Being an actress can be a real pain in the ass. By definition, the gig is simple. You pretend your someone else; you perform. In reality, however, there's a whole added can of worms -- especially when Hollywood is involved. There's this ridiculous and particular mold an actress has to fit into, and pitfalls she must deal with -- especially in terms of superstardom.
There is literally no way to completely avoid the possible pitfalls of celebrity -- especially if you choose to be involved with any film project. We live in a world where potential blockbusters can tank and the $11k, uber-small Paranormal Activity can become a phenomenon. There's always a chance -- the possibility of being thrust into the ever-scrutinizing public eye, finding any semblance of privacy fly out the window as the paparazzi camp out at your front door and fandom rains down.
Welcome to the Dollhouse.
We need entertainment. It comforts us when we're sad, gives us a sense of camaraderie when we're lonely, and entertains us when we need an escape. We need actors to provide this for us. Yet we don't treat it like a need. We treat it like a right. We demand it, and expect our actors and actresses to deal with any pitfalls our interests might create -- to take their money and shut it.
When did we become a pack of blood-hungry carnivores whose personal entertainment is more important than a performer's ability to have a private life, be safe, and experience security and happiness? It's like Hollywood is our own personal Dollhouse, but without any scruples about how each doll should be handled. We want each actor to walk around happy and content, not minding the fuss around them, always willing to take another job and provide us with more entertainment without complaint or critique. Or, likewise, be content and blank whilst receiving a hurricane of derision.
The more I think about Dollhouse, or Hollywood, the more they melt together -- this idea of innocent and complacent dolls being set up for any scenario, no worry about their safety or their psyche.
If the doll complains about where we've placed them on the spectrum, we hope for another mental wipe, or for the complainer to get sent to the Attic. It would be so handy to be able to slide that immobile set of lips over the real one and cut off any critique. Silence if golden.
I see someone like Kristen Stewart (a young girl who hasn't even hit 20 yet) get chastised for thinking Twilight fandom is crazy, or note how hard it is to try and maintain a life while being stalked by the tabloids, and wonder how anyone can complain about her comments.
We all think rabid fandom is a little scary when we're outside it, whether that be screaming fangirls crying at the sight of their sparkly stars or Trekkies descending on a city to give each other the Vulcan salute. It's also not hard to imagine the pains that come from being a tabloid-loved celebrity. Imagine going to the grocery store in grubby clothes and having it immortalized, trying to drive through a horde of people (ever get stopped by picketers?), or hugging a friend and that embrace becoming a secret lovers' tryst that pulls in not only yourself, but your family, your children into the so-called affair.
Of course, the body is up for grabs as well in actress land. We live in a world where Samantha Morton isn't sexy enough for The Brothers Grimm. We'll chastise Ms. Stewart for grubby, post-Jett-mullet hair, Photoshop Kate Winslet thinner, whip up pregnancy rumors for a curve or fold of skin. But it's not just magazines and tabloids. I can't begin to count how many times I've heard moviegoers call an actress fat for the slightest weight gain, even if it still puts her thinner than the "IRL" people they call thin. Or, people calling any number of beautiful actresses ugly, rather than just admitting that they simply don't fit into a certain, preferred look.
It's all a mess, but I wonder how Hollywood can get out of the dollhouse mold -- what it would take to pull the moviegoing public out of this demanding mindset and not play the double-standard game. Is it even possible? What created this whole mess? Young fandom never taught that it is not okay to maul celebs in public spaces? Is this just an earlier embodiment of the Internet phenomenon -- the guts to say terrible things because we're not seeing the person face-to-face? The desire to unleash fury and inappropriateness in a "safe" outlet?
I think we need a hard reboot.