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Tabloids: The Great Equalizer
Stars Can Look As Bad As The Rest Of Us
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
I save old college textbooks because every so often they’re fun to read. I have one from one of my English classes that I still go through. It was a collection of articles, scripts, print ads and book chapters from popular fiction. In it was an article written by filmmaker John (Hairspray, Polyester, Pecker) Waters about why he loves the National Enquirer.
I love the Enquirer too. I also like the Star, the Globe and when I’m in the mood for a few laughs, the Weekly World News, which is like the illegitimate, punk rocker/ex-con of publications. I am in the process of cleaning my room and decorating parts of my house, and I’ve unearthed a few copies of the Enquirer and the Star. Yeah, I know they’re trash, but I’ve found that I buy them when I’m under a great deal of stress, or when I need mindless entertainment. This is not a weekly splurge. However, I found three of them just the other night, and I read them with glee before I went to bed.
I think I get a kick out of these rags because they have a sense of humor. They know they aren’t in the running for Pulitzer Prizes, and their approach is about as subtle as a drive-by shooting, but you know, it really does make me feel better when I see “STARS WITHOUT MAKEUP!” This article is always a treat. As someone who’s never been comfortable about her looks, it always gives me a lift when some bimbo with millions looks like she was run over by an elephant after suffering from insomnia for a week.
Another frequent feature is who has gained weight in Hollywood. I know it’s hypocritical for these publications to go into spasms over who’s gained a mere 10-15 pounds, when the majority of their readership probably falls into the obese/morbidly obese range. And what passes for “fat” in Hollywood has become something for the rest of chunky Americans to shoot for. I mean, I would have loved to have been as “fat” as Reneé Zellweger was when she was in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” mode. To me, she didn’t look fat, she didn’t look bone-thin. She looked NORMAL. But in a town where being a size eight means you’re borderline obese, in the rest of the country, it makes wanting to lose a few pounds seem like a pointless task. Why lose 15 pounds if you are still going to be considered fat?
Aside from the emphasis on appearance, I really do want to know if Anna Nicole is going berserk, if Laci Peterson’s murder weapon was found, how to dress like a certain celebrity for less than $100 total for the outfit and find out about Sharon Osbourne’s abusive childhood.
And the headlines themselves are hilarious: “Stars and Their Deadly Diets—How fame can become fatal.” Hovering over Lara Flynn Boyle’s picture is this declaration: “Weighs Less Than Your Dog!” Damn! That’s skinny! Or this, from the November 15, 2004 issue of Star: “From Bridget Jones To Skin & Bones!” These women seem to all say the same thing though: “I have slender genes. I come from a family of thin folks. I love a good steak.” Sure you do honey. Do you love it just as much when you barf it up in a fit of bulimia? That’s taking Atkins a bit too far, in my opinion.
It’s also comforting to know that even if you have millions, you can put together an outfit no self-respecting bag lady would be caught dead in. My wardrobe hovers somewhere around Old Navy (on clearance) Fashion Bug and the thrift stores. Yet I’ve received compliments on my outfits. Contrast that with Gwen Stefani, rocker-turned-designer who was “Fashion Victim of the Week” in the September 6, 2004 issue of the Enquirer. She DID look bad, with her legs encased in what looked like plaster casts with orange straps and an oversized kilt that appeared to be tied on. I’ve seen some of her recent designs from her L.A.M.B. clothing line and all I have to say is this: Friends, don’t let rock stars become fashion designers.
Actually, I guess the reason I like the tabloids so much is that they show that the rich and glamorous can look hideous on occasion. And for the average folk out there who can’t afford personal trainers, liposuction, hair people and makeup people, it gives us a chance to say “Hah! All that money and she still looks terrible!” Beauty fades and money can disappear, but the tabloids show that we’re all vulnerable to bad hair and bad outfit days.