So apparently the reason for Russell Brand and Katy Perry’s divorce is that she’s a drunken prudish party girl careerist who won’t just stay home, have Brand’s kids and watch cripple porn. Confused about how any of those things go together? Me too. But the reasons being propagated by various media for the divorce range from Perry being unable to satisfy Brand sexually to her refusal to stop ‘partying’ to the fact that she won’t just ‘settle down,’ stop touring and having children with Brand. Despite the sort of contradictory nature of all these accounts, the bottom line is clear—it’s all her fault—and so is the message: Even in 2012, a married woman’s goals, pleasure and career should take second place to her husband’s.
It’d be one thing if the coverage citing Brand’s list of complaints against Perry managed to come off even remotely critical of him. But instead we get accounts of Perry’s ‘boozy lifestyle’ alongside quotes about how all poor Brand wanted to do is “stay at home, do his yoga, keep his demons away and have a family with Katy.” Even when the coverage is purportedly telling ‘Katy’s side of the story,’ like the Us Weekly article referenced here, we get things like:
“When he asked Katy about [having kids],” the source says. “Katy would just smile and says she was too busy.”
“Russell can’t be in clubs because of his recovery and Katy didn’t want to give up the partying. She didn’t want to even compromise. That infuriated Russell.”
And even when the issues is Brand’s alleged sex addiction or propensity for “porno with a guy in a wheelchair,” we’re still sort of given the impression that it’s Perry who was lacking.
“Katy was kinky enough during their first times together and he was very attracted to her,” a source says. But the source goes on to say that despite Katy’s attempts to keep the spark alive in the bedroom by scheduling monthly date nights at swanky hotels, it was “never enough.”
I mean, if monthly date nights are her idea of ‘keeping the spark alive,’ no wonder she couldn’t fulfill Brand’s ‘sexual needs.’
Bonnie Fuller, executive editor of HollywoodLife.com and former editor of magazines like Marie Claire and Glamour, goes so far as to urge Katy to “fight for (her) man” because—are you ready for this?—any of his flaws only prove that he NEEDS her.
He married you because he was crazy about you and you were a shining light in his life. I bet you had tons of fun together and he liked the stability that your marriage offered him. But when you weren’t there and you were partying at times without him, he probably felt like you weren’t supporting him and his sobriety.
Katy – you can be there for him again, if you decide to make that a priority and that doesn’t mean that you have to put your enormously successful career on the back burner. You two just have to work together harder to coordinate your schedules and plan in time together.
Except that her ‘enormously successful career’ may have been the problem. Some accounts are mentioning that Brand wasn’t supportive of Perry’s career, said she wasn’t funny when she hosted Saturday Night Live or was ‘jealous’ that she was the bigger star. Of course, if information like this is included, it’s overwhelmingly tucked near the end of articles, following the accounts of Perry’s partying or refusal to have babies.
Look—I know that this is all just stupid celebrity tabloid gossip. I mean, it’s just as likely that Perry’s having a secret lesbian affair with Rihanna or Brand’s decided to become a Scientologist circus trainer than that any of this stuff being reported has a base in reality. But the narratives perpetuated by the entertainment media have a way of affecting people’s views of social reality. They point out what is prized and valued in a society, what is deviant, how to behave.
Marjorie Ferguson, a journalism professor who studied the content in British women’s magazines, believed popular media coverage contributes “to the wider cultural processes which define the position of women in a given society at a given point in time.” I’m inclined to agree. And if the coverage of Katy Perry and Russell Brand’s divorce (now matter how fictive) is any indication, a lot of people still think the position of a woman—at least once she becomes a wife—is to cater to the needs of her man at all costs. At the very least, the coverage provides yet another example of how women in the media can’t win.
Can we please just get one account titled something like ‘Brand, Perry Divorce Because He’s A Whiny Baby About Her Lifestyle, Career?”
Photo: Mirror.co.uk/Getty Images