Regarding Courtney Stodden, I’m Being Serious You Guys
November 6, 2013 § 2 Comments
One of the reasons I’ve been so quiet this past week is that I’ve been practicing and practicing and practicing the TEDx talk I’ll be giving November 15, and haven’t really felt like internetting, at least not actively/publicly. The TED talk is titled “Why Study Villains, Scoundrels and Rule Breakers? Trolls as Case Study,” and although I present an overview of my troll research (shock), it’s really about the kinds of things we can learn from transgressive behaviors (that is, behaviors that are REGARDED as being transgressive within a particular culture or community). This idea dovetails nicely with my not-even-kidding-you-guys fascination with and appreciation for Courtney Stodden. I was just explaining this connection to my friend Mike, who emailed me a link about the untimely demise of the Greatest Love Story Ever Told, aka 19 year-old Courtney Stodden and her 54 year-old former X-Files monster of the week, and decided to share.
Because the thing is (and I argue something similar in my TED talk, though geared towards trolls), Courtney Stodden might be outrageous, but her antics aren’t THAT far from the kinds of constant, unrepentant STUNT QUEEN moves “normal” celebrities make on a regular basis (I’m looking at you, Kardashians). Neither is her overly sexed, borderline pornographic personal brand much worse or more shocking than how “normal” young female stars are routinely packaged. Nor is/was Doug Huchison’s leering interest in a teenager (let’s not forget, Stodden was 16 when she first burst onto the WTF scene) much creepier than the sexist, fetishistic cult of (white) female youth that simultaneously drives the entertainment industry and normalizes the lascivious male gaze, particularly when directed at the latest hot young usually blond thing (emphasis on “thing,” since these young women are treated more like ornamental commodities than complex human beings). What Stodden does is call attention to these points of (perhaps uncomfortable) overlap, and that, for me at least, is what makes her genuinely interesting. For better or worse, Courtney Stodden is what is actually true about American pop culture. And god bless her for her honesty.