Illegally blonde: Performing femininity in the mediated courtroom | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Celebrity and Crisis
  • ISSN: 2044-2823
  • E-ISSN: 2044-2831

Abstract

When facing criminal charges, female defendants face a difficult double bind; they are simultaneously judged for the crimes they have committed and for breaching socially defined boundaries of femininity. An unfair portrayal in the media may cause a crisis in any instance, but when the subject is facing criminal charges, the stakes are much higher. To appeal to the court of public opinion, female defendants must consider implicit gender biases by performing a type of femininity that is perceived as authentic and earnest yet appropriately moderated. These expectations are most evident in high-profile celebrity scandals as the defendant is measured against their public persona – even if that persona is entirely constructed. This article examines how dress affects the way female celebrity defendants are perceived in the courtroom and how attained fame and American mass media influence this perception as is evident in the cases of Alexis Neiers, Patty Hearst, Winona Ryder and Anna Delvey.

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2024-01-24
2024-05-24
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): celebrity; criminality; fashion; gender; mediation; panopticon; synopticon
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