Keeping People Safe By Defending Paris Hilton (Despite Her Stereotypes)

September 24th, 2012 | Categories: Sexual Orientation

Original Blog Thesis

This post started out very differently. I intended to report about Paris Hilton’s comments and have a quick blog post. I was going to quote her comments and juxtapose them with statistics showing that heterosexual rates for HIV and AIDS were comparable to rates for sexual minorities. I wasn’t even going to include my own text. Just those two things. The point would be clear. Hilton’s comments were full of sh*t and merely stereotyped gay men. The intended post would imply that Hilton was homophobic as well because it would show her stereotype was inaccurate.

Revised Blog Thesis #1

Then I found the alarming evidence of Hilton’s claim against homosexuals. Homosexuals and other sexual minorities are at a much greater risk than heterosexuals for contracting HIV and AIDS. This is unfortunately fairly consistent over time. Just check out the graphs that show HIV/AIDS rates over time for sexual orientation in a study analyzing U.S. data from 1988 to 1998 and in another studyusing U.S. data from 2006-2009. Don’t trouble yourself with the heavy text, just look at the graphs.

Don’t get me wrong here. Hilton’s comment that “most of them probably have AIDS” is NOT accurate. However, there is a kernel of truth in the stereotype that the sexual minority population is affected disproportionately by HIV/AIDS. Frankly, more people should be aware of this so that everyone can have safer and longer lives. Particularly , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expresses concern for young black males “who have sex with men.” Incidences of HIV/AIDS for this group are on the rise.

Revised Blog Thesis #2
In addition to this blog changing to become a, “hey my gay friends please stay safe blog,” this has also become a blog to say that maybe Hilton’s defense is not that far off. Wait, am I actually defending Paris Hilton? Perhaps what she meant to say just came out very wrong. Hilton’s apology stated, “I always have been and always will be a huge supporter of the gay community” and, at the time of her comments, she was having this conversation with a gay friend.

Sure she said gay men were “disgusting.” That sounds pretty incriminating. She certainly sounds homophobic. However, given the context of the comment, she wasn’t referring to all homosexuals. Rather, she was responding to what she perceived as excessive promiscuity in the gay community that utilizes the app Grindr, which seems to have as its intention to promote promiscuity in the gay community.

Listen, we all say stupid things sometimes. But when celebrities say something stupid, they get a reaction from the public. Check out any of The Communicated Stereotype’s Celebrity Trading Cards or its Celebrity Gallery clips for some hilarious AND offensive examples. Despite the expression that any publicity is good publicity, when it comes to a celebrity communicating a stereotype there is such a thing as bad publicity. Celebrities who stereotype and are “caught” risk losing fan bases as was the case with Michael Richards, endorsement deals as was the case with Johnny Rocker, and even their jobs as was the case with Rick Sanchez of CNN. Communicating a stereotype in such a way as to garner negative press can be the final blow that kills a celebrity’s career.

The problem with the response to Hilton’s comments is that she wasn’t speaking to the public or in public. She was speaking to a friend in a car. Still, just because Hilton isn’t homophobic doesn’t mean she was wise to say her comments. Even celebrities just say stupid things sometimes. Unfortunately, stupid doesn’t look pretty coming out of anyone’s mouth.

This isn’t the blog I expected to write when I sat down at my computer. And I sure as heck didn’t expect to be defending Paris Hilton. Nonetheless, this is a teaching moment. Her comments provide me the opportunity to give some advice. Conveniently, I have the same advice for my revised blog thesis #1 and #2.

Don’t do or say stupid things and you’ll stay safe.

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    November 26th, 2012 at 14:05

    Let’s face it; Paris Hilton doesn’t have the best reputation around. From her released sex tape to her outrageous partying and not to mention ditsy behavior, Paris pretty much has blown her chances at being taken seriously by anyone. For the most part, she is only famous for her looks and her money. She hasn’t exactly been the best celebrity role model out there but once and a while she has her moments. I think, however, her comment was not anything to inspire people to have safe sex. Her conversation with her gay model friend in the cab was simply a reaction towards something that was unfamiliar to her. The Grindr app is the most popular all-male location-based social network out there. For someone like Paris Hilton, this app is useless to her. Her self-centered attitude immediately caused her to retaliate with a negative comment criticizing the app and anyone that used it. Her response was nothing to draw conclusions from. Yes you can twist the story around to make it seem like Paris is a huge supporter for the gay/lesbian society and concerned for their health and safety but that is like saying the only reason Paris throws out her trash is to make the earth a cleaner place. This reason was just a cover-up to keep Paris once again out of trouble.

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