The Villainisation of Female Celebrities

Female celebrities have faced uncalled abuse, misogyny, and belittling by the press. So much that for years, numerous people have negative perceptions of these women. These perceptions were built off what they saw on a headline. Society’s obsession with celebrities and their downfalls is colossal. As we see today, these headlines were vicious patterns used to make money off one’s misfortune. The 00s was notorious for its crazy paparazzi and TMZ having a scoop on every celebrity. Once we open our eyes and not buy into this malicious form of media, the progressive change needed will happen. 

Britney Spears

From a young age, Britney Spears was adored for her natural talent and charisma. She shined in her local town, singing since she can remember. After she was signed and started making her earnings, it was evident how naturally charitable she was. She went around her neighbourhood at Christmas time, got ten thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills and handed them out. 


The issue with the press and Britney started at a very young age for her. The public eye sexualised her; as a female, she experienced misogyny for existing. Sort of remarks and comments like this would not be mentioned to a male artist. The image that the press projected on Britney sexualised her being, which made her undergo sexist words. After her break-up with Justin Timberlake, he made sexual remarks towards her in an interview from many years ago, which he had only apologised for last week as Framing Britney Spears was released. This issue highlights how rampant misogynistic culture is and how it thrived in the late 90s/ early 00s, yet it is still carrying on. 

Britney Spears has faced mass amounts of immoral invasion from paparazzi, social media, and the press. From my observation, the documentary Framing Britney Spears opens up the discussion that the media was to blame for her issues and so-called “breakdowns.” She was bombarded to an extreme, and it was evident. I had never seen a celebrity invasion like this before. Of course, we know paparazzi constantly follow celebrities, it was something so unnatural that it became the “norm,” but this was out of this world. To the point that her mental health did not matter; they only wanted a “money shot.” 

Britney started to experience mental stress from the press and a lack of space from the media. The press painted her out to be a “bad mother” from a photo the paparazzi got of her almost “dropping” her child. However, this resulted from the paparazzi getting physically too close, causing her distress and panic to get out of the situation to protect her baby. It was not her fault. These repetitive bad headlines framing Britney to be this bad person resulted in her mental health deteriorating. 2007 Britney was something we all know, but it was not a laughing matter. In 2007, Britney was caught by the press heading to the hairdresser and shaving off all her hair. At this point, they used it as a way to “laugh” at her “losing her mind,” as if someone’s pain was entertaining. A repugnant comment that stuck in my mind from the documentary, “There was too much money to be made off her suffering.” This highlights the immorality of the press, which created this villainisation of Britney’s character.

Britney was stuck in a conservatorship; it began when Britney checked herself into a “psychiatric hospital.” Since Britney’s father, Jaime, who was not there for a significant part of her life, agrees to control her finances legally whilst she was unwell. This is when “Free Britney” came into action. Today, Britney is still in this conservatorship and has been in a battle to get out of it.

Lindsay Lohan

The American actress who faced fame from a young age, as we can remember, had the spotlight always on her. We remember seeing little Lindsay in our beloved childhood movies, The Parent Trap, to the iconic teenage comedies such as Mean Girls, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and Just My Luck. However, it hasn’t been a walk in the park for Lindsay. In Lindsay’s personal life, she has faced addiction. With that came the press’s hardships and their way of making her out to be a bad person because of this. Addiction is not a thing to joke about or make someone an example of; it is a serious matter. 

Something apparent to me was the interviewer’s attitude towards Lindsay. As a strong woman who makes an effort to turn her life around and fight addiction, the backlash she faces is unreasonable. Let’s highlight this issue that was presented to us in 2013. On David Lettermen, Lindsay was met with unfair questions thrown at her out of the blue: questions that were not discussed with her by David Letterman in the pre-interview, some that belittled her revisit to rehab. It is easy to sense her discomfort in this interview as she just wants to be better and healthier for herself to work, yet she is stormed with interrogations about her addiction, which is personal to her. Later, she talks about her past and holds herself accountable for bad decisions and recognises them. It is evident she is willing to grow; however, the press’s criticism of her is not necessary.

“Bimbo Summit” was an old New York Times headline with a photo of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Let’s put this into perspective. If that was a photo of three male celebrities, would the headline’s title be as negative like that, or would there be any headline about them at all? Think about that.

Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes was another one of our childhood actresses who we adored. From her show on Nickelodeon, The Amanda Show, to infamous movies like She’s the Man, we have recognised her work for years. 

We remember this sudden change in Amanda Bynes and noticed patterns of uncommon behaviour from her. With this, the media painted her as “crazy” and started viewing her as someone who lost their mind. In reality, at this time, no one knew what was going on and was quick to make a judgement. Amanda Bynes is another example of a celebrity who faced the spotlight at such a young age.

Amanda has spoken about her conservatorship recently on Instagram. She apologises for “putting her problems out on to the internet” and thanks to her fans for the support they have given her through her hard times. She has faced problems with addiction and drug use, resulting in her going to rehab. Amanda was able to decide for herself that she wanted to get treatment after a relapse so she could continue on with her life and career. She now is one year sober and now is taking the issue with her conservatorship to court. The actress speaks out about how she knows what would be best for her, and it would be financially efficient for her to see a therapist rather than attend the “treatment centre” she is currently in. 

There are now accusations thrown towards Dan Schneider, Nickelodeon’s infamous producer. Presentments like these are not new in regards to Dan Schneider. Many former Nickelodeon stars have been outspoken about his treatment of them on set. Numerous accounts believe that the abuse she experienced from Schneider could have been the catalyst to her breakdown. Other cast members on shows such as iCarly and Victorious experienced inappropriate behaviour from Schneider, and he was commonly known for targeting his female actors.

Former iCarly star, Jennette McCurdy, speaks on childhood stardom and the cause of mental breakdowns. She talks about society’s fascination with celebrities’ mental issues and particularly celebrities who have been famous since they were young. The actress speaks about how fame and paparazzi made her “anxious” and her life more “difficult.” She then goes on to discuss how fame is not as glamorous as society makes it out to be, and it is not truly the lifestyle you would want to have.

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Alison Law

Alison is a college student and writer passionate about the environment, fashion, animals and coffee.

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