While everyone is fawning all over Jennifer Lawrence this week (well, everyone but me), it appears that the public opinion of Anne Hathaway has slipped even lower than before, with her supposed perfection inducing riotous masses of women to rampage fashion houses that manufacture nipply couture gowns and public burnings of Les Misérables special-edition Blu-rays. Well, it’s not that bad, but I’m thinking we’re getting close to it. But maybe you’re like me and don’t understand the hatred of Anne Hathaway—she is, after all, just as annoying as any other celebrity (J-Law included). Perhaps there’s a psychological reason behind all of this?
Salon’s Daniel D’Addario takes a look at what makes Hathaway so polarizing, and learns that it might be our problem, not hers.
[I]t may, indeed, be Hathaway’s face that fuels her haters, if only subconsciously: “When times are good we prefer actresses with rounder faces,” says psychology professor Terry Pettijohn, who has conducted academic studies on actress preference. “They convey these ideas of fun and youth.” Hathaway, on the other hand, has a “mature face” made distinctive by its slender shape and bone structure: “It suggests she would be popular when times are more challenging.” As the economy improves, Hathaway—whose peak of fame, post-boyfriend, pre-Oscar-hosting, came amid the 2008 economic crash—may just be a reminder of bad times.
More likely, though, Hathaway is just the latest iteration of a long-held tradition: the star we love to loathe. And, indeed, Hollywood historian Ed Sikov says that this could be a path out for her: “There are two ways to win over the public: You can make the public love you, or you can make the public hate you. Maybe it’s better to say, ‘You can make the public love to hate you. Take Bette Davis.’” The “All About Eve” star was willing to make herself look mean or aggressive, and had a career that lasted decades.
“She wasn’t afraid to be hated, and audiences respected her for that.”
See, guys? You don’t really hate Anne Hathaway, you hate the recession! And also yourselves. I suggest we all go watch All About Eve. Why not? That movie is awesome! It might not help you with your Hathaway hatred (or me with my disdain for Jennifer Lawrence’s irreverent charm), but it’ll probably distract us for a couple of hours.
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