Angelina Jolie / Wikimedia Commons
Owing to the fact I’m not a bored middle-aged gossip, I never purchase those glossy tabloid rags you see at supermarket counters. Why would I pay $5.30 for some made-up celebrity drama, when I have the internet – and can read all the made-up celebrity drama I desire for free.
But I’d have to have been living under a rock to not be aware of the characters those publications have created. They’re such a part of the public consciousness (and so at odds, I suspect, with the real people who unwittingly play them) they sort of exist in their own parallel universe.
The Royals play a leading role – even if the boring boys born into the institution are barely given lip service. It’s the women who marry in who really do numbers – women, as we know, are far riper for suspicion than men. There’s Goody-Two-Shoes Kate, Untrustworthy Meghan, Bitter Camilla, and of course, Saint Diana (formerly Scandalous Diana, until she was martyred).
Then there are those ever-divorcing Beckhams, the salacious and shameful Kardashians, and any young celeb who dare frequent the beach with an ounce of cellulite on her body.
And of course, and this still boggles me, there’s Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie.
In 2005 we were 5 years post-Y2K, Helen Clark was in her third term, and Hollywood’s dream couple got divorced. I was 12 at the time, and I remember being vaguely aware that Rachel’s husband had been stolen by Lara Croft. I’m now 25, and the sordid ordeal still makes the shiny pages on a weekly basis.
The reason the tale has such longevity, I suspect, is because the characters were so easily divided into super clear, and opposing, archetypes. Aniston, who made wholesome movies, ostensibly for women, was the Madonna. Jolie, who made darker films, ostensibly for men, was the Whore. Brad, the supposed cheater, was the helpless male – I mean, it’s no fun holding a man to account, is it?
The truth, of course, is likely much more boring, and certainly much more nuanced than the narrative we’ve been fed by the tabloid media. Word has come from all sides that there was never any relationship overlap (info that’s duly ignored by the corner-dairy rags), and Aniston herself recently stated; ‘with all due respect, I’m not heartbroken.’ She was referring to the end of her recent marriage, but what she really nails with that line is the public desire to perceive her as a victim.
I know I’d resent being seen as such. Especially if, in reality, I was one of the highest paid actresses in the world.
The flip side of this narrative is that Ange is still considered a devil-woman. Now, I’m of the opinion that if you’re violently disliked by the narrow-minded tabloid media, you’re probably doing something right. But let’s dig in a little deeper.
To this day, corner-dairy headlines inform me that Brad and Jen are getting back together/Jen and Ange are throwing shade/Jen is dating a Brad lookalike/Ange is a rabid bitch, hellbent on destroying the lives and wrecking the homes of all who surround her...
When Jolie starred in the Disney film Maleficent, I remember thinking the story seemed symbolic of her presence in Hollywood. Where other celebs played princes and princesses, Jolie was always a dark queen – doing it her own way, and not caring to make friends.
I’ve always deeply admired Angelina Jolie. She’s a tatted up bisexual icon, who makes difficult and brooding films (even more so as a director), and bold life-choices. She's set up multiple charitable foundations, works as a goodwill ambassador to the UN, and has received an honorary damehood for her efforts to end sexual violence against girls.
A tangential trait I find relatable about Jolie is that she’s never seen with a horde of friends, celebrity or otherwise. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say she’s an introvert, much like myself, who sometimes finds it difficult to connect with people, but who harbours a deep personal life. Although that’s all personal conjecture, I suspect it’s partly why she hasn’t endeared herself to some women.
I was inspired to write this article after noticing a couple of Ange headlines in the last month. One read Ange’s Evil New Plan. Another read Kids Flee Evil Ange. It was the word evil that really stopped me in my tracks. I might have even muttered an audible Jesus.
I think the world-at-large is afraid of individualistic women who know their own minds. Women who don’t kowtow to societal pressures. Women who don’t pretend to be something they’re not. I think the word for that type of woman is villainesse.
Another word is badass.Support Villainesse