On the Net: The Sexual Double Standards of Celebrities.

When it comes to the sexual politics of celebrities and blatant double standards between the genders in Hollywood, Clementine Ford sums it up best in a recent Daily Life piece:

“Kristen Stewart has found herself in a similar position [to Lara Bingle and her affair with Brendan Fevola] after the revelation she had an affair with the married director of Snow White and the Hunstman. The much older Rupert Sanders has a wife and children, but it’s Stewart who’s been labelled a ‘trampire’ and a home wrecker. A recent US tabloid cover story warned Jennifer Garner to be ‘very, very worried’ at the news Stewart was in talks with Ben Affleck to make a film together. For Stewart and Bingle, the message is clear—they were caught using their sexuality inappropriately, and now they have to pay the consequences. Sanders and Fevola have since gone back to their wives. Unlike Stewart, Sanders didn’t lose the lucrative contract to work on the next Snow White film. Meanwhile, Fevola has since featured on Channel Seven’s Dancing With The Stars, and shared the reconciliation with his wife in a saccharine spread for New Idea. Will their sexual indiscretions and choices follow them around, ad infinitum? It’s highly unlikely.”

A girl after my own heart.

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

In Defence of Lara Bingle.

Was Kristen Stewart’s Public Apology Really Necessary?

Elsewhere: [Daily Life] The Purity Complex.

[TheVine] All Dogs Go to Seven.

In Defence of Lara Bingle.

Not since Nicole Kidman and Delta Goodrem have we seen an Aussie woman polarise the population like Lara Bingle.

Traditionally, we don’t respond well to reality television and its stars who get too big for their britches: remember the Heidi Montag–10 plastic surgeries in one day hullabaloo? Or the whole Kardashian family, especially after Kim’s 72-day marriage and subsequent divorce proceedings. While there are some reality stars who’ve come out on top of the collective consciousness (Nicole Richie, the MasterChef contestants, and mostly those who participate in shows based on talent and skill and from which a winner is chosen based on these things), most are destined for a life of C-list celebrity and/or the descent of their career. Being Lara Bingle so far would indicate the latter.

Almost one million tuned in to the premiere episode, in which the nude-pics-on-the-balcony violation was dealt with, but since then, the show has failed to return to these numbers, with last night’s final coming in last place amongst the three big networks. My party line when it came to watching the show was that “it’s for research”, but despite the inanity that was Being Lara Bingle, I actually like—and have some sympathy for—the show’s namesake for this reason: what has Bingle done to incite such hatred?

On a train ride home on a Tuesday night which meant I’d miss the show (that’s what the Ten video player is for), I raised this issue with friends. One shriveled his face in disgust while the other proclaimed that she didn’t like the way Bingle dragged Michael Clarke’s name through the mud. Upon further inspection, I couldn’t find any evidence to support this assertion; in fact, everything I’ve read and seen on the show indicates that Bingle and Clarke split amicably, and Bingle still speaks of him fondly.

So what did my friend mean by saying that Bingle tarnished Clarke’s image? I dare say what everyone else means when they talk smack about Bingle: that she’s “not good enough” for Clarke. That she’s an untalented famewhore who trades on her looks for money. How this is any different from the career of someone like Gisele Bündchen or Heidi Klum, who also has several of her own reality shows, I don’t know.

What I do know, however, is that the bullying of Bingle is about misogyny. We don’t like her because she’s a young, attractive woman who uses her looks and body to get ahead and is unapologetic about it. What troubles me is that we dedicate countless column inches, a trend which I’m no doubt contributing to with this article, to berating or defending Bingle, whilst male celebs like Ashton Kutcher, his Two & a Half Men predecessor Charlie Sheen, and Bingle’s former lover Brendan Fevola, get away with murder… or what could be seen as attempted murder, in the multiple intimate partner assault allegations against Sheen. (Just look at the Kristen Stewart-cheating scandal. Sure, she’s just as much to blame as her married-with-children car-sex buddy, but we seem to be heaping the shame onto only her.)

Maybe it’s because before all the sex, drugs and debauchery surrounding Sheen, he was once a good actor. Maybe it’s despite—or perhaps because of—Kutcher’s cheating, he’s a very successful businessman as well as actor. Maybe, according to Roger Franklin writing in Good Weekend, Fevola is just a “lovable larrikin” gone down the wrong path. But how are histories riddle with drugs, violence, infidelity, gambling problems, abuses of power and lewd behavior, amongst other things, spread across these three men better—or at least more acceptable—than Bingle’s relatively mundane existence?

Like Kim Kardashian, who rose to notoriety via a sex scandal and not much else, Bingle is apparently trading on her status as a “celebrity” or “personality” as opposed to hard work and talent. The quintessential tall poppy, you might say.

Funnily enough, for those who tuned out after the first few episodes and those who never tuned in at all, they missed out on seeing the “real” Lara Bingle—as the reality effort was so often touted as attempting to show—as the series drew to a close. As friend and fashion designer Peter Morrissey told Bingle last night, “you need to show people the real you,” not the perception of Lara the media presents that they initially expect to meet.

Obviously, no reality show is ever going to project a true image of someone. I dare say we can never truly project a true image of ourselves to even our nearest and dearest, as no one really knows us better and can understand our idiosyncrasies and contradictions better than ourselves. But Lara Bingle isn’t exactly the worst—or most un-real—person to grace our television screens. She may be pretty boring in that girl-next-door way, but at least hasn’t hurt anyone, which is more than I can say for some others.

Related: Shaming Lara Bingle. 

Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less? 

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Charlie Sheen’s Witness. 

Was Kristen Stewart’s Public Apology Really Necessary? 

Lara Bingle in Who: A Prized Tall Poppy Who Polarises.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Why Does Nicole Kidman Inspire Such Vitriol? Seriously, Why? 

[MamaMia] Enough With the Delta Hate. Be Better Than That. 

[TheVine] No One Watched the Finale of Being Lara Bingle.

[TheVine] All Dogs go to Seven. 

Image via PedestrianTV.

TV: Being Bogan Bingle in the Shire.

 

I read a comment on MamaMia after the airing of The Shire on Monday night that asserted with Cronulla girl Lara Bingle and now The Shire, someone from Sutherland is calling the shots on Ten.

Last night on Being Lara Bingle, Lara’s brother Josh let his quintessential Cronulla bogan come through when he pleaded guilty in court to assaulting a fellow racegoer at Melbourne Cup three years ago. In the wake of Lara’s Famous cover, he admonished his sister for being fat. Can we get over this already? As Lara tells Erin McNaught in an interview for MTV, she’s a normal sized girl, so what are the magazines trying to tell women who might be bigger than average?

Lara, Josh and Lara’s friend, Cara, discuss her weight gain after her breakup with Michael Clarke, and Josh says most girls get skinny with stress, but Lara got fat. Lara tells him that most men don’t like anorexic girls like he does, and Josh defends himself, saying he just doesn’t like girls who are “fat”.

Lara tells the pair that if she was that fat when she broke up with Clarke, they should have said something to her. Josh tells her he told her she was fat every single day. Jeez, this guy sounds like a stand-up brother, amiright?

Just like on The Shire, a person’s primary value seems to be placed on their looks. It’s not about a woman’s “brains” or “ability”, as McNaught contends, just as long as they’re skinny.

Related: The Dire Shire.

Shaming Lara Bingle.

Who the Bloody Hell is Body-Bullying Lara Bingle?

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] The Shire: Did You Watch?

Image via Herald Sun.

TV: The Dire Shire.

 

There is no hope left for Australian TV if The Shire is airing on Ten, screamed my Facebook newsfeed last night. My question is: if you hate it, then why are you watching it?

Hypocritical, I know, as I watched the show that’s been dubbed Australia’s version of Jersey Shore but is closer to The Hills or Laguna Beach and it physically pained me. But it’s for research purposes, okay, like Being Lara Bingle and the upcoming Brynne Edelsten show!

Seriously, though, at least the cast of The Hills and Jersey Shore actually had lives, things going for them, and talked about stuff other than the way they look. Snooki was a vet technician before she went to Seaside Heights. Lauren Conrad agreed to have her life documented, with the “dramality” turned up to ten, in a bid to further her fashion career. Even after Heidi Montag underwent her physical transformation, she had other things to worry about: namely, Spencer. Her family and friends were shocked with her surgical enhancement; they didn’t encourage it as a way of life like The Shire cast does.

I’m not going to comment on whether Vernessa, Sophie and Beckaa look good, as there are thousands of online comments trolling their physical appearance to more than make up for my opinion. What bothers me, though, is that all they talk about is their looks. I wish my lips were bigger. I love my boob job. Let me suck the fat out of your thighs. Would you rather your children be pretty or smart? Gag me. At least Beckaa talks about money and shopping to break up the monotony of her recent Dubai nose job and whether she should get a breast augmentation.

The other “characters” whose looks aren’t their primary focus can’t act for shit. At least Lara Bingle feigns shock at her bestie and brother hooking up well. Former lovers Mitch and Gabrielle just widen their eyes and wiggle their foreheads up and down at each other. Which is more than Sophie and Vernessa can say…

But with all the backlash and pure virtriol being spewed on social media—and at water coolers today, no doubt—you have to wonder if Ten is taking the mickey. Of course they would have to know the dire lack of entertainment The Shire provides and are poking fun at the fact that these people exist, that they can make a show out of it, and that people will watch. The Shire might be getting attention for all the wrong reasons, but Ten’s the one who’s having the last laugh.

Related: Shaming Lara Bingle.

Brynne Edelsten’s “No Barbie”, But Should She Aspire to Be?

Image via Ten.

TV: Being Lara Bingle—What is Normal?

 

Last night we got a glimpse into the rigmarole that goes into Being Lara Bingle.

Lara attends Fashion Week and doesn’t like her hair and makeup done for her by her friend and stylist. She thinks she looks too dirty and her features don’t stand out (funny, I thought the same thing when I saw pap photos of her from the events), her hair is “too tight” and she “looks bald”, and she has a pimple coming up, which all-round nice guy Kyle Sandilands doesn’t fail to point out when Lara’s a guest on his radio show.

Juxtaposed with this is Lara’s insistence that she’s just “one of the boys” when she goes waterskiing with some friends in Cronulla. She says she’s a tomboy at heart. I’m not even going to go into the gender constructs at play here…

Moving on to what “normal people” do; apparently it’s not walking around your house naked. So we’re still on the naked photos from last week, then. Lara’s mum seems like a total bitch and obviously favours older brother Josh as she rips Lara to shreds for being “immature” and stupid for being caught in those pictures. I’ve said it once; I’ll say it again: it’s not normal not to walk around in your own home—indeed, in your own bedroom—naked. I admire Lara’s composure when she spoke about the scandal on The Project, which was filmed for her show, but it’s getting to the point now where I wish she had’ve just told everyone who’s got a problem with the nude pics that being naked is natural and she’s got nothing to be ashamed of.

Related: Lara Bingle in Who: A Prized Tall Poppy Who Polarises.

Shaming Lara Bingle.

Image via Ten.

Magazines: Lara Bingle in Who—A Prized Tall Poppy Who Polarises.

 

Following on from Being Lara Bingle’s debut on Tuesday night, Bingle is profiled in this week’s Who. While the actual show wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped it would be, the article does address some issues about Bingle’s public persona and just how hateful some people find her.

For example, one of the early creators of the reality show, John McAvoy of Eyeworks, said he “was intrigued at the obsession with her… She polarises like almost nobody else.”

But why so?

Bingle herself thinks it’s because of “this tall-poppy syndrome in Australia, it’s never ending.” True that. Just look at Australia’s sweetheart Delta Goodrem, who has apparently gotten too big for her boots coaching other young singers on The Voice.

Perhaps the most insightful comments about how people see Bingle—as someone who’s capitalising on her looks as her primary skill, and should be hated for it, I think—come from her bestie, Hermione. She says her new boyfriend, fashion designer Gareth Moody, “is able to love both sides [of Lara, the public Lara and the very private Lara], and not many men in her life have ever been able to do that. Lara usually attracts men who have massive egos—she represents a prize, she is someone who feeds their egos.”

Brendan Fevola comes to mind…

Related: Shaming Lara Bingle.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Delta Goodrem: What’s With All the Hate?

Image via Who.

TV: Shaming Lara Bingle.

 

Lara Bingle: she can’t catch a break, can she?

She was called a whore for her affair with Brendan Fevola, fat when she put on weight after her breakup with Michael Clarke, and an attention-seeking diva when it was revealed channel Ten would air her reality show, Being Lara Bingle, which premiered last night.

I actually like Lara Bingle and thought her show would be an opportunity for her to commentate on how she’s been treated by the media for being an attractive young woman who happens to trade on her looks as her job. TheVine wrote this in anticipation for what the show could be:

“After another vicious attack on her intelligence and relevance by the tabloids, Lara Bingle delivers a thirty minute long piece-to-camera about how she is the ultimate personification of the misogyny that is still inherent in Australian culture, particularly surrounding our sporting ‘heroes’. In this monologue, she will argue that she has been torn down for exactly the qualities that first made her famous—her youth, beauty and privilege. Drawing on the groundbreaking work by Anne Summers, Damned Whores and God’s Police, Bingle will suggest that our simultaneous adoration and condemnation of these qualities speak more to our view of women in this country as objects of either moral upright (or uptight)ness or sexual depravity, but never as fully rounded beings for themselves. She will tie this in to her own journey as a cultural artefact from covetable innocent on a virgin beach to disgraced, discarded mistress. Finally, she will conclude that as a beautiful young woman, she is a shiny scapegoat that is in many ways the opposite of those who are really disenfranchising and frustrating everyday, working Australian families. These puppet masters, who would throw her to the dogs to distract from their own shortcomings are typically ugly, old men.”

Like the one who was allegedly behind the naked pictures of her in her new apartment that were sold to the media a few weeks (months?) ago. Paparazzo Darryn Lyons, formerly Bingle’s friend, was said to be shopping images of Lara around, lending doubt to the credibility of Bingle’s violation.

This isn’t the first time nude pictures of the model have emerged. Remember the one in the shower taken by her ex Fevola, or the publication of unused photos from a German GQ shoot when she was an unknown model in Zoo Weekly once she’d hit the big time? Yes, Lara’s posed nude before in high fashion editorials, but that’s different; she consented to those. It’s plain to see that she did not consent to the tacky shower shot of her captured on Fev’s phone. No matter, the general public will still shame her for being a young, beautiful woman who loves the skin she’s in.

And even when she puts on a bit of weight, which she did last year and is sporting a more voluptuous figure these days, Bingle’s not free from public torment. In a Who cover story late last year, Bingle had this to say about her others’ battles with her body:

“Tread carefully, because it doesn’t just affect me, it affects all women who read it… They have to ask themselves, would they do that to their wives, girlfriends or sisters? It’s just a negative message that doesn’t help anyone… If I’m fat, how does that make a girl who is a size 12–14 feel, and that’s the size of an average Australian woman? It’s ridiculous.”

Also cashing in on the Bingle-hoopla is this week’s Famous, which has published months-old shots of Bingle on the beach showing a bit of cellulite and asking, is she “Fat or Fab?”

Lara attempted to address all this on last night’s episode, which conveniently dealt with the fallout of the Lyons balcony pics. Her bestie/roomie/manager-ie, Hermoine, tells Lara she needs to be more careful and show a “sense of responsibility” about her own body:

“You don’t just walk around naked.”

Um, in your own home you do. Hermoine confesses she doesn’t even walk around nude in her own bedroom, which I think reveals some deep-seated issues about sex and nudity. One thing Bingle’s got going for her is that she is unashamed of her body; my thinking is that if you’re in your own home and feel the desire to get nekkid, then why the fuck not?! If the paparazzi happen to use a zoom lens and trespass on private property to capture this, then that’s on them. But misogynists will always find a way to blame women for the unwanted attention their bodies generate: uncovered meat, amiright?

At the end of the day, “This is a world that everyone makes fun of, but… it’s my life.”

Related: Who the Bloody Hell is Body-Bullying Lara Bingle?

Elsewhere: [TheVine] 5 Things We Hope Happen on Being Lara Bingle Tonight.

Image via Famous.