Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Celebrity gossip, academic style

I recently came across Anne Helen Petersen from an article she wrote in the latest issue of Bitch magazine where she wonders if celebrity gossip can ever be feminist. Petersen is a doctor of celebrity gossip and teaches media studies …

Thu, Jul 12, 2012, 15:09

   

I recently came across Anne Helen Petersen from an article she wrote in the latest issue of Bitch magazine where she wonders if celebrity gossip can ever be feminist. Petersen is a doctor of celebrity gossip and teaches media studies at Whitman College in Washington. She also has an excellent blog where she puts this academic filter over the big celebrity stories of the day/week/month.

This article on Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise titled ‘Six Ways to Breakdown a Breakup’ is a great analysis of how the TomKat breakup is being written about online and off. “As I’ve discussed several times on this site, the form, systems of distribution, and speed of gossip have changed substantially over the last century, but really, everything new is old,” Petersen says, “And turning star scandals into melodrama — something that resembles the plot of a movie, complete with clear-cut good and bad guys — is nothing new.” This emphasis on gossip-as-narrative, although an old one, is how celebrity magazines continue to exist, by actually manufacturing their own narratives that may bear absolutely no semblance to reality at all.

So if you fancy your celebrity gossip “academic style” as Petersen puts it, then check out her site.