Sady Doyle's Trainwreck explores the women we love to hate – GlobalComment.com
If you keep up with celebrity gossip or entertainment news, you’ve seen her: the “promising,” talented ingénue who just can’t stay away from drugs or alcohol, who “parties too much,” and/or whose drunken antics or various body parts have been photographed by the paps — forever immortalized in “embarrassing” candid photos that show up on the internet within hours. She’s the “trainwreck,” and, as feminist writer (and Global Comment contributor) Sady Doyle argues in a new book of the same name, the ways in which stories about these “out-of-control” young starlets are consumed and recycled should alarm feminists and celebrity gossip fans alike.
The current iterations of the “trainwreck,” as constructed by media-heavy celebrity culture in the Western world, tend to have several characteristics in common. As Doyle explains in Trainwreck’s preface, media narratives and public perceptions of the celebrity trainwreck tends to focus on a very specific type of woman: “Say the word ‘celebrity trainwreck’ and the image immediately appears: Young, pretty, most likely blonde, and in some degree of high-gloss disarray, pinned between the club and the door of her limousine by a wall of flashing cameras. She’s drunk, or she’s high, or she’s naked, or she’s crying—or she will be, anyway, by the end of the night. The cameras are there to testify to her impending doom. They’re there so we can watch it happen. Hence the etymology, actually […] this person is going to suffer, horribly, exceptionally, and you won’t look away, because you enjoy it.“ From there, Doyle takes readers on a vastly troubling journey into a media hell — and its audience, the viewing/Tweeting/blogging/clicking public — that not-so-secretly wants to see women of a certain level of fame and notoriety fall hard.
Should one make the mistake of thinking that the figure of the