Joe Jonas, Sophie Turner and the shifting dynamics of the “celebrity divorce industrial complex”

Simone Driessen on ABC News Australia
Broken heart

Celebrity divorces have been a revenue model for the entertainment media industry for years. Especially in the early 00s, women were often singled out as 'bad girl' in these and schadenfreude celebrated its heyday. Following the recent breakup between Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, Dr Simone Driessen tells ABC News Australia how the dynamics of the celebrity divorce industrial complex are shifting.

The ‘bad girl’ trope

Jonas and Turner's case is reminiscent of the 'bad girl' trope of the early 00s, when young women were often vilified by the tabloid press. Hollywood's rising stars, often young women, were elevated by gossip magazines and newspapers and put on pedestals for fans to model themselves upon. Then, when they failed to live up to those sky-high standards, they would be hounded and humiliated by outlets who profited from their publicised falls.

A shifting narrative

"I think that what has been labelled as 'bad girl' is something generally accepted of men," Dr Driessen says. "So, we're measuring with very different standards." While there is still some way to go, the dial has shifted slightly when it comes to identifying and challenging these narratives.

And that also happened in the case of Jonas and Turner. Turner changed from “bad mum” to a young woman seemingly at the mercy of "pointed and angry" coverage. Because of social media, celebrities can tell their side of the story and fans now demand attention, backing their idols.

Fans stand up for their idol

"Turner's fans so far, like in many other fandoms, have only stood up for her and supported her publicly (via social media) and I think that is a consequence more visible today than in the 00s," Dr Driessen says. What may have been accepted as truth 20 years ago, took on a new meaning in a post-MeToo, post-Framing Britney Spears world.

The swift public reaction and apparent support for Turner demonstrates just how radically social media has shifted the power dynamics of America's entertainment industry. Today's audiences are quicker to question the narratives they are presented with, and social media has helped even the playing field.

Read the full article here.


Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes