No, I DON’T Hate Katherine Heigl

by | October 15, 2014
filed under Pop Culture

Katherine_Heigl_at_27_Dresses_Premiere_6In Hollywood, hating on Katherine Heigl has become a popular sport, carried out on influential blogs like Lainey Gossip and The Blemish.

However, I don’t hate Katherine Heigl. Nope, not at all. I also hope her new show for NBC, State of Affairs, becomes a HUGE hit when it debuts Monday, November 17.

Okay, I admit that some of Heigl’s romantic comedies are flat out dreadful (See that gender essentialist dreck called The Awful Truth).

I am also fully aware she accused former boss Judd Apatow of writing women as shrews in Knocked Up in Vanity Fair (But wasn’t she sort of right on that one?). Finally, I do know she infamously accused the Grey’s Anatomy’s writers of not giving her sufficient “material” to deserve an Emmy. Yes, that was kind of mean and uncalled for, even though it was basically what TV critics were saying about that once awesome show at the time.

No, she’s not Suzie Sunshine, but I resent the fact that this is apparently such a problem.

Charlie Sheen verbally abused ALL of his co-workers on the set of Two and a Half Men, as well as his boss Chuck Lorre. How was he punished by the industry? Well, yes, he did leave Two and a Half Men. Seemingly minutes later, however, he went on to star in another successful sitcom that capitalizes on this very reputation as a hothead, Anger Management!

What is this Hollywood double standard that EXPECTS women celebrities to be grateful for whatever scraps of work Hollywood gives them – whether the screenplays are sexist or not – but allows Sean Penn, the man who beat Madonna, to go on to win TWO Oscars? In an industry as unjust as this, NO WONDER Katherine Heigl is angry so often.

The fact that Katherine Heigl is brave enough to express her opinions in public – even when they are less than glowing – is actually somewhat remarkable.

If full-on abusive men like Sheen or Penn can be successful, I honestly believe it is my duty to make space for Heigl. After all, she never seriously hurts anyone; she just has the audacity not to be sweet and cuddly all the time – something that is unfortunately still a mortal sin for female celebrities in Hollywood.

So yes, I watch Heigl’s movies and TV projects like it’s my job, because as a feminist, I believe that it is in some ways. If Heigl can be successful, it’s one more blow to a patriarchy that requires women to be docile and adorable while cis men can do say and do practically anything they damn well please.

I’m not trying to argue Heigl is a militant gender equality pioneer. I recognize that as a pretty blonde white lady she has a lot of privilege. I know she’s no bell hooks when it comes to advocacy and activism; I just intensely dislike double standards.

I don’t want to live in a world where surly people can and do succeed all the time, but only when they happen to be men.

So yeah, I’m hosting a viewing partner for the premiere of State of Affairs this fall. Will I see you there?

Photos of Katherine Heigl by Luke Ford, CC-licensed via Wikimedia Commons.

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