Celebrities are to Women as Professional Sports are to Men


I think the comparison is fairly apt. Here’s why:

  • I’m guessing the audience for celebrity gossip is 80% female, and the audience for sports news is 80% male.
  • Both topics are pretty trivial, yet they have vast amounts of media attention.
  • Both topics fetishize the tiniest details of their subjects: “Paris Hilton goes for coffee!” “Derek Jeter has a hangnail!”
  • They both seem to feature the noble and the ignoble. Lindsay Lohan gets drunk and runs into things, yet Angelina Jolie is adopting most of sub-Saharan Africa. Michael Vick is running dog fighting rings in his basement, yet, I don’t know, Steve Montador is in Africa for Right to Play.
  • Both topics feature individuals who make absurd amounts of money.

That’s why David and Victoria Beckham are so enormously famous–they’re a perfect storm of celebrity and sports (and, I should add, encouragement to middle-school dropouts everywhere). I wish it helped that one of them was actually good at something, but, as we know, talent isn’t a prerequisite for fame.

What do you think?


  1. *browses through Jezebel.com for her daily dose of celebrity gossip*

    *goes to NFL.com to check on American football TV schedules*

    Okay, now what was your question?


  2. If there’s one thing that generalizations on the blog always begets, it’s anecdotes that bust the generalization. You’re in one majority and one minority, I guess.

  3. I am mystified by both these obsessions. I just don’t understand the fascination.

    As evidence of my cluelessness in celebrity matters, up until last week I thought Paris Hilton and Perez Hilton were the same person.

  4. “I wish it helped that one of them was actually good at something, but, as we know, talent isn’t a prerequisite for fame.”

    I know that David Beckham isn’t exactly numero uno when it comes to football (soccer on your side of the globe i guess) but would it really be fair to say that there’s nothing he’s actually good at?

  5. Aditya: Heh, clearly I’ve been misinterpreted. I meant David Beckham. I don’t know what Victoria Beckham was any good at, cause it sure wasn’t singing or dancing. Spending David’s money, maybe?

    Zoom: That is to your enormous credit.

  6. I recently read a fantastic article in Bitch magazine about celebrity betting pools. They’re like sports pools, but people bet and get $ when their “celebrities” get married, divorce, get knocked up, etc. The people who are celebrity betters are predominantly female, which fits your theory.

  7. Darren, I know you’re not a sexist person, but I take issue with “Spending David’s money, maybe”.

    Victoria Beckham was worth USD 16.5 million when she married David and she continues to earn money from royalties and licensing, as well as advertising, products, her fashion line and so on. Although her net worth may have been 1/4 of what David Beckham had at the time, it’s not exactly so small as to warrant saying she spends his money. They’re married and she continues to work and take care of their children (unpaid labour). Certainly, the duo spend a lot of money, but I don’t think it’s fair to say she spends his money.

  8. Andrea: Sorry, I think you’re protesting too much here.

    This is a lightweight, silly conversation about vapid celebrities. I know that Victoria Beckham has some of her own money. I’d also guess that she has a pretty extensive childcare infrastructure, but I don’t know. Now, she probably earns about 1/20 of what Mr. Beckham does, and they seem to have a pretty extravagant lifestyle, but that’s not the point.

    Is our world so rigid, so utterly political, that I can never, ever make a throw-away remark that might have chauvinist overtones?

    Sure, it was an unfunny little joke. But I hope our society remains (or becomes) elastic enough so that slightly provocative (though lame, in this case) attempts at humour aren’t met with political correctness.

  9. Sorry Darren, I probably interpreted that line as:

    “I wish it helped IF one of them was actually good at something, but, as we know, talent isn’t a prerequisite for fame.”

    My bad.

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