The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

What Makes Perez Hilton The #1 Gossip Blogger? Oh, Comparing Women To Dogs

Posted by Clem Bastow on January 29, 2009

I have been planning a long-form post for some time regarding the gratuitous sexism, fattism, misogyny and – yes – homophobia of Perez Hilton, and I will eventually get around to it. In the meantime, have a look at his most recent effort to inform his millions of readers:

picture-28

How do you think that woman and her family felt when millions of people saw her compared to a whelping bitch?

When The Dawn Chorus first launched, we received some flak about our occasional-to-regular focus on sexism within the media and, in particular, in popular culture (i.e. the “celebrity” realm).

But what bothers me about this ‘ignore it and it will go away’ stance is that it turns a blind eye to the casual sexism that tells Hilton’s many readers (a high percentage of them female) that it’s okay to call women whores, sluts, fatties, homewreckers and, yes, dogs. Bear in mind that this is a man heralded by many major media outlets, syndicated across commercial radio and tabloid magazines, and even given publishing and A&R contracts, all based on his “work” on his infamous gossip blog. His is one of the biggest blogs out there; he is ranked highly in lists of influential web entities by Forbes and Time Magazine. He has made millions from his “brand”.

Obviously the appeal of PerezHilton.com is its very shabby bitchiness – so is a great deal of material online – but when will the major media wake up and realise exactly what it is they’re supporting?

11 Responses to “What Makes Perez Hilton The #1 Gossip Blogger? Oh, Comparing Women To Dogs”

  1. I used to read his blog site but it’s truly the worst piece of crap ever. He once called Dakota Fanning a bitch – she was 11 at the time! The man is filth.

  2. lilacsigil said

    This kind of comparison isn’t limited to Perez Hilton – women in pre-20th Century Japan who had triplets or higher-order multiples were said to have a “beast womb”. I see Hilton is as up-to-date and individual as ever!

  3. I’m looking forward to more of your writing on Perez Hilton shizzle Clem. I do read the blog – that has by far more voices than his own these days, a group of people reinforcing this stuff – but I’m constantly puzzled at myself as to WHY I read it. It’s updated regularly I guess.

  4. Bearded Lady said

    Perez Hilton’s website has no redeeming features. It’s not even witty. Just pure, uncut misogyny.

    On the subject of the Los Angeles woman who gave birth to octuplets, I think a converstation needs to be had about IVF/fertility drugs and medical ethics. I’d also be interested to know what the Chorus makes of the recently reported issue of Australian couples seeking surrogates in India (http://www.theage.com.au/national/warning-to-couples-on-indian-surrogacy-laws-20090125-7pgp.html?page=-1).

  5. lilacsigil said

    @Bearded Lady – I find it strange that the conception of octuplets is being described as most likely to be terrible misconduct by the doctors (with a very small chance of natural conception). While I agree that implanting 8 embryos would be problematic at the very least, the couple in question could have conceived during ovarian hyperstimulation, which could imply failure of contraception or disregard of the need not to have unprotected sex at that time. There are other less likely but still possible ways that an octuplet pregnancy could have occurred, too. I feel like they’re promoting this image of the woman having nothing to do with the conception, just being a vessel for oodles of babies placed there by doctors.

  6. Bearded Lady said

    @ Lilacsigill- While it’s possible that the octuplets in question were naturally concieved, most reproductive endocrinology and infertility experts seem to agree that the children were more likely concieved through IVF. Ovarian hyperstimulation occurs in women who have had gonadotrophin injections for ovarian stimulation with IVF and GIFT. It is, as far as I’m aware, a medical condition which is not ‘naturally’ occuring but caused by fertility treatments.

    Now I have no hard-and-fast beliefs about IVF but I think that the feminist conversation about IVF and related topics like surrogacy, prenatal testing and sex-selective abortion, egg donation and contraceptives is far from over. Organizations like FINRRAGE (Feminist International Network of Resistance to Reproductive and Genetic Engineering- http://www.finrrage.org) have taken a strong (and often unpopular) stand on reproductive technologies since the 1970s but discussion of these issues by the mainstream feminist media is scant. Now I don’t necessarily agree (or disagree) with FINRRAGE’s position on reproductive technologies, but when stories like this one are reported in the media, it saddens me that there’s no intelligent feminist debate on the subject. That’s all. I didn’t necessarily mean to imply that it was a case of ‘terrible misconduct’ by the doctors, just that it was an opportunity to think about these kinds of things in more detail.

    You said ‘I feel like they’re promoting this image of the woman having nothing to do with the conception, just being a vessel for oodles of babies placed there by doctors.’ I’m concerned about that too but I don’t necessarily blame the media’s reporting of the story. Rather, I tend to believe that the increased medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth is to blame.

    As you mentioned, however, we have no information about the details of the case, so I probably shouldn’t have assumed that the octuplets were concieved with the help of fertility treatments.

  7. DS said

    lilacsigil – i’m afraid this was a case of terrible misconduct by the doctors. US guidelines recommend only two embryos are implanted at once, though many doctors implant larger numbers in order to up the success rates of their clinics. often they recommend aborting some of the foetuses if too many are developing, though in this case the mother did not want to abort any. implanting large numbers of embryos is an incredibly dangerous practice with huge health risks for both mother and the babies.
    …also, this mother already had six children, why the hell would they put another eight embryos in her?

  8. Kat said

    @ Bearded Lady

    My comment in another forum on the surrogacy is below:

    “The article linked the idea of surrogacy to slavery, the buying and selling of a human against their (the child’s) consent. I think that there are also similarities to prostitution and sex trade. When willing consent of the surrogate and the adoptive parents as well as free and open dialogue is involved, it is easy to understand that both parties can be happy with their choice. The problem is there are so many ways for the arrangement to become problematic (especially when incorporating privilege, race and class. In this way it can be similar to the questions raised with international adoption.)”

  9. Lily said

    I used to visit his site with fair regularity, but I stopped because it’s misogynistic, sycophantic, and just boring. It’s completely unironic pop-culture-worship; he can MicrosoftPaint all the white dots he wants into pictures, there’s nothing subversive about it. To be fair, I don’t think he realizes what he’s doing; I just think he’s kind of stupid.

  10. tina_sparkle said

    the man is a tool. then again, if knowing that he’s famous because he’s a nasty bitch helps him sleep at night that says more about him than it does about the people he’s so quick to ridicule and vilify.

  11. Bearded Lady said

    Here’s an update on the details of the octuplet case: http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/newshome/5304567

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/03/AR2009020303935.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/4460206/Corporate-donors-turned-off-by-story-of-octuplets-mother.html

    Discuss.

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