Celebrities, Celebrity Gossip, & Me. When did the scandal occur? Who was involved? 

Celebrities, Celebrity Gossip, & Me When did the scandal occur? Who was involved? 

In her Webstock talk, Anne Helen Petersen describes how celebrity scandals can disrupt ideology and that gossip about a scandal can “trouble what was once framed as natural” by providing space for audiences to have conversations about dominant values and behaviors.

Petersen used the example of Rock Hudson and how gossip around his homosexuality and death from HIV/AIDS changed the way people talked about and thought about homosexuality.  She also mentioned Ingrid Bergman and how Bergman’s infidelity was treated harshly in the 1950s, yet today infidelity is not treated in the same way–it is not as taboo as it was in the 1950s.

Identify and describe a celebrity scandal YOU remember occurring in YOUR lifetime.  Use the internet to refresh your memory about the scandal and how different people talked about it. Write a 1000+ word (3-4 pages) essay analyzing your scandal. Your essay should address the following questions: 

  • When did the scandal occur? Who was involved? 
  • What issue or issues did the scandal bring to light? 
  • What did the celebrity or celebrities involved in the scandal represent before the scandal?  What did the celebrity or celebrities involved in the scandal represent after the scandal? 
  • What ideology did the scandal disrupt? (Peterson explains ideology in her talk.  Be sure you understand it and how it works because I am asking you to apply the concept!)
  • How did talk about the scandal and the celebrity or celebrities involved change public thinking on the issue raised by the scandal?   
  • Why do you think the scandal stands out to you? Why do you think you chose to write about the scandal?

This activity’s goal is not for you to take a side on the scandal you identify and discuss.  Instead, the goal is to analyze celebrity image and gossip as a space where ideology is reinforced, contested, or challenged.  

*Please format your essay using the MLA format (Links to an external site.). Your essay should be at least 1000 words in length or 3-4 pages since you need to explain the scandal before analyzing it.  Please use paragraphs and organize your thoughts into a well-structured essay.  If there is a specific quote you found significant from the assigned chapter or video, then quote it, but be sure to explain why what you are quoting is important. Don’t plagiarize!

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