Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Trashy, Tarty, Trust-Fund Babes

Australians are avid readers of magazines. In 2005, they bought over 300 million of them or 18 per person.The top 100 magazines purchased are published each year. The list is dominated by Women's Weeklies. However the fastest growing area is the Celebrity sector, spearheaded by market leaders OK and Hello.

Sadly the two publications that i subscribe to (The Economist and Quadrant) do not feature in the Top 100 list as current affairs and news magazines take up a paltry 5% of total circulation.

Within the celebrity sector, the last two years has witnessed the rise of the trashy, tarty, trust-fund babe. As more and more trash mags litter the newsagents stalls, the diversity of people they feature has dwindled to a hard core of just seven uber-celebs.

For those who have never perused such magazines, (i.e. almost no-one) they are in no particular order Nicole Ritchie, Britney Spears, Jessica and Ashley Simpson, Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan and the undisputed Queen of Trash, Paris Hilton.

You may write off these girls as irrelevant D-listers but their ability to shift magazines that would clear rainforests the size of a small European country is unrivalled. People (and in particular, women) are just fascinated by these seven girls.

But they are talentless nobodies, i hear you cry. Yes they are - but that's the whole point. For to join this elite group, you must possess the following characteristics;

  • no discernible talent whatsoever (Angelina is the only member of this group who has any talent but she's mad as bar of soap and her life is a disaster area)
  • do nothing of any value to society (dont join UNICEF, ask for world peace or get serious, just party)
  • be quite good-looking (Jennifer Aniston used to be in the magic circle but her star is waning due to her unnatural good looks, ability to act and all-round decent personality)
  • an IQ just above your average eleven year old (Hilary Swank is way too smart to join the club)
  • prepare to have your life filmed 24/7
  • take drugs (at a minimum cocaine, but preferably dabble in heroin). Kate Moss is a British member of the club, entirely due to anorexia and cocaine
  • be single, have lots of sex (ideally published on the web) and change your partner a lot (if you do marry, then make sure it is to someone who everyone knows is completely unsuitable, Britney)
  • cry a lot, argue a lot
  • have various eating disorders, ideally leading to dramatic weight loss and gains (Nicole, Lindsay)
  • undergo regular bizarre plastic surgery resulting in a complete face change (Ashley)
  • live off Dad's (huge) pile

So why do women just love reading about them? My theory is that these train-wrecks make us feel good about ourselves. We can't feel superior reading about Jennifer Aniston or Kiera Knightley but we sure as hell can about Nicole or Lindsay. They are basically the girl next door who won the lottery. They are, in fact, us. They are the ultimate reality show. God bless them all.