Let’s just put this out there for all those indignant souls complaining about the way L’Wren Scott’s suicide has been treated by much of the press: As far as 95% of America is concerned, the most instantly noteworthy thing about Scott is that she was Mick Jagger’s girlfriend. With that in mind, the press outlets touting her as such right off the bat, as a means of identifying her to their audience, are basically doing it because it makes for a headline that grabs that audience’s attention — certainly more than “Fashion Designer Commits Suicide” would. Is it unfortunate? Yes, very much so — but it’s reality.
The Huffington Post in particular is going apeshitright now over the fact that so many media outlets are choosing to reduce a woman who was well-known and highly accomplished in her field to merely being somebody famous’s girlfriend. Given that Scott killed herself it feels like a particularly shameful kind of insult, and in many ways it is. But it goes without saying that while Scott is a celebrity in her own right, Jagger’s a bigger celebrity. A much bigger celebrity. As in, if you went up to the average person and asked who L’Wren Scott is he or she might not have any idea unless that person knows something about fashion; if you asked the average man or woman on the street who Mick Jagger is, well, you get the idea. And as far as the press goes, when you’re trying to hook viewers, readers, etc. you go with the name that’ll stop people in their tracks. Jagger’s name in the headline does that. It sells tickets. It also creates a question in the audience’s mind about whether Jagger was somehow involved the death, and that, again, sells tickets.
You can argue that this is entirely unfair, because it is, but in the desperate race for page-views and eyeballs the role of the press these days — and certainly the point of a headline — isn’t necessarily to be a standard bearer for political correctness. As long as the facts are correct, that’s pretty much all most outlets will need. And L’Wren Scott was tied romantically to Mick Jagger. It’s relevant but certainly not the only thing or even the most important thing Scott should be known for, but the media don’t deal in what should be, they deal in what is. It sucks, but these days it’s the nature of the business. The really crappy thing is that if Scott hadn’t been Jagger’s girlfriend half these idiots wouldn’t even have bothered giving her death the copy-space and airtime it’s getting right now.