A year ago this month, we posted a Seriously Random List that examined five women and the reasons why we/you/the world despise them. Some of the disdain seemed irrational. Some of it, perhaps, warranted. But that hatred was strong. Last year, those five women were Jennifer Aniston, Katherine Heigl, Megan Fox, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
It’s a new year. And like Hollywood, for better or worse (or worse or more worse), it’s out with the old, and in with new celebrity women with whom we can barely justify our hatred. Again, I’m not abdicating responsibility (except for numbers four and five down there, with whom I have nothing against) or trying to excuse, justify, or absolve our role. But of this new generation of celebrity women, I’ll ask the same question I asked last year: Why? Why do we hate these five women so much? Why do we often wish them harm? It’s too easy and misguided to blame it on sexism: That may play a role in some of it, but these five women are generally regarded just as poorly by other women. I want to explore that hatred, hopefully with a modicum of reason and logic. I’m putting that question to our readers to help explain it.
Lea Michele: Ms. Michelle is perhaps the easiest to justify, if only because Courtney wrote a withering piece on why it is we do hate her: “Basically, she’s an asshole. The kind desperate to have attention poured on her, accolades thrown like roses and to not have to get that by being kind. It started when she was an annoying idiot to a photographer because he had the unmitigated gall to not know her name. Ever since then, it’s been tale after tale of “Lea Michele’s a big bitch, Lea Michele is trying so hard to be famous, she makes that blonde chick from new 90210 look subtle, Lea Michele makes little girls cry.” Sure, most people only get into this industry to be famous but look at her face. Every single picture. She will gnaw the fame out of your neck if you try to hide it from her. And there’ve been more than a few reports about how much she hates her co-stars getting HER attention ….”
Fair enough. I get it. But it’s not universal. It can’t be. “Glee” is hugely popular, even to a small extent on this site. Someone out there must love her, so maybe the better question here is: Why do you love her? And can’t we at least chalk up some of her actions to the stupidity of youth?
Blake Lively: Ms. Lively is new to the hate, and much of that can be attributed to her heinous performance in Green Lantern. But even before then, the public had turned against her. Not because of “Gossip Girl,” because not enough people even watch that to justify hatred en masse. It really started with her small but underwhelming role in an otherwise excellent film, The Town, and the fact that the gig got her the Green Lantern role. Even then, it was more the fact someone from “Gossip Girl” and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants could be cast in The Town or The Green Lantern that upset people. The performances in both, unfortunately, proved those upset people correct. She’s not a very good actress, but as a person, I’m not familiar with anything that might warrant such an irrational hatred.
January Jones: Jones is this year’s Katherine Heigl, and we have certainly contributed to the wellspring of disdain. But most of that is by bringing to attention all the things that make her awful. Joanna never seems to have a shortage of material with which to justify our intense dislike. It doesn’t help that she was bad in X-Men: First Class (I actually found her more soulless than Blake Lively in GL). But we must concede that, before we found out she was an awful person, we’d already made up our mind about her because she plays an awful person on “Mad Men” so convincingly. It’s quite possible that it’s just her natural personality.
Winona Hawkins: Maybe I’m stretching here because the (irrational) hatred is built solely around a character in a TV show and not the actress herself, but it is intense and it is unwarranted for all the reason that Dan Saipher described. Obviously, I love the woman . I wonder if something that snaphiss wrote contains any truth to it: “I’m willing to bet most of the people that hate Winona are female viewers. It reminds me a little of the Cuddy haters, like these women characters are somehow poaching on the super fan’s men.” The commentary I see in regard to Winona Hawkins reminds me a lot of what I’ve read written about the three women above, Jennifer Aniston, and even Katherine Heigl.
Lady Gaga: This one I don’t understand enough to get. Whenever her name is mentioned here or elsewhere, the claws come out. Best I can tell, she’s Madonna 2.0, who happens to wear coats made of meat. But her music isn’t bad. It’s just derivative. I think she simply makes people feel uncomfortable, and for what reason, I’m not sure. People didn’t feel this way about Madonna until much later in her career (mostly, after she became British). Gaga holds political positions with which most of us agree (she even came out to Maine, of all places, to lobby for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), she’s provocative, and she’s sexy without being traditionally attractive. I feel like this is something we should be celebrating. And the younger generation is. It’s mostly people over the age of 30 that have turned against her, and instead of being based in reality, the irrational hatred seems built around a Get Off My Lawn mentality and a lack of understanding. Come on folks, don’t be your parents. At least built a solid foundation for your dislike.