Sunday, 19 July 2009

Girls just wanna claw each other's eyes out

If the papers are to be believed (note to self: never believe the papers), there's trouble brewing on the set of Iron Man 2. According to reports, which amount to little more than tip-offs from anonymous sources keen to make a quick buck, Gwyneth Paltrow hasn't exactly rolled out the yoga mat for franchise newcomer Scarlett Johansson.

Having played improbably-named love interest Pepper Potts in the first film, Paltrow was probably expecting a beefed-up role in the sequel. Instead, it seems that Gwyneth is seeing red about Scarlett, who's onboard to play Black Widow, a Russian spy, in the big-budget follow-up.

Speculative stories have been hitting the web for a couple of months now, suggesting that Paltrow and Johansson are at loggerheads. Strangely, one report even went so far as to suggest that Gwyneth was trying to physically 'deflate' Scarlett by sharing her personal trainer and doing daily workouts together. Sharing and togetherness - hardly the first signs of a woman gripped with insane jealousy.

In typically nonsensical style, the Daily Mail once again manages to state 'fact' and then negate it within a couple of paragraphs, by saying that Gwyneth is planning to boycott a promotion in San Diego later this month, only to then quote a spokesman who rubbishes the entire story.

But there's no smoke without fire, or so says conventional wisdom. The problem is, stories like this tend to emerge whenever successful women come together.

There was the rivalry between Sharon Osbourne and Dannii Minogue on The X-Factor, and then, when the Wicked Witch of the West (coast) left, the rivalry passed on to new judge Cheryl Cole. The Sex and the City movie was almost a no-go due to the supposed in-fighting between Kim Catrall and Sarah Jessica Parker, and even when the movie was finished the rumours persisted, over ridiculous details like who stood where on a photoshoot. And who can forget the time when All Saints broke up over a jacket that Shaznay and Natalie both wanted to wear at a Capital FM Christmas concert?

The funny thing is, these exposés never seem to surface about male stars. Were the papers full of made-up stories about George Clooney and Brad Pitt battling over who stood where on the Ocean's 11 poster, or punch-ups between Shane and Kian in Westlife?

There's a fundamental misogyny at the heart of all this, that weakens the position of every one of these women each time these rumours are presented as fact. And once again, it means that they have to work twice as hard, and keep their noses twice as clean, just to be treated as equals.

Weirdly enough, Gwyneth herself may have put her finger on it when talking about the clash between Pepper Potts and the Black Widow in the plot of Iron Man 2: "The men want it to be, like, 'Ooh, the girls are fighting over Tony,' but it's not as standard as that. There's a weird male catfight fantasy."

No comments:

Post a Comment