I don’t think there’s any decent way to start a post about the subject of L’Wren Scott’s suicide other than to express my sympathies for her loved ones. Obviously, I did not know her, but suicide is a tragic end for a person’s life, and it’s very sad to read reports of the struggles that marked hers toward its end. May she rest in peace.
I imagine Ms. Scott’s name does not ring many bells for readers here at Ordinary Times. This is not a blog that devotes itself much to high fashion, after all. Just like I would probably not recognize the name of [moderately famous athlete here], our readership probably doesn’t recognize hers.
For people who happen to enjoy awards shows, however, and who happen to enjoy all the chatter before and after about who’s wearing what gown (that is to say, people like me), hers was a familiar name. Though I can’t remember which famous actresses wore her dresses at which awards shows, I heard the name “L’Wren Scott” mentioned often enough to note it.
Yesterday my Twitter feed started showing mentions of the death of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend. Not being all that keen to learn the details of what, to me, seems like a private tragedy for a person who happens to be famous, I didn’t click through. And then I saw a tweet that mentioned the death of Ms. Scott. “How sad,” I thought.
I had no idea they were the same person until I finally stumbled across a headline that included both Ms. Scott’s name and the fact that she had been in a relationship with Mr. Jagger. Headline after headline identified her as “Mick Jagger’s girlfriend,” as though there were nothing more of note to her life. As though her entire personal identity were subsumed by that one data point.
Gross. Insulting. Appalling.
L’Wren Scott was an accomplished human being in her own right. Whatever you think about the fashion industry and whatever the problems her business may have run into, it is a major achievement within that industry to dress people for the Academy Awards. She was more than someone’s girlfriend, no matter how famous that person may be.
If the only thing you can say about a person upon their demise is that they dated a celebrity, then grant them to dignity of privacy posthumously. If you considered them too obscure in life to learn their names, then don’t trouble their passing with scrutiny in death. And if they were noteworthy enough in life for their passing to be news, the very least you could do is use their actual names when reporting it.
I know this post is a wee bit angrier than my usual Tuesday fare, but the nauseating and egregious sexism of this reporting has made me unhappy all morning. In lieu of an actual question, consider this an open thread about celebrity media coverage.
Update: A lovely salute to L’Wren Scott’s work can be found here.