BEFORE Photo © Red Light District Video
Actually, I haven’t even thought about Paris Hilton in quite a long time. As I scan through music on various apps, her current song, Good Time, featuring Lil’ Wayne, continues to find its way in rotation as of lately. Think of Malibu Barbie® teaming up with another artist who can’t rap, meets auto-tuned, meets limited lyrics … and that pretty much sums up Paris’ latest foray in to popular music. In this reality television driven world that we inhabit, all of us have pretty much become accustom to those being famous for being famous. These individuals are often criticized for not having any tangible talent, however, they’re obviously doing something right. Baron Hilton, Paris Hilton’s grandaddy, plans to leave ninety-seven percent of his multi-billion dollar fortune to charity. You’re probably thinking that Paris is shitting gilded bricks over this. How’s she gonna keep up her collection of pink Bentleys and jewelry that keeps getting heisted from her mansion? Think again. Hilton’s penchant for being famous for being famous, has lead to the formation of a commodity brand that brings in more revenue than that infamous, low quality, best-selling porn video she starred in. Personally, I think the whole video was boring with the exception of the visual stimulation of her hung co-star, Rick Salomon. Let me get my mind out of the gutter and back to the fact that baby girl has turned the trashy 1 Night In Paris infamy to one kick-ass stop at the bank. Hilton amassed her own fortune all by herself with television syndication rights, appearance fees, book royalties and more importantly, the forty four Paris Hilton stores across the globe that sell just about anything she can stamp her name on; fragrance, shoes, purses, you name it. You won’t find any of her boutiques in the U.S., but believe me they are making bank, hunty! Obviously, Paris Hilton is just as savvy in business as she is in the fellatio skills she put forth in the sex tape. Gone is the former Paris Hilton, a vision of grotesque; a term Amy Shields Dobson descibes as “images of debauchery, vulgarity, drunkenness and transgression by girls on MySpace.” (The ‘Grotesque Body’ in Young Women’s Self Presentation on MySpace p7) Exit the hedonistic sex tape Paris and enter a new hetero-sexy state of being, lavished and camouflaged in retail marketing at it’s finest. Do we even remember her troubled past and all those arrests?
AND AFTER photo credit: Paris Hilton’s Instagram
When any person or more so, a celebrity, deletes long histories of social media posts, they’re usually either removing questionably negative content or using the social media platform(s) to craft the discourse they want their audience to engage in. Paris has over twelve million Twitter followers, but yet her tweet history begins in September of this year. Paris has been tweeting for years, therefore, it’s safe to assume that Paris, or more likely an assistant, has been busy deleting. With the occasional ‘love you’ ‘lovely time’ and happy birthdays to frumpy followers, there is one focus and driving force on her Twitter account and it’s good ol’ fashioned commerce. Gone are any naughty tweets. Gone are the half naked pics for horny frat boys to masturbate to. These tweets are all about retail therapy. The safe, commercialized tweets are generic in that they appeal to lowest common denominator effect, which Alice E. Marwick and Danah Boyd define as “individuals (who) only post things they believe their broadest group of acquaintances will find non-offensive” and engages followers with a timeline that “limits users to topics that are safe for all possible readers” (I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitter Users, Context Collapse, and the Imagined Audience pp 122, 126) This timeline is so squeaky clean that it’s boring and fundamentally- “that’s (not) hot.” Obviously, the private shenanigans of Paris Hilton are not present in her scoaial media as she is tweeting to fit a social norm in order to sell perfumes, bags ans a new Paris Hilton lifestyle brand. Sarah Banet-Weiser would see this change of persona, this branding, as “a way to brand oneself, a practice deployed by individuals to communicate personal values, ideas, and beliefs using strategies and logic from commercial brand culture, and one that is increasingly normative in the contemporary neoliberal economic environment.” (Branding the Post-Feminist Self: Girls Video Production and YouTube p2)
This business woman, aka performative-self, is consistent on Hilton’s Twitter, personal website and her various social network sites, thus, creating what Giddens would call a “coherent and continuous revision of a biographical narrative.” (Papacharissi, Without You, I’m Nothing: Performances of the Self on Twitter) Hilton’s Instagram is “non-naturalistic, but rather static, theatrical, framed, and classically feminine, so that whilst the celebrity may look at the viewer, she remains distant from the viewer, out of reach, and an object of idealisation” Dobson) Hilton’s LCD tweets and commercial images fed via Twitter are meant to do exactly as Dobson states, furthermore, this interaction attempts to detach her from any pornographic references audiences could associate her with from her past. These tweets and images all play in to the commercialized image. However, if one were getting drunk at a club in Ibiza where Paris is the guest DJ, one might find a different Paris Hilton. Erving Goffman cites that “individuals perform on multiple stages, creating a face for each interaction and developing faces for a variety of situational context.” (The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life)
Paris in no longer the filthiest city in the world … but the jury is still out on how fabulous her singing career is.