Americans are obsessed with celebrities. While our fascination with
fame intensified throughout the twentieth century, the rise of the
weekly gossip magazine in the early 2000s confirmed and fueled our
popular culture?s celebrity mania. After a decade of diets
and dates, breakups and baby bumps, celebrity gossip magazines
continue to sell millions of issues each week. Why are readers,
especially young women, so attracted to these magazines? What
pleasures do they offer us? And why do we read them, even when we
disagree with the images of femininity that they splash across
their hot-pink covers?
Andrea McDonnell answers these questions with the help of
interviews from editors and readers, and her own textual and visual
analysis. McDonnell?s perspective is multifaceted; she
examines the notorious narratives of celebrity gossip magazines as
well as the genre?s core features, such as the "Just Like Us"
photo montage and the "Who Wore It Best?" poll. McDonnell shows
that, despite their trivial reputation, celebrity gossip magazines
serve as an important site of engagement for their readers, who use
these texts to generate conversation, manage relationships, and
consider their own ideas and values.