Sunday, 16 December 2007

Resisting Paris

'I think the biggest misconception about me is that I'm this spoiled brat. But I'm not. I'm the total opposite' - Paris on her motivations to publish the above.

Open any tabloid for proof that the world is yet to see the unspoilt, giving individual that Paris sees in herself. One would hope that reading her book would allow insight into that giving nature of hers. Not so.

In this chunky volume, which is approximately two-thirds pictures, Paris takes us on a two-hour walk through her wardrobe, boy-toys and modelling career. If that weren't enough, she also provides tips on how any discerning reader can become more Heiress-like. Such gems of encouragement include:

'Act Ditzy. Lose things. It throws people off and makes them think you’re ‘adorable’ and less together than you really are’

Never wear the same thing twice’.

‘Always tell everyone what they want to hear’

One can also find tips on fake-tan wearing and cellphone-losing. Useful entertainment, indeed. It seems anti-feminist in a way which I can only describe as regressive; why would a woman, or, indeed, a man, want to come across as unintelligent and repressed? Perhaps she didn't really write it. Perhaps her co-writer put those bits in. But the text made it past the editorial team at Simon & Schuster. Why?

This autobiography contains very little which is autobiographical; in the 'Fashion don'ts' chapter, Paris 'exposes' herself through bad clothing choices, and advises readers to learn from her fashion mistakes. She does provide one memory, which involves swindling her younger sister out of $100 each year as a child. But that is it. The only memory. So much for the 'opposite of spoiled brat' effect. The reader is perhaps expected to learn more about her by looking at the plethora of pictures. With chapter headings such as 'My Best Accessories' and 'Warm and Fuzzy', the reader is left with little of the supposed 'Empowering Message of Inner Confidence for Young Women' that it's publisher promises. Indeed, Paris is so confident, so self assured, that this reader was left feeling lied to. What is human about a person who believes themselves to be perfect?

Today's media reflects our society's openness to celebrate celebrity as saint. This book goes further, expecting readers to accept a lists of accessories and doggy diaries in the place of autobiographical information: from a book marketed as autobiography. Perhaps the publishers feel that by giving this Paris-branded personal sales-pitch a sparkly pink cover they can lure the teen market. Apparently so. I am disappointed. In Paris, for lending her name to this. But more disappointed in society, for allowing this book to become such a success.