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    15 Times Famous Women Were Wrongfully Treated By The Media

    Everyone owes Yoko Ono an apology.

    In light of The New York Times Presents episode "Framing Britney Spears" and the important conversation it's sparked around the media's mistreatment of women, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us when the media failed famous women. Here's what they had to say.

    Hulu / FX

    Some submissions include topics of domestic violence and suicide.

    1. Taylor Swift

    CNN

    "Taylor Swift ring a bell? She has been relentlessly slut-shamed for her romantic relationships. It’s her life, she’s allowed to choose when she wants a boyfriend and when she doesn’t. Plus, everyone always has the basic 'she only writes about her exes' joke, but I don’t see male artists who write about their exes being judged! She writes songs based on her life, and her exes are part of her life."

    magisn

    "She was villainized and accused of having a victim mentality when Kanye West literally damaged her reputation by leaking an edited phone call, and people called her a snake for years, only to be proven innocent in 2020 when the whole phone call leaked. The people who say she's fake or way too peppy or seems like she has an ulterior motive say so because they have only seen the media's interpretation of her as the 'serial dater' and 'lying snake.' The media has really failed her."

    rishibhak

    2. Amanda Bynes

    Alo Ceballos / Getty Images / Page Six / Via pagesix.com

    "Amanda Bynes also comes to mind. She went through a very public mental health crisis, and everyone treated her like a joke for it."

    razmatini

    3. Michelle Obama

    Fox News

    "Michelle Obama — from someone in the media referring to her as 'an ape in heels' to people focusing on her physical appearance and calling her 'not feminine enough' to scrutinizing everything she's said. She's one of the most educated first ladies in American history (maybe tied with Dr. Jill Biden), and so many outlets — including conservative media — focus on her appearance. She's beautiful, inside and out."

    ajuvv97

    "Being a Black woman automatically invites even more scrutiny from the media. You can do all the things right in terms of your reputation by not engaging in feuds and minding your business, but once you get too big, people (not just the media) want to take you down."

    sr4

    4. Jessica Simpson

    New York Post / NBC / Raymond Hall / Getty Images / Via nypost.com

    "There was this weird obsession with every young female celebrity's 'virginity,' like Britney Spears, Mandy Moore, and Jessica Simpson. It was treated like some sort of badge of honor — Simpson was subjected to it badly, like if she wasn’t a virgin, she was labeled as 'trash.' On the flip side, men like the Jonas Brothers loudly proclaimed their own virginity promises and were lauded for their control, restraint, faith, blah blah blah — it was extremely hypocritical, patriarchal, and just gross."

    staceypatonk

    "The media body-shamed Jessica Simpson endlessly when she was pregnant, calling her a whale and criticizing her weight gain."

    dancinaa

    5. Caroline Flack

    6. Tina Turner

    CBS

    "Tina is a celebrated artist who is genuinely beloved by everyone, but I feel like the media has played a toxic role in her life since her solo career skyrocketed in 1984. As soon as it was public knowledge that her ex-husband Ike Turner physically and emotionally abused her, that's all media outlets wanted to talk about — they even gave him a platform to tell 'his side of the story,' which was disgusting.

    I think it's extremely important for women to tell their stories and shed light on domestic abuse because their voices have been silenced for so long — I just can't imagine how traumatizing it must be for Tina to relive her abuse in the public eye. She's been asked about her abuser in 99.9% of her interviews since the 1980s, and it must be a deeply painful experience to answer those same questions over and over again."

    kaylayandoli

    7. Ariana Grande

    Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images / TMZ / Via tmz.com

    "I would also say Ariana Grande. When Mac Miller died, she was immediately blamed for his death, and when his drug addiction relapsed, the media blamed it on her because they had broken up at the time. It is important to recognize it is not a woman’s job to take care of a man. I don’t think she should be blamed for his death."

    tatumrosner

    8. Judy Garland

    ABC

    "The media has been failing celebrities since celebrities existed. Just look at Judy Garland — and I'm sure there were earlier cases." —stephaniearthurs

    Not only did her family and MGM Studios royally fail Judy Garland the minute she started making movies as a teenager, but the media capitalized on her personal issues right up until her death in 1969. She was constantly labeled as "crazy," "unstable," and "tragic" because of her alcohol and drug abuse, and the fact that she had been married five times. Even today, the media seems to profit off of her pain, releasing personal tapes she recorded for a potential autobiography where she sounds like she needed the professional help she so rightly deserved.

    9. Yoko Ono

    ABC / WCVB-TV / ABC

    "Everyone should listen to the podcast You're Wrong About — they’ve done episodes about several maligned women, including Yoko Ono and Courtney Love, who I think should be on this list as well."

    janietwofour

    Ono has been notoriously labeled as the "evil witch" who "broke up the Beatles" in the late 1960s, a destructive narrative that's followed her right up to today. Her name has been subjected to jokes in the media, movies, and television — the joke is if someone calls you "the Yoko" in a certain situation, it means you're trying to "ruin" something that's already "good." In 2012, Paul McCartney did an interview with David Frost, admitting that Yoko wasn't the one who broke up the Beatles — it wasn't until this interview that people finally started to believe Yoko and not fall for the toxic narrative as easily (though some unfortunately still do).

    10. Demi Lovato

    Christopher Polk / Getty Images / TMZ / Via tmz.com

    "Demi Lovato should be on this list, big time. She gets called an 'attention seeker' whenever she speaks out about her mental and physical health, but when other celebrities do it, they get praised. Both the people and the media love to call her a 'drug addict' and profit off of her drug addiction, especially now that she's sober — they also love to make crude jokes about it. Whether the comments are about her weight or her past or both, it's really disgusting."

    thatwritechick

    11. Megan Thee Stallion

    TMZ / @theestallion / Via tmz.com

    "Megan Thee Stallion — she had to literally post a picture of her gunshot wound to get the media to believe she was actually shot, and some people still don’t."

    laurensisco

    12. Courtney Love

    ABC

    "One woman I always felt bad for was Courtney Love. Sexist Nirvana fans still promote conspiracy theories against a young woman who lost her partner to suicide, and they blame her for it. Kurt Cobain fans disapproved of their relationship from the beginning, as if they were Cobain's parents."

    skylerbricks

    Love has also been wildly publicized in the media for her drug and alcohol abuse, with interviewers crossing disturbing boundaries to either make fun of her for it or ask her which drugs she's on specifically.

    13. Billie Holiday

    New York Daily News / Getty Images

    "Billie Holiday comes to mind — read Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear... by Sady Doyle if you want to learn why."

    kbozymow7

    Before she died of heart failure in July of 1959, Billie Holiday was constantly scrutinized for her weight loss and gain, her alcohol and drug abuse, and the deep trauma she went through as a young teenager working at a brothel — she's always been regarded as a "tragic" figure, a narrative still going strong today. When the Daily News reported on her death (as seen in the image above), they did so in the most horrific way. They printed: "Death at 44 put blues singer Billie Holiday under the spotlight of world attention for the last time yesterday. [The] cops can give up, now — the police closed their books on Eleanora Fagan of 26 W. 87th Street. That was Billie's legal name. Unofficially, it was accepted that dope, liquor, and hard living had worn out the striking body, the startling voice."

    14. Selena Gomez

    The Sun / Kevin Mazur / Getty Images / The Indian Express / Via thesun.co.uk

    "Selena Gomez was mistreated by the media when she was dating Justin Bieber (and years after the relationship ended in 2018). He was the one behaving like a piece of shit, and all the media did was focus on her and criticize her, all the while she was being emotionally abused in the relationship."

    thatgeekycanadian

    15. And Lindsay Lohan

    CBS

    "She literally moved to Dubai in the late 2010s because taking pictures of people without their consent is illegal there. The US media literally drove her out of the country due to their horrid treatment of her."

    elkelly13

    "Anyone else remember Lindsay Lohan's interview with David Letterman when she was promoting Scary Movie 5? He kept asking her how many times she’s been to rehab, what she needs rehab for, and what makes her think this time will be different — you can literally see how uncomfortable she is with the questions being asked. If someone wants to open up about their experiences with substance abuse or spread awareness about its seriousness to others, that’s completely fine, but it’s not okay to put someone on the spot and ask personal questions in front of a live audience like that."

    taylorw43ccfe835

    Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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