Refusing To Be Shamed


Jenna Sauers explains why Courtney Love matters, in light of a highly entertaining profile in last week's NYT:

What other woman in recent memory, having been given (hell, earned) the media's Bad Girl label, has snarled at the designation and then continued on her own, misguided but apparently basically contented, way? (Angelina Jolie wriggled out of her "reputation" with supermotherhood and charity photo-ops; Juliette Lewis found God, or at least Scientology.) ...

So even though she is a bad singer (the point of Courtney Love is kind of that she's a bad singer, just like it's kind of the point of Dylan) and (probably) a bad mother, and even though her Twitter was like a harrowing download from her Id, and even though I do not really understand what she was doing wandering a hotel naked with Anselm Kiefer and I do not believe that "a combination of Zoloft and a cocktail" really explains it, I love Courtney Love.

Because she's not a role model and, even more, because she has never aspired to be. Because she's not passive. Because she's a woman who takes issue with the view that she ought to be defined by who she used to fuck in the early 90s and who she gave birth to as a result. Because she auditioned for the bloody Mickey Mouse Club at age 12 by reciting Sylvia Plath's "Daddy." Because she is subjected (and subjects herself) to industrial-strength moral and legal scrutiny at every turn and still gets up in the afternoon, applies lipstick in the vicinity of her mouth, and faces the world. Are these achievements too small to cheer? In a world that still orders up sacrificial pop virgins Britney, Lindsay, Demi to swallow down whole, I'd argue they're anything but.

(Photo: Actress Courtney Love arrives at the amfAR's Inspiration Gala Los Angeles to benefit the Foundation's AIDS research programs at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, California, on October 27, 2010. By Gabriel Buoys/Getty.)