I sometimes have been known to read UK papers online, not intellectual broadsheets but those dreadful little papers chocker full of gossip. Guilty.
And today while I was reading it (looking for an intellectual, political or perhaps financial article) I stumbled upon an article about Reese Witherspoon with a headline something like "Life's a beach! Reese Witherspoon hits the Hawaiian sands in a tiny bikini which shows off her curvy figure and stomach tattoo". Seriously, what kind of writers are they using to create this powerful prose? Ok, so I wanted to check out the tattoo, because I don't imagine our wholesome Reese as a stomach tattoo kind of girl (and it is a big one too). But as I read the article, I was staggered. She was at the beach with her family. She was in her swimmers.
There was 16 photos of her. Staggering.
There was maybe a couple of hundred words at the most, and that's probably a little generous. And look, even though the article mentioned the word "curvy", a number of times, the rest of the article, was just fine, bland and clearly struggling to make a story out of an actress enjoying a day at the beach with her partner and kids. But what an absolute intrusion of privacy. There seemed to be the intent of taking as many unflattering shots as possible. Hello, although this is Reese Witherspoon, she doesn't have to be Red Carpet Ready at the beach. And when a swim suit gets wet, it sags, and when you've had two kids, you do too.
I'm not sure what I'm more enraged by - the need to spy on a family's private life, with a long lens camera for a lame headline, or the need to publish so many images, with a subtle innuendo of "look at her curves, interesting hmmm...".
Maybe there are people out there who enjoy the pleasure of looking at at a perceived weight gain, loss, or less than perfect moment, maybe it makes "stars" more real, more approachable, more likeable. I'm not sure. But what I do know is that I felt uncomfortable that there was an unspoken message being presented by the sheer number of similar shots. Reese and her "curves" in her bathing suit. I wonder what the East End watching, lager drinking, pie and mushy pea eating editor who ok'ed this article, looks like in his or her swimmers. And whether they'd be fine with so many images of themselves presented so deliberately. But sadly, I think they're just catering to their readers, and the sort of trash they want to read.
I'm going back to the broadsheets.