Amanda Bynes’ public meltdown says more about us than her

American actor Amanda Bynes in the film Easy A

From The Guardian:

Beautiful women who fall apart serve a necessary cultural purpose: they’re a warning against over-indulgence and narcissism. They also attract the peddlers of celebrity gossip in a way that few other stories do.

Today, it’s Amanda Bynes. In recent memory it’s been Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Paula Abdul, Anna Nicole Smith and Courtney Love. The storyline is more or less the same every time: a celebrity whose career is ebbing does something erratic; the media takes notice; the celebrity realizes the media notices and the erratic behavior becomes increasingly bizarre, often involving social media; at some point the celebrity does something illegal or at least quite alarming and the police become involved; rubber-neckers look on and murmur concern while buying Us Weekly to get the latest.

While we’re transfixed, women are especially punished for appearing to go off the deep end. Men who behave like raging narcissists and actually get violent, on the other hand, are routinely enabled and placated. Take Charlie Sheen as the most obvious example: he attacked a couple of women and went on TV ranting about tiger blood, all while maintaining his role on a popular (if astoundingly bad) television show. His behavior, though violent and abusive, was laughed off as “antics”.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Guardian