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My Feminist Icon is…

By June 9, 2009June 12th, 2009Myth or Reality, Politics

Dear Naomi Wolf,

I’m really a fan of your work. So I’m quite confused by the article you wrote about Angelina Jolie in Harper’s Bazaar where you declared her the new feminist icon.

One of your reasons? Because she had escaped the Madonna/Whore debacle. Interesting? Did she really? Was she ever a shoe-in for the Madonna? There isn’t enough ‘orphan’ in China to cover those tattoos. Sorry. (I have three tattoos myself, I love tattoos, but the Madonna – last time I checked – had none.)

Escape the image of the Whore? Um. Last time I checked she had an affair with a married man and then told everyone about it in a magazine. You wrote, ‘she managed the almost unheard-of task of turning the home-wrecker label into a wholesome, family-friendly triumph.’ …………….. Sorry for the pause. I was busy. Throwing up.

Is this a joke? Who decided that she triumphed and who the hell called it wholesome? I think what she did was horrid and unforgivable. I’ve never caught her face on the front of the tabloids and thought anything but, ‘Ew.’ She did something wrong. She hurt at least one person, badly. And because the media decided to spin it one particular way, she triumphed? Naomi, you say it yourself: Maddox was photographed playing squeaky clean football with Brad Pitt, the father figure, and by Annie Liebovitz loving his mother. This was not a triumph – but a well-played, well-moneyed PR stunt.

I don’t care how much good she does in the world, you can’t really erase that, can you??? Maybe you can note her change or congratulate her for doing good things – but call a spade a spade. I beg you.

Then, you claim that because Santa Angelina (as Perez likes to call her) got her pilot’s license, she’s chosen “the classic metaphor for choosing your own direction.” Oh? What about a race car driver like Danica Patrick? What about Secretary of State like Hilary Clinton (I mean, she travels all over the world!)? What about an artist? What about a writer? I can think of dozens of professions that involve choosing your own direction. Boldly, even.

You also declare that ‘she took for her own pleasure the male seen as the most desired of the tribe, Brad Pitt.’ Not to me. I’m a George Clooney kind of a girl. And there’s something so barbaric in your word choice…but I get that you meant to do that. You want us to see her as the cavewoman clubbing the man and dragging him back to her cave. You succeeded, I just don’t find that alluring, praise-worthy or as a desirable behavior.

Maybe this is my favorite part of your article:

“Yes, she is conventionally beautiful: Bosomy and wasp-waisted, with that curtain of hair and those crazy pillowy lips, she is an obvious male sex fantasy.”

Hello? Naomi? Are you even in there??? You, yes YOU, the one that wrote The Beauty Myth. On what planet is Angelina Jolie ‘conventionally beautiful’??? Her boobs are huge. She looks anorexic – whether she is or isn’t, her bones poke out and there is no meat on her. She’s 34 years old, has carried three children in her womb and her stomach is non-existent and those boobs stand up without stretch marks so far as we can see. Her lips are, as you say, pillows – meaning overstuffed (and I’m sure they’re natural, they do seem to exist in her childhood photos). BUT MOST WOMEN DON’T LOOK LIKE THAT.

If I remember correctly, you wanted to liberate us from thinking we needed to idolize that male, sexualized, impossible to attain ideal! Just because some women, or the majority according to your poll, think she’s hot doesn’t make it okay. Why do you think they find her attractive? Doesn’t this beauty myth play a role. Wasn’t your theory that women are pressured into taking on this idealized concept of the female body? By men?

I read your book a long time ago, when it came out in 1991. And it meant so much to me. So much – as a woman who was struggling with an eating disorder, who had just found herself plopped in an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog masquerading as a private, New England college, who went on to struggle and survive, who was proudly among the first small group of women to graduate with a Women’s Studies major.

So, my feminst icon? Well, she used to look a little bit like Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Billie Jean King, Sylvia Boorstein and my fourth grade teacher, Holly Tetlow, all rolled into one. But the more I read your article, the more I realized that my icon is so much more. She’s new women I meet doing amazing things, female authors that are writing their hearts out, mothers that survive the loss of a child, girls finding their voices, she’s my friends, she’s my family. And she’s me – on my good days and on my bad ones.

We are more universal. We’re a grab bag, really. As diverse as our needs and wants on any given day. But, bottomline, my icon is real. She’s here.

Live and let live. I don’t know Angelina Jolie and I don’t pretend to just becuase I can read about her life in People magazine. But, I do know my icons, idols, role models and fantasies…and they look, act and exist nothing like Angelina Jolie.

Join the discussion 56 Comments

  • Jason says:

    I don’t get this “Angie-Envy”. Does this adoration for a famous female need to be from entertainment? No offense, but anyone can act. We do it anytime we lie or feign interest. I mean, how about Mia Hamm, Trisha Meili ( or even Martina Navratilova? (I don’t think sexual orientation should define or confine the feminist mystique)These women have been true role models, blazing their way without compromising their beliefs or demeaning others. Even more, they actually had to work to get where they are. Yes, I admire athletes more than actors. Sue me…

  • Kelby says:

    I couldn’t possibly say it better than you have, Julie. Of all the women on this planet to be a feminist icon, Angelina Jolie is about dead last on my list. She sees children as collectibles, and married men as potential husbands. She publicly declared that breastfeeding twins put her out too much so, without any mention of seeking out resources to help, gave up on that at three months (shoot, that’s when most moms are barely starting to get into a groove anyway). So now how many twin moms will think if she can’t do it with all her wealth and help, obviously they can’t.

  • Ron Miller says:

    As a male, let me say I like to call her plastic woman because she looks plastic to me. She is in no way my ideal woman, I can tell you that. I’m more of a Jennifer Anniston kind of boy myself. :-)

    While you’re knocking her off her pedestal, don’t forget that she french kissed her *brother* on national TV during an awards show before she played tonsil hockey with Brad.

    I’m with you on this one Julie (and we do disagree often, trust me). I don’t see her as ideal anything.


  • Kelby says:

    Thank you Ron!!!! I meant to mention that and got on a rant. LOL. But yes, have we all forgotten that this nutcase actually tongued her own brother n national TV. *gag* Let’s NOT forget it.

  • Becky says:

    I saw you tweet about this earlier. Glad you wrote more. Amen.

  • Brav-to the nth degree-O!

    I’m have major celebrity adoration fatigue.

    I like Helen Thomas, personally. Talk about a feminist triumph!

    Jolie is famous b/c she’s pretty. It’s carried her far. Hooray for her. But it’s a toss of the dice, how we look. Nobody can control that.

    But people who achieve, overcome odds?

    There’s the feminist icons.

    You nailed it.

  • Laurie says:

    People fall in and out of love all the time – why should she be crucified longer & harder than the average female? She’s doing more good in the world than most of us could even fathom. Sadly, most of us spend more time sitting in front of the TV than actually making our own path and spreading the goodwill in our commmunity and beyond. What a shame someone who’s making a real difference gets so judged.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Well, Laurie. I’m not really judging Angelina Jolie so much as Naomi Wolf. The letter is to her and I take issue with her article and proclamations. I make it pretty darn clear that I don’t know Angelina Jolie…she isn’t the point. and thanks for stopping by…

  • Mary says:

    I see a lot of good points here and agree that declaring Angelina a Feminist Icon is a bit much. However, I don’t think anyone can say that “she sees children as collectibles” (via Kelby). That’s not fair to her children, especially considering the commitment she has made — not to mention there is nothing concrete to base that comment on.

    None of us are close enough to their situation to declare that, and I find it insulting to the children involved. Having pursued adoption and its rigorous process, it is a REAL commitment — one that is scrutinized by home studies, background checks, and a lot more. It is a commitment that lasts a life time.

    I may not agree that she ought to be put on a pedestal as an icon for women, but I do believe it is unfair to claim that she sees her children as collectibles. I hate that people even have the nerve to describe children that way in order to put someone down.

    Please keep the kids out of it.

  • marty says:

    I cannot possibly tell you how much I love this post. So I will stumble, tweet, facebook, and link.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Yo…thanks Marty. I cannot possibly tell you how much I love that you love this post…written right from gut…

  • Meghan says:

    Julie, This is why you are one of my favorite people. Bravo.

  • ilinap says:

    God I loved this post! You perfectly articulated everything I feel about Angelina Jolie. I don’t want one iota of whatever mystique she bears. I’m proud of my brain, my values, my voice, and my somewhat mushy body that bore two healthy, beautiful children. And to think I manage my life with no stylist, PR maven, trainer, cook, or staff.

  • Laurie Cover says:

    Good piece of writing!
    I agree with it all.
    let us not forget that she also deliberately broke up another Hollywood union before Brad & Jen. The couple was: Billy Bob Thornton and Laura Dern.

  • Applauding over here. Wildly. THIS is just awesome. I am Digging it, Stumbling it, Tweeting it and reading it over and over.

    Angelina Jolie? She’s not even CLOSE to being someone I’d even remotely think of as a REAL woman…or a real person for that matter. Beautiful? Sure. But she’s just not the kind of chick that I think is deserving of all this glowing praise.

    Pass the barf bag.

  • believesulli says:

    Wow, I’m all over this one! Loving this article. Angelina Jolie, come on…she’s not a “real” woman anyway. This article states it in the most awesome way! I remember way back in my childhood, someone once told me that those “girls” that are considered “beautiful”, or “idolized” because of their looks, bodies, etc…are usually not respected very much.

    Respect is something that has to be earned, Jolie earns money and only cares about what is being said in the gossip magazines. She certainly keeps them busy.

    I’d rather have other people respect me, that trumps all other “things.”

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    She’s apparently the richest person in the world now, right? She’s even more powerful than Oprah. How exactly did that happen? I like that so many women are in the top 10 all time earners, but I don’t like that she’s leading the pack. Your article rocks.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Alisa …how interesting that Naomi Wolf’s article came out right after it was announced that Angelina Jolie knocked Oprah out of the top spot…coincidence? hmmmmm….

  • KJ says:

    Fantastic letter and post!

  • Tracy says:

    I think as an archetype, Angelina Jolie works. I can’t say that I find everything she does admirable or a choice I would have made, but there is something about how unabashedly herself she seems to be that resonates with me.

    Would I go so far as to call her the feminist icon? No, but I also don’t think it’s outlandish that some would see her that way.

    Great piece though, lots of food for thought. I’m now mulling over who I would choose to be my feminist heroes.

  • Arielle says:

    I don’t read your blog regularly, but just got a link to this post from a friend. I was really happy to read it and am in 100% agreement with you. To me, Jennifer Aniston is a much more important and relevant to modern women’s issues. She’s by all means a professional success, not to mention talented and beautiful, but she’s over 40, single and childless, and therefore the subject of everyone’s pity (because god knows what happens to women over 40 who don’t have a husband and a family!). She was left by her husband for a younger woman, in a humiliating fashion. These are the struggles of everyday American women. Angelina Jolie is totally out of touch with these issues: she gets what she wants at all costs, and has her picture perfect little life. She hires the reporters to come interview her so she can tell the world how perfect her little life is (the articles are always a nauseating). Jenn is just trying to find happiness against what can seem like insurmountable odds. To me, that’s much more heroic than anything Angelina has ever done. No woman I know will ever have a life like Angelina, ad nothing she has done or been through is remotely relatable. She might not be a madonna or a whore, but she’s certainly up on a pedestal.

  • Mamabear says:

    AMEN! Coming from myself as a survivor of anorexia, Angelina is clearly not deserving of a “beautiful” woman label. Perhaps someone with some meat (like u said) and some character. I’ve been there….skinny, fake tits, perfect makeup, etc…I WAS UGLY inside! TOday I can say that I’m free and happy. I am someone I want my kids to be…which is far from someone like A Jolie. Bravo!

  • Kelly says:

    To put it as simply as I possibly can,


    It’s a pretty sad day when a media-styled, insouciant, (not to mention publicly adulterous) movie star is considered a feminist icon simply because she has a pilot’s license and functions as a figurehead for the UN. PUH-lease.

    Great letter.

  • B says:

    Very well said!

  • Salt says:

    I think Sarah Palin is THE Feminist icon of the 21st Century. She is an accomplished woman, apart from any man, she is her own woman and she does not seem to care what the culture THINKS she ought to do and say and be. I thought that’s what feminism was all about.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Well done, Salt. Rabble rousing accomplished.

    No, that isn’t THE definition of feminism. And I don’t actually know that there is just one – perhaps there are as many definitions as there are women. But there is a common thread – and that would be that any feminist would, at the very least, desire to support the rights and freedoms of all women.

    And your Sarah Palin has shown clearly her UN-support with her views on Lesbians and abortion. She’s also deeply at odds with Mother Nature – literally shooting her down and denying her desperate signals for help.

    I could go on all day, the examples of Palin’s UN-feminism run rampant. Suffice it to say, she is no feminist icon. Never will be.

  • I simply do not understand what the attraction to Angelina Jolie is. When I think of my top 10 women who have made a difference and have been good role models…Angelina simply does not even come close to the list.

  • Dawne says:

    Oh, ladies, pull in your claws. I see jealousy still rules the female pack; fear and dislike of the alpha female.

    Angelina Jolie is a woman who grew up like most of us in some sort of broken family. This became the wind beneath her wings from what I can glean through her interviews, movie choices and adolescent behaviour choices.

    I am a bra-burning sixties hippie type feminist, unlike my daughter who has a Masters in Legal Studies and sees feminism as a ‘legality’ more or less. Feminism for me is that all woman are availed of equal opportunity in all aspects of life achievement potential.

    Angelina is not only availed of opportunity but she is the epitome of self-actualization. She had the money, talent, fame and beauty in her twenties, but her keen intelligence did not allow her to rest on her laurels and simply enjoy the HW ride and lifestyle.

    Instead, she broadened her focuses and spread her wings wider in an attempt to make the world a better place in her lifetime.

    In my view, what makes her an icon is what she has accomoplished in her very short life.

    Initially what resonated with me about Angelina was her superior acting chops and her incredible bravery and honesty.

    She is a woman with true grit, a woman who pilots her own plane, does most of her own stunts in action flicks and crawls through dangerous war zones in strife rich third world countries. She defies the archetypal HW celebrity or full out movie star in that she can morph into low maintenance with total ease of heart, mind and body.

    She is the only woman who has penetrated the machismo barrier of the action movie genre.

    In one year she birthed a set of twins, made box office records, was nominated for her second Oscar while mothering six children under the age of eight while traveling the world and keeping the hottest man in the world happy and fulfilled.

    As for her beauty, she was born with it and that is about as far as it goes as an imposition on who she is. And for those endless eating disorder claims, Angie has always been lanky, long legged and thin. They are bogus.

    Presidents and paupers love and admire her but as a self-described citizen of the world, she fundamentally aligns herself with the disenfranchised.

    For those who ealier mentioned Aniston, oh, my, not in the same sentence, please. No comparison on any level. One is as neurotic and self obsessed as the other is outreaching and secure. These women do not exist on the same planet. I’ll leave it at that, most thinking people have already figured this out.

    Oscar winning and author Angelina is the most famous female star in the world, the mother of six fabulous children, wife to one of the world’s hottest male stars, a major humanitarian, a member of CFR (huge prestige)and recently voted the most beautiful and powerful woman.

    Damn straight she is iconic. She is my hero. She does it all and does it all very well. She is organized and a keen multi-tasker, hard worker, lovely to all people, kind and sweet as described by those with whom she has met from fans to directors. What’s not to admire and respect? You may not share my views, but you can in no way diminish the attributes of this amazing young woman

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thanks for your comment, Dawne. If Naomi Wolf had written that, I might not have responded the way I did. The thing that’s really getting me here is that I have an issue with Naomi Wolf, not Angelina Jolie. As I said above – we can’t possibly no the truth about her – not the bad things that are said and not all of the wonderful things that you just said. But we can no what Naomi Wolf once espoused and now her reasons for naming Angelina Jolie as iconic…and that’s what my post was about. Thanks again for taking the time to write.

  • bklein34 says:

    Totally agree. Naomi Wolf, are you out of your mind calling her a feminist icon? Well, if you define doing whatever-you-want-the-rest-of-the-world-be-damned, then yes. But, most of us call that that selfish, self-absorbed and inconsiderate.

    She is beautiful, no doubt about that. And she should be given credit for bringing attention to important causes based on her beauty and fame.

    But feminist icon? No. NO. Not even close.

    Let’s try Madeleine Albright or Maria Schriver or even Jodi Foster or Oprah Winfrey for goodness sake.


  • Sore Losers says:

    Sorry, but your screed had me ROTFLMAO. Basically what I’m getting out of this is that you’re a Jennifer Aniston fan who’s still mad that Pitt dumped her like a bad habit and went running after the “most beautiful” and “sexiest” woman live. I get it – ugly girls are people, too. Now lets all hold hands and sing “Cumbaya.”

  • Julie says:

    While reading your post, I couldn’t help but wonder about the editors. I kept thinking that maybe they skewed the feeling of her article; but, there is probably only so much skewing they can do…

    Maybe Naomi was just incredibly charmed by Angelina Jolie?

    Thanks for the great post, as always!

  • Hmm. Naomi Wolf states that Angelina gave Maddox an “an ideal masculine counterpart”. Really? It never occurred to me adultery is part of a masculine ideal my sons should be striving to achieve for themselves when they grow up. Instead I’ve talked about honesty and respect and told them if they are ever unhappy in relationship breaking it off is honorable, while wandering off isn’t.

    Silly me. I’m raising my sons with the wrong ideal. Oops, my bad.

  • Julie Roads says:

    It has come to my attention that someone has posted hateful remarks about me because of my opinions in this post. I am happy to have dissenting comments listed here – I love a lively discussion and differing perspectives. As you can see above, I’ve included these thoughtful and opposing comments above and responded where I felt called to. I will, however, NOT tolerate hate on my blog – and those comments have been and will continue to be deleted. Thanks, Julie

  • pamela says:

    You wrote a piece maligning Angelina Jolie, because you have an issue with what the author wrote? How does that even make sense? And then you get the rabid people who hate Angie just for the sake of hating, writing the usual diatribes. This continuing hatred against this woman is SICK, and people like you keep perpetuating it with your constant hate-filled rants. If you had a problem with the article, write the editor.That’s what NORMAL people do But no, you wanted the hits to your site, and VOILA!! what better way than to throw Angie to the wolves again. Very soon she will be blamed for the global economic crisis.

    It is sad when a young woman, who is trying to live her life the best way possible, is being crucified in the court of public opinion because of a freaking divorce that happened 4+ years ago, and is no ones business but the people involved. And PLEASE don’t insult my intelligence by trying to say this has NOTHING to do with the afore-mentioned divorce. Brad did not divorce you.

  • Janice says:

    Amen, sister. I’m with you — George C. would definitely be much more fun. Brad seems so. . .stiff. Can you imagine Angie and Brad at a cookout, I don’t know. . .playing cornhole? George would be setting up the brackets for the tournament.

  • Freya says:

    I’ll be very brief! I agree with Dawne!

    Oh, one more thing. It’s high time to let that silly triangle go!

  • Ron Miller says:

    I wonder if we just keep in mind, that Jolie is just a person like everyone else who just happens to be an actress. Doesn’t make her any better or any worse than anyone else or any less human, but Jolie fans, let’s lighten up shall we? This piece wasn’t even about her so much as the fact as Wolf held her up as a feminist icon.

    Let’s try to separate the idea that you’re a big fan and look at the big picture of this piece. It’s about who makes a feminist icon and what Wolf wrote. Jolie just happens to be that person and Julie was merely expressing an opinion, that she didn’t see her in that mold.

    You can feel free to disagree with that opinion, but because you are a super fan, don’t think it gives you carte blanche to say whatever comes into your head. Remember, that there is a real human being behind this blog and you shouldn’t write things you wouldn’t say in person.

    I think some of the responses have gone too far…(and they have been rightfully removed).

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thanks, Freya. Maybe read the post again? I’m not concerned with the triangle. I’m concerned that Naomi Wolf is holding someone that had a public affair with a married man up as a feminist icon. That’s it.

  • Meghan says:

    I REALLY think that most of the people with the negative responses seemed to have either not read your post at all or else the point of your post went WAY over their heads.

    Does anyone who left the negative comments even know what the Beauty Myth is? And how many times does your post mention Jennifer Aniston? I don’t know, maybe someone accidentally took a wrong turn at crazy town and thought they had ended up at some cheesy celebrity gossip blog.

    Which they most certainly did not.

  • Dawne says:

    Just like to make a correction of fact. As stated by Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Courtney Cox and Angelina Jolie……..there was no affair!!!

    Why is it, that when the principles involved as well as the ex spouse of Pitt and Aniston’s best friend ALL aver that there was no dastardly affair, who is anyone else to state that there was? I have difficulty with rumour, gossip and speculation being treated as fact.

    Pitt and Aniston were failing for years and I personally believe he was ’emotionally available’ when he met Angie who mirrored the values which lay in his heart latently, oppressed by a complacency and lethargy that befell him after he married.

    He sought therapy etc. but this couple spent as long as six months apart at any given time and as Brad said, he had reached a ‘dead end.’ One wanted a family, the other wanted a movie career….blah, blah. Different people with different priorities. Why does it always lay at the lowest common denominator… affair.

    Anyone who knows Angie knows that her father’s affair with Jane Fonda broke up her family and she has stated whe would NEVER do such a thing as it brought so much pain to her beloved mother. Angie does not lie. She is a truth teller. I believe they fell in love but did not act upon it until Pitt was a free man. But people like to believe what promotes their own agendas.

    How can any modern and intelligent woman actually believe a man can be ‘stolen’….especially a man of subtstance like Bradely Pitt. Now that I see how sympatico he is with Angie, it is obvious why they fell in love. They share the deepest of connections……the same value system.

    So taking issue with Naomi over this non-fact is rather moot. The joining of Brad and Angelina resulted in a lovely family where three of their six children would have been doomed to a life of misery or a childhood death. Good only comes out of pure. Look where Brad is and then look back at who he was with and what she has done with her life……need I say more?

  • There are so many great comment on here…however, I think that the comment section on many blogs become a battlefield and everyone loses sight of the post itself.

    Julie was writing her thoughts and in no way did she write “my way or the highway”. Of course when you write something outside of the safety net of cupcakes and fairies, it is a given that there will be some strong opinions. We cannot expect everyone to agree with our views as bloggers, such is why we blog–to express OUR views on OUR blog.

    HOWEVER….I’m often amazed that my 8 year old daughter can debate a subject with more dignity than the sword throwers that come out to play when there’s just a slight opportunity to put someone down for having an opinion.

    Have an opinion…just don’t go after someone’s character just because you don’t agree. It becomes less about what the point of the post was and more about who can tear the writer down. We are all humans yet when we let loose behind the safety of our computers, some of us forget what the word “class” means.

    Hey, Julie, I happen to agree with you on this post, but even if I didn’t, I’d still think you’re a rockin’ chick for having the gusto to speak your mind.

  • Stop Whining says:

    Ms. Roads,

    Whatever point you thought you were making about the writing of Naomi Wolf has been overshadowed by the melodrama of your diatribe against Angelina Jolie herself. You strayed so far from the point when you started attacking Wolf’s characterization of Jolie’s looks, work, and public persona.

    You know what I’m sick of? Women who refuse to admit that Angelina Jolie is NOT the woman the tabloids paint her to be. You obviously don’t know anything about Jolie and have never read her interviews. If you had, then you would understand why Naomi Wolf called her “iconic”. If you would take a second to look around you and do some reading, then you’d find that women in all walks of life admire Jolie for living her life on HER terms and not kowtowing to the conventions of Hollywood and accepting being put into a slot and staying there like a good girl.

    Jolie is an iconoclast. She’s one of those once in a generation megastars that commands attention no matter what she’s doing or where she’s doing it. She’s a leader and people follow her because, as Bill O’Reilly found out when he investigated her humanitarian efforts for his show, she walks the talk. In parlance you can understand – she puts her money where her mouth is. Aside from the fact that she’s has single-handedly turned/shamed/charmed a large number of her fellow actors into humanitarians, Brad Pitt indcluded, she is admired for her work by world leaders, Congressmen/women, other humanitarians, her peers and regular folks like myself and many other people around the world.

    Notice I said “around the world.” That’s what makes Jolie “iconic”. She is a global entity. Known in all parts of this world, places that have no idea that people like you continue to blame her for the death of a marriage that was 2 years overdue for a split in the first place. That’s yet another little item you need to research. Do you your homework and understand the subject BEFORE spouting off about it. Jolie is known around the world for her movies (whatever you may think of them) – and her humanitarian work.

    People admire Jolie because she spent 4 years in the trenches gaining firsthand experience of the issues at hand. She put on her boots and mucked around with the other aid workers, slept where they did, ate whatever was given to her, took notes, asked questions and paid attention. The fact that people like you want to negate her work with talk of “homewrecking” and “husband stealing” is pathetic. Men cannot be stolen and solid homes cannot be wrecked.

    My point is this – there are people around the world who admire Jolie for her humanitarian work. There are peole around the world who love her for acting. And then you have people like actress Megan Fox and celebutard OctoMom, who’s real name I can never remember and ordinary women off the street walking into a plastic surgeon’s office and paying large amounts of money to LOOK LIKE JOLIE. One of the trademarks of an icon is that people will follow them – what they wear and what they look like. I cannot stand Madonna…but…even I will admit that the she is an icon. You may not like Angelina Jolie, but if you do your homework and follow the imperical evidence, then you cannot deny that Angelina Jolie has become iconic in today’s society the same way Madonna did in the 1980s.

    Stop fighting the inevitable and face facts – Jolie has changed Hollywood, America, the world – whether you like it or not she IS an icon.

  • english is not my first language says:

    I think she is a good role model. Lot of youth grow up troubled and there seems to be no way out for them , but Angelina is an example that you can get out of it and become something better. Yeah, she has a wild past, but so has most of Hollywood.. she’s just been more honest about it. I admire her for finding something bigger than herself and her own problem. I also admire her so much for being honest. when she talk abut how she used to cut herself My cousin tell me she also cut herself but she didn’t know other people did it until she read Angelina article about it. she has since got help for her cutting problem. Angelina has helped at least one person with her honesty.

  • I had a similar reaction to the Harper’s piece. What I found most disturbing was that Wolf apparently credits Jolie’s change to feminist icon to her status as mother and wife-figure. A whole wide world of no. Any feminist icon, imo, must be declared and defined on the basis of her self.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Tamara! Excellent, brilliant point. Thank you for taking the time to add it to the discussion.

  • OPN says:

    What does a major fashion magazine resort to when newsstand sales fall 15% going into the 2nd quarter? Employ the same tactics as the celebrity weeklies and the blogoshphere do. How desperate is that for HP to have Jolie on the cover sans a photo shoot (used a wire photo from the TCCOBB premiere) and commissioned Naomi Wolf to write a cover story without an interview from Jolie. How tabloidy indeed.

    And it’s equally desperate for Naomi Wolf to write a half-assed essay on a subject it’s clear she did not fully researched on. If you’re going to write something that you know will generate media buzz, then at least don’t insult our intelligence and show us some effort that you dug facts. Not this well disguised passive-aggressive diatribe.

    I list Wolf among those who have made a career in projecting their BULL-SHITE on Angelina Jolie and profit from people whom they cater these crap to. Well, what one can expect from someone who IMO has lost her credibility when she penned her whine-fest with her book, “Misconceptions”. Instead of highlighting legitimate issues she raised in the book, she instead engaged in exorcising the ghost of her childbirth experience and profit from it – her public catharsis so to speak. But that’s another issue altogether….

    Going back to the article, Wolf makes it sound like Angelina Jolie sat down and wrote her career plan right before she entered the biz 15 years or so ago and with Machiavellian cunning plotted what image she’d want to project from different stages of her personal life and career (wild child, getting accolades for her acting early on in her career (Emmy, SAG, GG, Oscar she got it all), her relationships, working with UNHCR, adoption, becoming a bankable female star on par with her male counterparts, her 3 movies that earned $1B in gross receipts in 2008, lobbying for her various causes in Washington (like she pushed for The Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act), “stealing” Brad Pitt from a so called America’s Sweetheart while at the same time earning respect from the film industry and world leaders and philanthropists like her, pregnancy, philanthropy and her savvy in redirecting media spotlight to those who have no access to it. Wow, I didn’t know Jolie possessed such omniscient power.

    Now, my issues with some of the points you raised:

    [I]“Escape the image of the Whore? Um. Last time I checked she had an affair with a married man and then told everyone about it in a magazine. You wrote, ’she managed the almost unheard-of task of turning the home-wrecker label into a wholesome, family-friendly triumph.’ …………….. Sorry for the pause. I was busy. Throwing up.”[/I]

    Excuse me. Give me a sec while I’ll wait for my eyeballs to stop rolling with this statement above. CHECKED? You checked? You mean you have water-tight evidence that there was an AFFAIR? You mean, there’s a written confession by Jolie of her sins and only a “select & privileged” few seem to know about it? Damn, I didn’t know I was in hibernation in an alternate universe for the last 4+ years. Last time I heard from Aniston herself, there was no villain in this drama. Did you completely miss that? Or were you like Wolf, lazily pulling out drivel from entertainment media with this “created drama”? Calling Jolie as the husband-stealer and Aniston as the VICTIM and forget Pitt, he’s just a bystander in his own marriage. LOL! For a professed feminist, you’re certainly quick to throw out LABELS.

    [I]Is this a joke? Who decided that she triumphed and who the hell called it wholesome? I think what she did was horrid and unforgivable. I’ve never caught her face on the front of the tabloids and thought anything but, ‘Ew.’ She did something wrong. She hurt at least one person, badly. And because the media decided to spin it one particular way, she triumphed? Naomi, you say it yourself: Maddox was photographed playing squeaky clean football with Brad Pitt, the father figure, and by Annie Liebovitz loving his mother. This was not a triumph – but a well-played, well-moneyed PR stunt.[/I]

    Is this a joke? Who appointed you judge and jury, claiming that what Jolie allegedly did was horrible and forgivable? See, this paragraph here reeks of bias and prejudice. You swallowed the whole PR spin anointing Jennifer Aniston as the VICTIM and the ensuing media perpetuation of the triangle. I say, congratulations Stephen Huvane, you did good.

    And by the way, may I suggest you read all of Aniston’s legitimate magazine interviews since 2005. When you do, then let’s talk about PR stunt.

    [I]“I don’t care how much good she does in the world, you can’t really erase that, can you??? Maybe you can note her change or congratulate her for doing good things – but call a spade a spade. I beg you.”[/I]

    You know, I find it sad that someone who seems to be smart is not as discerning of her reading materials as I would have thought.

    I won’t inundate your blog with all of Jolie’s achievements outside of HW because I might be accused of writing a freakin’ book. I’ll just provide a link to UNHCR and a few sites.

    [I]”Live and let live. I don’t know Angelina Jolie and I don’t pretend to just becuase I can read about her life in People magazine. But, I do know my icons, idols, role models and fantasies…and they look, act and exist nothing like Angelina Jolie.” [/I]

    That’s right, YOU don’t KNOW Jolie yet you are quite dismissive of her achievements (both in HW and outside HW), her humanitarian efforts and her global reach.

    The great Pauline Kael once said upon seeing her in Gia, “this girl could play both the Brando and Maria Schneider roles in ‘Last Tango’!”.

    BTW, Jolie’s interests and talking point is not just confined in People Magazine. Maybe you need to check with WPs archives because she wrote an op-ed about the Iraq surge. Just recently she wrote an op-ed on child soldiers and Sudanese for Time Mag. Even Ted Sorenson (JFK’s speechwriter) was impressed after he heard her talk in a CFR symposium about the ICC. Her intuitive and direct responses to everything garnered her admiration of a fan base that “cuts across class, sex and political lines”.

    For her admirers, she’s an evolved woman, one who is culturally and socially aware and sensitive. A voice for the voiceless. A strong woman whose humanitarian works empowers women. Her media savvy redirects the spotlight to bring issues in the forefront. But to the naysayers and her detractors, she’s a media manipulator, a man-eater, homewrecker, baby collector, ______ insert all the issues that you can blame Jolie for.

    Hate or love her she certainly evokes strong emotions from people. There’s no dismissing the fact that Jolie is a fascinating creature.

  • Adelaide says:

    Please do not call the magazine in which this article about Angelina Jolie appeared “Harper’s.” It appeared in “Harper’s Bazaar.” If you want to refer to it by a one word title, the correct one to use is “Bazaar.” Harper’s magazine is an entirely different kind of publication. Please, please, do not confuse the two.

  • Stop Whining says:

    Tamara –

    You don’t think Jolie is “defined on the basis of her self?” Where can I get some of that crack you’re smoking? If there is one woman in all of current pop culture who is defined by her knowledge of her self and her independence, then it is Angelina Jolie. The fact that Naomi Wolf did a poor job, in your estimation, of stating that is irrelevant. One of the main things Jolie has been lauded for all these years is her refusal to let others, be it the media, her ex-husbands, her current partner or her father, define who she is. The fact that you don’t know this just points out how ignorant you are about Jolie and your unwillingness to be objective. As I stated in a comment yesterday – Jolie is an iconoclast. She lives by her rules and her ideals. The people who are close to her, know her well or have worked with her have said she has honor and integrity, but is no one’s doormat. If these attributes don’t add up to iconic and “feminist” by your definition, then what the hell does?

  • Brigitte says:

    I am African and I admire Angelina Jolie for what she is and what she achieved in life.she is a modern woman and a great partner.she is my ICON!
    she built a school for girls in Kenia,do you know that? Do your homework before calling other people names!
    It’s so sad to see how you people try to bring her down by always writing negative stories about her!and yet you wonder why she is the most powerful celeb in the world? you ALL make hits and money off her name.
    Why the hate for this young woman?Only because of that stupid hollywood divorce? move on!