Justin Bieber peed in a bucket last night; you’ve probably heard that already. In the past few months, Bieber has made constant news for his erratic and abusive behavior. Everyone has hopped on the chance to make fun of Bieber, but no one has really implied something might be wrong with him. Or that his career might be in jeopardy.
In that same period, Amanda Bynes has posted a lot of weird things on Twitter, got a DUI, threw a bong out of her window, and fought with some cops. The cultural reaction to her acts has been that of ominous fear and concern. “Amanda Bynes needs help! It’s just so sad to see another young starlet throw their life away over drugs and alcohol!”
Do you see the difference here?
Bieber and Bynes aren’t the first two celebs to get the super-star implosion treatment. How many articles have you read about Lindsey Lohan’s career suicide? Or Britney Spears? Or Paris Hilton?
How many times has a male celeb taken on that same level of sympathy? When stars like Mel Gibson, Michael Jackson, and Matthew Perry looked to throw their careers away via drugs, alcohol, and erratic behavior; there was never the same level of empathy that female celebs received. Instead, the general reaction to them was a cold indifference and a belief that they should have known better.
In short, female celebrities are shown as helpless victims to their own realities, while male celebrities are guilty for all their own failures and deserve ridicule above all else.
Neither of these reactions is fair, and each showcase America’s inherent sexism as regards to the way men and women are seen and treated in modern society.
This article does not wish to declare rules for how celebrity breakdowns should and shouldn’t be seen; it’s instead a reminder that behind every celeb drunkenly denouncing Bill Clinton that there is a real human being.
In the case of Justin Bieber, perhaps instead of mocking the young man for everything he does, consider the pressure placed upon him at a young age, as well as the pressure he must feel to reinvent himself as an adult entertainer before he’s truly an adult. With Amanda Bynes, consider that she is in charge of her own life, and that few people have any right to tell her how she can or can’t live her life.
Gender roles are still so engrained in our society that without reminders like these, they can be hard to spot. Neither sex gains anything from blatant stereotyping. The more we can see celebs (and each other) as fellow humans above all else, the better off we will all be.