Treating Male Celebs Like Women

May 24 2012 @ 3:02pm

Amy Wallace marks D’Angelo's return to music-making after years of addiction. Besides drugs, he battled self-image issues, which were inflamed by fans shouting at him to strip after the release of the above video:

D’Angelo felt tortured, Questlove says, by the pressure to give the audience what it wanted. Worried that he didn’t look as cut as he did in the video, he’d delay shows to do stomach crunches. He’d often give in, peeling off his shirt, but he resented being reduced to that. Wasn’t he an artist? Couldn’t the audience hear the power of his music and value him for that? He would explode, Questlove recalls, and throw things. Sometimes he’d have to be coaxed not to cancel shows altogether. When I ask D about this, he downplays his suffering. Watching him pull hard on another Newport, I realize that he finds it far easier to confess his addictions than his insecurities about his corporeal self. Self-destructing with a coke spoon—while ill-advised—has a badass edge. Fretting over what Questlove has called “some Kate Moss shit” seems anything but manly …

Live by the six-pack; die by it. He needn't have made a video that shows him starkers. Alyssa Rosenberg is fascinated by the gender reversal. Dan Solomon has seen this happen before:

A similar thing happened to Elvis, of course, and to Brando. Jim Morrison, too. Two other dudes who were sexualized the way that we, as a society, sexualize women. Or, if they don’t put on a lot of weight, they do other things to mess with the way they look. They take on roles that reward them for looking unattractive, maybe, or they grow stupid beards, like Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp,  if they’re able to let these things roll off their backs a bit. But it happens a lot, in any case, to men who are treated the way that women are — as objects, whose sexuality and appearance are public property. Which is fascinating, in a way. Because so much of the rhetoric from dudes who talk about the way women are objectified is that they’d love it if they were sexualized in the same way.