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Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, Oprah Winfrey, Delta Burke, Demi Moore, Britney Spears

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Uncover their feelings on love, relationships, and marriage. Find out their strengths, ideals, and truths as a new generation of independent women.

Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79.

Chapter One

Seven Female Celebrities EbookOn Tuesday evening, June 26, 2001, on the Late Show With David Letterman, the guest was Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was promoting her latest movie, America’s Sweethearts.  When she made her entrance, she wore a sinuous dress with bright pink and black, and the soft fabric outlined her thighs as she walked.  The dress wrapped around her so that when she sat down, the cloth flowed down hers sides which allowed her to show her long, sensual legs in dark, high heels.  To finish her look, she wore her hair down without any pins to go along with the carefree, relaxed look of her dress.  The fact that she was a mother made her sensual appeal even more significant, not only for the fact that she was a beautiful woman, but that she had also given birth.

Her combination of sensuality and motherhood projects the positive image of sex appeal.  This is the kind of sexuality this book will mostly discuss.  This positive force is one reason we continue to be drawn to her and other female celebrities in the movies and in television.  The kind of sex appeal that Catherine Zeta-Jones projects emphasizes the positive force of a woman’s sexuality.  She illustrated this further when David Letterman mentioned that Michael Douglas, her husband, had a son in his twenties from a previous marriage and now another son that’s about a year old with Catherine.  David Letterman seemed to be asking her what she thought of this fact, of two sons so far apart in age.  She said, that for a man, this was wonderful.  In this exchange, she turned what could have been seen as something to frown upon into something beautiful. 

Is this the reason a star becomes a star?  Is it this positive appeal?  Britney Spears’ manager, Larry Rudolph, said that stars have an inexplicable trait that’s hard to pin down.  Could part of this trait be sensuality?  The answer is yes.  The qualities of what makes a star are further illustrated by Trevor Wallace, a producer from Britain who was working in Hollywood who said of Demi Moore, “She had the markings of a future actress of character even then.  She had an alluring quality that directors and casting agencies look for.  The voice was incredibly sexy.  She had the type of appeal that could translate to the younger male audiences who, not to put too fine a point on it, judge their stars by bedroom imagery.”  Producer Craig Baumgarten agreed when he cast Demi in No Small Affair because he said, “From the very, very beginning she was going to be a movie star.  I knew it when I saw the dailies.  She can rip your heart out, make you care.  That’s a rare quality and part of what makes a star.  When she was in pain, you just wanted to make her feel better.”  Another example is described by Parade magazine's July 29, 2001 issue which said that Jane Fonda's "cleavage spilling out of her gown" as complained by one reader, is an "asset."  Parade explains that Fonda is one of "vibrant women of any age [who] have the right to flaunt their assets."  From these viewpoints, they are reinforcing the fact that positive sexuality, the kind that makes you notice, is an indefinable quality of a star.

Another example of how sexuality is part of what makes a star is illustrated by Julia Roberts when she was a guest on the Late Show With David Letterman on July 10, 2001 to promote America’s Sweethearts, the movie she made with Catherine Zeta-Jones who had appeared in Letterman a few weeks before as mentioned above also to promote the same movie.  Julia’s entrance featured her wearing a warm, pastel-peach outfit.  The fabric was soft so that it accentuated her every move.  The slacks looked comfortable and were effective in showing her long legs.  The top was buttoned down low so that when she bent slightly forward, Letterman’s reaction was “Holy Cow.  I can see right into that, please, please, look out.”  Julia responded, “It’s not even a glance.  It’s just a glimpse.”  Her response here reveals the teasing quality of a woman’s sexuality.  Letterman continued, “No.  No.  It’s all right there.”  Again, as shown here, Julia Roberts is very much aware of her sexuality, and uses its positive powers to show an important aspect of what makes her a star.

Julia Robert’s awareness of her sexuality explains one of the reasons why people pay attention to stars, and because the public continues to give support, she has power.  In summary, by winning the crowd, she gains power.  She illustrates this by how she was able to make the audience pay attention wholeheartedly when she was talking about her breakup from Benjamin Bratt.  She collected herself, paused, as if drawing from the honesty within, and began saying, “Here’s the thing.  I love Benjamin.  He’s a good man.  He’s a fine man.  He is to the exultation of the female single population not my man anymore.  Sad but true.  And not ugly, not because of anybody else, parting of the ways.  There you go.  Make it what you want to make the money that you want and to give away the soul that you want.  But that’s just all there is to it.  And we’re both, you know, just two kids trying to find our way in the world, and I’ve never heard it so quiet in this studio in my life.”  Her last sentence brought much needed comic relief, which brought laughter from the audience after her heartfelt account of her breakup with Bratt. 

This silence is witness to Julia Robert’s star appeal.  She was able to draw-in her audience with herself, as Julia, talking about her personal life.  By being herself, by being honest, by emphasizing her confidence in her sexuality, she augments her power, as she was able to completely hush the audience to pay attention to her. 

What is the negative of sexuality?  The negative is what can be represented by what is known in Hollywood as the “casting couch.”  Delta Burke alludes to this when she was asked to pull up her skirt during an audition.  Marilyn Monroe experienced this when she took part in the “party circuit” and became a “house girl.”  Demi Moore acknowledges this when she says, “It definitely exists, but I can’t say that I was ever harassed, at least not to the point where I think I’ve lost a job, or a role has been diminished because I didn’t provide sexual favors for someone.  There’s maybe one encounter where I can remember someone encouraging me to undress to rehearse a scene…when I was young and much more vulnerable.  But it exists everywhere, and Hollywood, obviously, is no exception.  I just think Hollywood makes more colorful copy.” 

Despite this, sex appeal and its positive force, is an integral part of a female celebrity’s power, and the women in this book have tapped into it to their advantage.  By doing so, they have become rulers of their own destinies.  Before them, women have had to fight for their rights, such as in the women’s suffrage movement during the turn of the twentieth century.  Another example is when tragedy was the only way women could make their case known, in order to fight for better working conditions after such tragedies as the fire that killed the women who worked in “sweatshop” conditions in a shirt factory in New York.  Today, women continue to fight for their rights, and thanks to the women in this book, they have shown it is possible to have the power to have more control of their own lives.  They have taken the past, when a group of suffragettes successfully made it possible for women to vote, and transformed this idea, newly instilled in human history’s psyche, into more possibilities in the future.

The women in this book are the future.  Thus, by looking at them within the context of women’s history, they have started a small percentage of women, who, throughout human history, enjoy the rights and privileges that most women before them only dreamed of having.  What are these privileges and powers?  For example, Elizabeth Taylor is able to have her own perfume line and can use her celebrity status to campaign towards education and research for AIDS.  Lana Turner’s fame possibly helped make the jury choose a favorable verdict toward her daughter who murdered her crime-connected boyfriend; thus, one cannot help believing that fame can sometimes make the law favorable.  Marilyn Monroe was able to start her own production company as well as negotiate a studio contract to have more control over her films.  Delta Burke can have her own clothing line.  Oprah Winfrey has her own production company and can hire politicians to help pass a law requiring registration of child molesters in order to track them.  Demi Moore can have her own production company and is also able to take on investments such as real estate.  Britney Spears is able to financially support hospitals treating children.  These privileges are only naming a few.

In such a short period of time, because the film industry has only been around for about a hundred years and the television industry half that, these women and their peers collectively, have only begun, what hopefully is the beginning of more examples of women in the future, who will have unprecedented powers as women.  No, these female celebrities weren’t royalty and born into power, but have instead become true, American “royal celebrities.”  They earned this status by drawing on one of their powers, the positive side of their sexuality.  But it would also be naïve to say that positive sex appeal is the only reason these women have gained power in the media industry.  There are many other traits such as talent, a strong personality, beauty, intelligence, luck, determination, hard work, true spirit, and lastly, their sensuality, which will be the focus of this book.

The female celebrities featured here are Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, Oprah Winfrey, Delta Burke, Demi Moore, and Britney Spears.  They have revealed their attitudes on sexuality, and by knowing these attitudes, they reveal how and why they are continuing and expanding the powers of women.


 

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