Americans are obsessed with celebrities. While our fascination withfame intensified throughout the twentieth century, the rise of theweekly gossip magazine in the early 2000s confirmed and fueled ourpopular culture’s celebrity mania. After a decade of dietsand dates, breakups and baby bumps, celebrity gossip magazinescontinue to sell millions of issues each week. Why are readers,especially young women, so attracted to these magazines? Whatpleasures do they offer us? And why do we read them, even when wedisagree with the images of femininity that they splash acrosstheir hot-pink covers?Andrea McDonnell answers these questions with the help ofinterviews from editors and readers, and her own textual and visualanalysis. McDonnell’s perspective is multifaceted; sheexamines the notorious narratives of celebrity gossip magazines aswell as the genre’s core features, such as the "Just Like Us"photo montage and the "Who Wore It Best?" poll. McDonnell showsthat, despite their trivial reputation, celebrity gossip magazinesserve as an important site of engagement for their readers, who usethese texts to generate conversation, manage relationships, andconsider their own ideas and values.
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About the Author
Andrea McDonnell is Visiting Assistant Professor at Emmanuel College, Boston.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Celebrity Gossip Magazines in American Popular Culture
1. Gendering Celebrity Gossip
2. All About Us: Celebrity Gossip Magazines and the Female Reader
3. Stars on Earth: The Paradox of Ordinary Celebrity
4. Making Morality Meaningful
5. Ambiguously Truthful
Conclusion: On Pleasure and the Popular