Recently, there has been an explosion of charges of sexual violence and assault within the worlds of media, journalism, and entertainment, with female stars leading the way in making these charges of sexual misconduct public. Indeed, stars—located at precisely the boundaries of “public” and “private,” working at the intersection of libidinal and financial economies, marked as both “individuals” and “representatives,” figured as both “bodies” and “voices”—provide a powerful locus for both the explosion and exposure of sexual violence, which operates through and across those same categories (as, for example, definitions of sexual violence depend upon particular understandings of the connections or disconnections between bodily events and consciousness of consent or its refusal, between the “outside and the “inside,” between action and affirmation). Given confusions and conflations of these categories, sexual assault and harassment in entertainment industries have paradoxically been both presumed and disavowed, routinized and rejected, made invisible and spectacularized in ways that help to reveal the troubling dynamics of sexual violence and the “troubles” of stardom itself. This piece explores those dynamics, considering how public discourse around these scandals may help us interrogate the problems of both celebrity and sexual violence.
Lynne Joyrich; Affronting Stardom/Confronting Sexual Violence. Camera Obscura 1 September 2019; 34 (2): 209–219. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-7584976
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