The tenth anniversary of Diana’s death is upon us. The Nation has a discussion of the difference between, on the one hand, Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, and, on the other, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.
The article encapsulates the differences between the earlier women and today’s in the following:
While Diana and Marilyn shared a number of qualities with today’s female celebs–notably a lack of sexual discretion and an appetite for public attention–Paris is, for better or worse, a new variety of feminine icon, defined not by victimhood and suffering but by self-sufficiency and self-gratification.
The conclusion of the article is that this difference explains why Paris and Britney are vilified, while Marilyn and Diana are not.
I’m reminded of a refrain from a song by Peggy Lee which was (I think), “Is that all there is?”
Or: what is going on here with pop iconography and its discontents?