When The Onion fired off its infamous Quvenzhané Wallis tweet during the 2013 Oscars, the target of its blistering satire wasn’t the young actress — it was us. The joke was about the public’s fascination with building up and then tearing down female celebrities, even though they may have done nothing to deserve our anger. There’s no better poster child for this phenomenon than Anne Hathaway.
Unlike celebrities who get arrestedregularly, or who actively show us that they’re petty and obnoxious, Hathaway’s worst crime was always seeming like a terrible person. Lengthy pieces were written about our collective distaste for her and an entire industry sprang up around calling her out for being an imperious phony. But aside from her being talented enough to win an Academy Award and gorgeous enough to grace the covers of magazines, what did we honestly know about the woman? Hathaway is a perfect example of how a snarky media narrative can come to dominate any and all conversations about someone famous.
To her credit, Anne Hathaway appears to know this. In an interview with The Huffington Post back in January, she admitted that she felt like people needed a break from her, and now she elaborates on that theme in a new interview in Elle UK. She says, “This fame thing? Fucked me up for a really long time. I didn’t know how to do it; I didn’t know how to engage with it; it stressed me out. And people would say, ‘You just have to be yourself,’ and I was like, ‘But I don’t know who that is yet!'”
Self-described “Hathaway Haters” will probably see this as one more attempt at self-effacement from a woman who can turn even humility into pretension. But the reason I’m even bothering to write about this is that all that ridiculous venom is based on nothing but our own assumptions that then coalesce into a single, ugly media narrative. We have no fucking clue what Anne Hathaway is really like and yet a bunch of us came together and decreed that she was a bad person — because we didn’t like the way she accepted an award or because she wasn’t goofy and approachable like Jennifer Lawrence.
That’s not her fault — it’s ours.
(h/t JoRo at Vanity Fair)
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.