Media Mavericks

Back in the 1980’s and part of the 1990’s before the internet really took hold, divorce was just as scandalous as an affair. People could be winners in the image race by how they behaved and took charge of the problem for example Ivana Trump came out the model for first wives everywhere. Ivana Trump is best known, not for for her business savvy or multiple marriages afterwards but for her famous saying “Don’t get mad, get everything.” Prince Charles is still recovering his image from Princess Diana’s manipulation of the media. Diana was a media maverick in that she was able to get her causes publicity because she gave what the people wanted, a story line of unhappily ever after. She gave details to the public so they felt like they knew her and could relate but they never knew her next move. Princess Diana was always three steps ahead until her death.

Now in the time of social media, marriages and child rearing can spawn into lifestyle websites. Take for instance the latest in trends “Conscious Uncoupling”, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have announced on Gwyneth’s lifestyle website Goop that they will be ending their marriage in this manner. Goop is a website magazine that points out the positives that life has to offer.  Skeptics observe that this term is not a movement in how family’s are handling separation but the next move in living with divorce in the eyes of the media. By making “Concious Uncoupling” a trend it is actually an attempt in keeping within the positive imagery that Paltrow has portrayed throughout her career. The newest trend overall in divorce coverage is to give the media nothing to report by going out with the partner and looking romantic or amicable. Kris and Bruce Jenner have been showing signs of romantic gestures in public but Kris has been shown with a young boyfriend. In their case, it could be keeping up with the story lines of “Keeping up with the Kardashians”   No matter what the case may be, who will come out the winner?

Kris Jenner Bruce Jenner Holding Hands

 

 

Goop.com (2014). What’s goop?. Retrieved from:http://www.goop.com/about/whats-goop

Farrell, M.J. (1990). The trumps head for divorce court. People Magazine, (33) 8, Retrieved from: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20116915,00.html

McClear, S. (2014). Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s split has not stopped them from sticking together : Why celebrity couples cannot quit each other. NY Daily News, Retrieved from: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/celebs-gwyneth-paltrow-give-new-meaning-breaking-article-1.1746014

Roberts, R. (1997). The princess and the press: A dance ending in death. Washington Post. Retrieved from:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/diana/stories/press0904.htm

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12 Responses to Media Mavericks

  1. Michele says:

    Dawn,

    From what I’ve read “conscious uncoupling” could actually be a good trend in divorces but it is definitely a good thing for Gwyneth Paltrow and the image that she is trying to present as a lifestyle guru. Too bad that she almost simultaneously damaged that image in an interview with E! Online. I know a lot of people, especially younger women, who have been big fans of goop but even they were turned off by her comments that being a film star and mother is much harder than being a parent with a 9-to-5 job. Can you imagine the loss of sympathy if Princess Diana had gone from being the cheated-upon spouse to saying how much harder it was to be royalty while raising two young children than it would be to have a 9-to-5 job? I wonder how that will play out for Gwyneth and her brand long term?

    I heard an interview of Kris Kardashian a while back and I have a feeling that she’ll end up turning her split into something positive for her brand. She definitely seems be be focused and knows how to use the media to her advantage. Unless Bruce does something that allows her to present herself as the aggrieved spouse, I have a feeling you’ll keep seeing those amicable gestures in public.

    It’s all really interesting. Celebrity images aren’t managed as closely as they were in the studio days but they are still pretty carefully managed, aren’t they?

    • Dawn says:

      I think that anytime that an individual is a brand their personal actions are carefully managed. The action may or may not make money for them in their next project. An actor cannot just be an actor, in order to stay relevant they have to rely on other sources of income. I like what goop represents but I cannot take Paltrow’s reality as real. I just was struck by how they decided to divorce and looked at how others are behaving. I think everyone wants a Bruce and Demi type divorce instead of The Trump’s.
      Thank you for interest and great viewpoint. Dawn

  2. Pete says:

    Dawn:
    This is only an issue in America, right? But it works and it sells. It sells millions upon millions. Whether magazines, cell phone apps, Americans want to know about the latest Hollywood marriage to fall apart. Both spouses do not even have to be so-called celebrities in the new world order of reality T.V. shows. Celebrity used to imply some kind of talent, profession, line or work, gift, etc. But no more. I like Time, Sports Ill. magazines — I am a news, international relations and sports kind of junkie. But the magazines which are closest to the register at any airport newsstand from Los Angeles and Las Vegas to Omaha and Orlando is … People, US Weekly and so forth. That says everything we need to know, eh?
    Well done post, congrats! -pete

    • Dawn says:

      I think that anytime that an individual is a brand their personal actions are carefully managed. The action may or may not make money for them in their next project. An actor cannot just be an actor, in order to stay relevant they have to rely on other sources of income. I like what goop represents but I cannot take Paltrow’s reality as real. I just was struck by how they decided to divorce and looked at how others are behaving. I think everyone wants a Bruce and Demi type divorce instead of The Trump’s.
      Thank you for interest and great viewpoint. Dawn

  3. Dante Allen says:

    Interesting post Dawn. Though I am certainly too young (wishful thinking) or probably too unaware to remember the press surrounding the Trumps’ divorce, I can see why the idea is so appealing to the masses. Divorce is one of the last bastions in life (aside from reality TV) where it really is okay to behave badly. People explain poor decisions all the time just by saying they were going through a difficult divorce. I like that there is a way now to market your breakup to still fit in line with an image. You too can turn a very negative experience into one of the most positive things that could ever happen to you.

    • Dawn says:

      I think that anytime that an individual is a brand their personal actions are carefully managed. The action may or may not make money for them in their next project. An actor cannot just be an actor, in order to stay relevant they have to rely on other sources of income. I like what goop represents but I cannot take Paltrow’s reality as real. I just was struck by how they decided to divorce and looked at how others are behaving. I think everyone wants a Bruce and Demi type divorce instead of The Trump’s.
      Thank you for interest and great viewpoint. Dawn

    • Dawn says:

      Dante,

      I was too young to remember The Trumps and Princess Diana in her prime- not really. I personally believe in turning a negative into a positive no matter what the circumstance and every action is either towards your brand as a personality or against it. In Paltrow’s case, she has a lot to protect. The Jenner’s have a story line that has to be played out so there is a lot at stack. Whereas, before our time whoever could capture the media’s good side was the winner. Thank you – Dawn

  4. Jared Maxwell says:

    Hi Dawn,
    Great post, especially with how you pointed out how people just have such a natural charisma with the media before the 21st century and during. It’s amazing how the news gets reported with such trends this day in age. Twenty years ago, we would get our news from the television or tabloids, and those things syndicated to us on the media’s own terms. Now, in the age of social media, it seems as though the word travels too fast. But in some cases, because all celebrities have their own brand of communication because of social media and websites, they can release personal news of their lives on their own terms. This was a good read and a good topic to think about, Dawn.

    -Jared

    • Dawn says:

      Thank you, Jared

      Yes, I agree everything is on their terms now instead of tabloid press. Lindsey Lohan said this week on The View that she takes selfies to desensitize anything that the paparazzi might catch and angle it as scandal. It is another for Lindsey to live her life and self-promote.
      Dawn

  5. Nick Dempsey says:

    What an interesting perspective on divorce. The Family law court system is already depressing enough, especially when children are involved. Celebrities also have to try their divorce cases in the media which is even more sad. I think you are right though, divorce used to be a very scandalous event, but now it seems like celebrity divorces are so frequent we can set an egg timer to them.

    • Dawn says:

      Yes, Nick- an egg timer and “nice”. I am not sure we need to have divorce painted so positively when it is so difficult on children. This everyone is okay may backfire. We will see how long this trend will last.

      Dawn

  6. Jeffrey says:

    Hi Dawn,
    You bring up a great point about the uncoupling being a concerted attempt to sidestep the media criticism and public scrutiny. After all, the public loves drama (and the paparazzi love to stir it up) – what better way to keep people off their backs than by making it seem like simply an amicable situation that they are approaching in a way they seem almost proud of? It certainly is a different approach than we’ve seen in the public sphere thus far, and it will be interesting to see if this situation is a prelude to a fad among celebrity couples who find themselves experiencing irreconcilable differences…
    Thanks for sharing!
    -Jeff M