Are we the only one who’s getting a little weary of celebrities bragging about their homemaking, baby birthing and parenting skills as a public relations tool? Jessica Biel makes a mean banana loaf! (Not that she looks like she’s consumed a carbohydrate since 2007.) Kourtney Kardashian had an all-natural birth! (Does that mean her baby has no added flavors or preservatives?) Blake Lively bakes cupcakes for charity! (As well as for her male –and married — castmates. Hmmm…) Katie Holmes sensibly denied her six year-old a puppy! (While paparazzi stationed outside shot the *entire* scene.) Gwyneth Paltrow is the WORST. She wrote an obnoxious cookbook, made an instructional video about how to roast a chicken (how did we live without this?), and writes a successful but insufferably pretentious blog about the bath linens, recipes and vacation spots recommended by her friends Jessica Seinfeld and Stella McCartney. (We do, however, delight in her failed attempt at a country music career. Bwahahahaha.)
To a certain degree, we get it: the gen pub can’t get enough of celebrities living “just like them”, whether it’s mundane tasks like putting gas in their Priuses or walking their rescue dogs, or more complex issues like births and breastfeeding in public. (That’s one way to respond to secret surrogacy rumors, Beyonce.) Babies and motherhood are especially big business: magazines pay millions to exclusively “introduce” celebrity spawn on their covers, and being photographed in public with one’s children can make a career. (Exhibit A: Jennifer Garner, and Jessica Alba sure hopes she’s next so she doesn’t have to keep shilling diapers.)
Magazine revenues and career bumps indicate pretty clearly that we’re buying what they’re selling. We don’t love what that says about the general public and our need for validation vis a vis celebrities mimicking our behavior, but what really frosts our cookie is the mimicry itself. We’re pretty dubious about whether the “real” lives of celebrities in published glossies are anything more than set pieces. Staff members doing grocery shopping and preschool pick up doesn’t make the dailies, and nannies often dwell outside the frame of paparazzi shots. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if celebrities could just come clean? It *should* require house managers, chefs and nannies to run a household while working on location, traveling for press junkets, and hitting the gym as much as a successful actor seems to. (Heck, we need a nanny two days a week just so we can write this piddly little blog and keep our home from looking post-apocalyptic.)
Wanting to project an image of perfection is nothing new, and neither are carefully-calculated public lives of celebrities, but since when did the “perfect” actress become being an attachment parenting Martha Stewart with a white hot movie career and a Giselle Bundchen body? (It sounds so insane I can’t believe I just typed it.) Frankly, we’d prefer if celebrities stopped trying so hard to be like us and worked harder on you know, entertaining us. Perhaps that’s why we never read about Julianne Moore’s favorite blueberry muffin recipe (she has actually been quoted complaining candidly about starving to be the “right size”) or Cate Blanchett’s birth plan. (Could you imagine?). They’re too busy doing their actual jobs to call the paparazzi to capture a Starbucks run with their kids. We’re *living* a kid-laden Starbucks run and already know what it looks like. It doesn’t entertain us; art, however, does.