Monday, December 12, 2005

The Money Girls

A few weeks ago, the L.A. gossip blog Defamer (the tinseltown sister of the NY gossip blog Gawker) ran a tidbit about the ten highest paid actresses in the biz. You can consult the defaming experts for the fully skinny on what these girls make, but here are the names in question, ranked in order of most valuable to least (as their pay ranges from 20 million to 9, the word least here is extremely relative):

Julia Roberts
Nicole Kidman
Reese Witherspoon
Drew Barrymore
Rene Zellweger
Angelina Jolie
Cameron Diaz
Jodie Foster
Charlize Theron
Jennifer Aniston

I just think this list tells us so much about what we as a culture value in our women. All young, white and skinny. Predominately blond or blond-ish. Predominately expert at the sweet, goofy, lost, vulnerable, bumbling sort of a role. Predominately incapable of managing their personal lives. We’ve got mostly good girls (Julia, Reese, Cameron, Jennifer, Rene). A couple bad girls (Angelina and possibly, in a stretch, Nicole). But a definite lack of complicated girls who stretch our imaginations, not even one of those sharp, sexy femme fatales of yore. A few of these have tackled rough, complicated, not entirely likable roles in the past – think Jodie Foster in "The Accused," Charlize Theron in "Monster," Nicole Kidman in "To Die For" — but it's stuff like "Charlie’s Angels" and "Legally Blond" that’s made them America’s gold-plated sweethearts. In fact, if not for the fact that Jodie Foster (god bless her) is still clinging to the bottom end of that list, this could easily double as the cast for the next Victoria’s Secret prime time fashion show.

Let’s face it. We don’t like our women strong and complicated. Even though they are. I guess my point here is to encourage women to fight it. Don’t sugarcoat and sanitize yourself. Be strong and complicated. Hell, be a femme fatale if you can pull it off. I wish I could. Do whatever you want, but don’t fall for the message (engineered mostly be men wishing like hell they could bag her) that Cameron Diaz is the new feminine ideal. Hollywood may not be able to better than that, but we can.

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