If there’s one thing that annoys me…well, there are a lot of things that annoy me, but if there’s one thing that annoys me the most about media coverage as shown on Twitter, it’s the media’s insistence that we fall over ourselves for the likes of Gigi Hadid, Taylor Swift, Amy Schumer, and Jennifer Lawrence. I’m officially sick of it. 

Why am I sick of it? Because every time these women move a muscle, it gets covered as if the Democrats and Republicans have finally come together in Congress. Some of the tweets are worthy of being tweeted, such as coverage about Jennifer Lawrence getting stiffed out of Hollywood money because she’s a woman or Amy Schumer making comedy about how tough it is for women to get birth control prescriptions filled. But a lot of it is just utter drivel. Like, why do we care about how many marshmallows Lawrence can stuff in her mouth? Why is it “cute” that Lawrence also has peed in sinks? (THAT’S DISGUSTING. NOT CUTE.)

Don’t believe me about the coverage? Just take a look at the small smattering of tweets I collected today about the media’s favorite It Girls:

Gigi Hadid:

Taylor Swift

Amy Schumer

Jennifer Lawrence

“But so what, Monique?” you might be saying. “The media’s only covering these ladies because they are some of the hottest stars today! This is nothing new.” You’re right; it is nothing new. What’s not new is that the media has consistently showcased white (or white-adjacent, in the case of the Kardashians) stars this way. Every move they make or thing they say becomes something that adds to the white, Eurocentric beauty and social standards that affect how we see each other and ourselves. These standards are also how the media judge what’s popular and what to write on.

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These standards are the reason there’s such a lack of coverage of non-white stars. When was the last time you heard about Gabrielle Union’s strange habits or what Nicole Beharie wore to the gym or Naomi Campbell’s squad? When was the last time you heard about Gina Rodriguez’s favorite snacks or Lucy Liu talking about what it’s like to be Lucy Liu? When was the last time you heard about Eva Longoria or Eva Mendes discussing their weekends or being told “we love you for being you” by the media? I can’t recall.

“But what about Rihanna or Nicki Minaj! You just mentioned Minaj yesterday; doesn’t that count as coverage?” Rihanna and Nicki Minaj do get covered a lot, but you know why? Because they have to play a game to even get the coverage they get. From Rihanna’s latest interview with Vanity Fair, she revealed that she’s not the Bad Gal she portrays herself as, which might make some wonder why she’s even acting like something she’s not. I’ll tell you why—it’s because the media only listens to black women in the media when they perceive that black women are the ones who are “wrong.” What that means is that black women are consistently portrayed as “bad” or “angry” or “provocative” (in the wrong way) or somehow “not welcomed.” Rihanna’s original image wasn’t as the Bad Gal Rih Rih. Originally, she was a pop princess with “Pon de Replay.” She only blew up after she came out with her edgy new look and edgy sound, beginning with “Umbrella.” And Minaj, for all the grief I’ve given her about leading with her butt in music videos, is also playing the game. She’s probably far from the exoticized, fetishized version of herself she has to portray to the public. But being exoticized is how she gets play from people in the media. For all the love it seems like these stars get, try running a “peeing in the sink” headline with them at the center. If it was ever revealed that Minaj or Rihanna peed in a sink, it wouldn’t be as blasé as the Lawrence headline was. The headline would probably run like this:

“Scandal! Nicki Minaj used sinks as toilets!”

“The Bad Gal turned Nasty Gal! Rihanna’s strange bathroom habit!”

It’s the same nasty story, but different wording puts the same story in a completely different (and judgmental) light.

This doesn’t just apply to pop culture stories; the news gets twisted as well. Take for instance the recent Daily Beast article about a woman dying from an overdose in a crack house, otherwise called in the article a “cocaine apartment.” First of all, ain’t no such thing as a “cocaine apartment.” If a black or Latino woman had died, it would have been called a crack house in a dingy part of town, not a “cocaine apartment” in the ritzy part of New York. Just because it’s ritzy (i.e. on the white side of town) that makes the tragic story better?  As Luvvie Ajayi from Awesomely Luvvie wrote:

The first thing she [the article’s writer] is doing to paint the picture of this woman is to remind us that she is beautiful and has three kids. Plus, the company she was keeping was of an accomplished producer. LOOK, LYALL. She wasn’t just hanging with hoodrats! YAY. If she were Black, they would have used this opportunity to remind us that she abandoned her 3 kids to go party in NYC and it doesn’t matter who she was hanging with. That part would be left out unless the person was worth describing in some villainous way.”

Then we get told that she had a “night of blowing off steam.” You mean she had a night of who knows what types of shenanigans? Right. That’s what you meant. Because when white woman takes to the city to party, it’s self-care. Yup.

In spite of the fact that the headline of the piece says she “overdoses,” it takes 2 paragraphs into the article for this writer to even bring up the idea that she MIGHT have been POSSIBLY doing cocaine. Talk about burying the lede. They even had a source tell that it is rumored that she liked drugs. WORD? I wouldn’t have thought.

The victim also wouldn’t have been humanized as being a “beautiful dermatologist” and she “possibly” did cocaine if she weren’t white. Black or Latino victims are never humanized to such a degree. We hardly ever learn what made them tick, what their personalities were like, etc. I’m not being callous about this woman’s death; it’s a sad thing. But it needs to be reported as the hard news story it is, not something as gentle as the article makes the story out to be.

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The media is just as much of a victim as it is a perpetrator, but one thing those in the media can do is call each other out on it when biased coverage rears its ugly head (which is all the time). Just when I was gearing up to write about this, I saw Bossip was on the same wavelength:

I applaud Bossip for doing this, and I hope more outlets follow suit. There needs to be accountability in how the media portrays people. And, when we as consumers see outlets doing this, such as when Buzzfeed decided that right after Viola Davis won her historic Emmy that it was the right time to say that Amy Schumer and Amy Poehler were the “greatest people” of the night for  being white women with the same name, we need to call them out on it. We need to tweet them back when something gets in our craw. If we let them know enough that we don’t like the biased coverage, they’ll hear us. There have been some steps toward progress, but progress is something that always needs to be tended to.

What do you think about this? Give your opinions below!

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NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 16: Model Gigi Hadid walks the runway wearing Anna Sui Spring 2016 during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at The Arc, Skylight at Moynihan Station on September 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)
Trainwreck, Piazza Grande, Amy Schumer actress  Sabine Cattaneo/Festival del film Locarno
HOLLYWOOD, CA – SEPTEMBER 24: Singer Taylor Swift arrives at the premiere of Relativity Media’s “Romeo And Juliet” at ArcLight Cinemas on September 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Relativity Media) *** Local Caption *** Taylor Swift
Jennifer Lawrence stars in Relativity Media’s edge-of-your seat thriller House at the End of the Street. © 2011 HATES, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Albert Camicioli
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