Eleanor Fitzsimons

Fame & Shame

The Drama of Celebrity

By

Princeton University Press 318pp £24 order from our bookshop

In an interview she gave to Marie Claire in June 2016, the American singer, actress and producer Selena Gomez, aged twenty-three at the time and enduring relentless media scrutiny, insisted, ‘I don’t want people to look at me as someone who is just this celebrity person.’ Gomez’s desire to be respected for her achievements illustrates perfectly Sharon Marcus’s assertion in The Drama of Celebrity that modern commentators and consumers frequently link celebrity with ‘superficiality, artifice, and irrationality’. Marcus goes so far as to suggest that ‘many now equate celebrity with worthlessness’. She believes that, while the evaluation of merit has always been at the core of celebrity culture, the manner in which we value celebrity, often through the prism of gender, has shifted. Successful women threaten long-established hierarchies. Consequently, a male celebrity remains more likely to be considered deserving of fame than his female counterpart. A female celebrity, Marcus states, is ‘likely to find her success derided and dismissed’, even when it is the ‘result of exceptional talent’.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,