the NGOs whose workers labor oftentimes 22-24 hour workdays. Research political goings-on so that you may be better equipped to vote for what changes occur in our country that affect the global status. No matter who you are or what your income you can make a difference. Why don’t we focus less on obsessing over the everyday lifestyles of these celebrities and look at the media and the message that shines beneath no matter how much slander is involved that it’s time for America to get off its ass and do something. Wake up right now and make a change.

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