Book Chapter

‘White trash’ celebrity: Shame and display


This essay interrogates the construction of the figure of the ‘white trash’ celebrity. Examining the ‘star images’ of American reality TV star Paris Hilton and British reality star Jade Goody, as constructed through their print memoirs and digital fan (and anti-fan) sites, this chapter argues that the nature of contemporary celebrity media exposure, with its subjects’ lives on display, provides a basis for the gendered classing of its female stars as ‘white trash’ regardless of their socioeconomic background. I will argue that these women transgress (and in so doing highlight the existence of) celebrity’s codes of idealised white femininity: a whiteness which retains the privilege of an unmarked category until such celebrities fall short of its ideals of purity and restraint and are thus deemed to be, and denigrated as, ‘white trash’.

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Yelin, Hannah

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of English and Modern Languages


Year of publication: 2016
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-05-18

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