From Britney Spears to Blake Lively: is it time to reformulate forever the job of the ‘paparazzi’?

I remember that, growing up, I perceived celebrities as beings of another species, strange animals belonging to a plane other than mine. I didn’t think they were better or worse, just different. I understood that we were allowed to look at them through glass (just as, in a zoo, you stand in front of orangutans and tigers), and it did not occur to me that there was a greater limit than the range of my eyes. If material was offered to us, it was normal to consume it; the more material we were offered, the better.

Two days ago, Blake Lively uploaded to Instagram a series of photographs showing her pregnancy. In the accompanying text, she lamented the presence of paparazzi at her door, a particularly stressful fact when —as is the case— the persecuted adults have minor children. The complaint is not new (the fight for the right to privacy is a classic in the gossip press), but, in current times, the media in charge of covering matters related to popular culture are facing a problem of coherence . Immersed in the era of consent, a concept that we also defend, how far is it permissible to go?

In the past, blogs like Perez Hilton’s updated me daily on the progressive decomposition of Amy Winehouseon the alienation of britney, about the hidden sexuality of celebrities in the closet. I knew every detail of the infidelity of David a Victoryof the skirmishes of Lindsay Lohan and its conflicts with Hillary Duff. Eating disorders, addictions, tremendous falls into the mud… These websites ridiculed the emotional fluctuations of suffering humans; humans who dissolved controversies by sending communiqués, defended themselves against aggressive journalists and only expressed themselves during promotional tours. Then Instagram came along, and suddenly those humans took control over the story, completely altering the landscape. The selfie they imposed themselves (on a real and metaphorical level); beings of another species jumped onto our plane to reveal themselves as similar.

With the advent of social media, awareness also came. Feminism spread and established the convenience of respecting the will of others and personal space. We started talking about psychological health. We review, through documentaries and adaptations, the humiliating treatment we gave to certain figures and, ultimately, we embark on a collective exercise of self-criticism. So how, as of September 2022, is harassment justified by having a group of strangers stalk you every time you step out onto the street? What Blake Lively has done is reclaim the chance to expose his life on his own terms, taking on that holdout of the old guard that is a certain kind of reporter. What role is reserved for the latter in the present that we star?

Today is not free of contradictions, it is a confusing time. Any twitter user goes from posting a thread denouncing abusive behavior to turning the actor on duty into a meme. DeuxMoi, the profile dedicated to displaying anonymous messages with information about celebrities, accumulates a million and a half followers. At the time I write these lines, a model tells through TikTok that she was a lover of Adam Levine (his wife is expecting a baby and will have found out like the rest of the planet).

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