I am not generally an avid consumer of celebrity culture, but occasionally I slip and go to the dark place that are celebrity gossip magazines. I know this topic isn’t as popular as it was a year or so ago, but I think that the commentary the media had on the way Shiloh Jolie-Pitt gives a great example on our obsession with celebrity culture and the ways we dress our children.
There have been countless celebrity gossip magazines that have published articles regarding Shiloh’s short hair, or her “tom-boy” clothing, or that she choose to wear her older brothers’ hand-me-downs. I find it sad, although not surprising how much criticism Angelina and Brad Jolie-Pitt have gotten from the media. This highlights the obsession we have with celebrities and how deep are parasocial relationships go with them, that we think we are so close to them that we can criticize their parenting methods. It simultaneously brings to light how obsessed our culture and media is with girls dressing feminine and boys dressing in masculine clothing. When people stray outside of these norms, we get very upset. I remember reading articles comparing Shiloh and her sister, Zarah, and how they would applaud Zarah for being a girly-girl, and wonder why Shiloh wasn’t more like her sister. I find all of this disturbing and sad.
Recently, I have noticed the media has laid off Shiloh and her clothing. When her hair was cut even shorter, there were articles that simply called it her “signature cut”, rather than calling it a boy’s haircut. Angelina has been quoted many times stating that Shiloh likes what she likes, and that is okay with her. It seems that now that Shiloh has been cast in a “tom-boy” light, the media is now okay with the way she dresses. To me, it seems that the only way society could became comfortable with Shiloh’s clothing choices now that she has been categorized. I think that this also taps into our discussion about homosexuality a bit. We only seem to be able to discuss or accept homosexuals in our media when they fall into stereotypical roles that we accept. To conclude this jumble of thoughts, I think that Angelina letting Shiloh make her own choices in wardrobe was great. The more we encourage children to simply be themselves, the quicker we are going to see change in society.