In defense of Katherine Heigl

Sometimes I feel like I am the last person in America who likes Katherine Heigl. Now, as a testament to my bad television watching, I first noticed her when I used to watch Roswell, that increasingly incomprehensible show about teenage space aliens back when I used to watch the WB and UPN. As a superficial-American, I think I've always had a crush on Heigl. I like these tall and imposing blonds. Like Charlize Theron, she's never seemed willowy or fragile but always having a little of hostility under the surface. She's always had backbone.

Heigl rose to fame on Grey's Anatomy and for a while was definitely the It girl of American television. But like anything and especially with women, that love can't last for long. I don't know when it all started going bad exactly but I remember when she launched a mild criticism towards Apatow and the movie, Knocked Up, calling it: ""a little sexist" and saying it ""paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys".

Well then, how dare she bite the hand that feeds? She's an ungrateful, treacherous bitch, isn't she?

She further alienated people when she refused to put her name as a nominee for the Emmy's for Grey's Anatomy in 2008, because she thought that the writing just wasn't good enough.

And since that time, she has just been characterized as "difficult", "demanding", "not worth it" But not everyone agrees and you have to wonder, if it is about her being an asshole or if she just is more assertive than a woman is supposed to be:

Life as We Know It producer Denise Di Novi tells THR those accusations are "way exaggerated," but acknowledges that both Katherine and her mom "are not shrinking violets. They're very straightforward and tell you what they think."

Read more: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news...

Heigl's alienation of much of Hollywood because of her relatively mild criticisms and perhaps her difficult behavior on the set cannot be considered outside the context of issues around sexism, where notoriously difficult men can be seen as tough, intense, brilliant and quixotic. For women, we have a few choices, we're either sweet, sexy or just a bitch and for Heigl, talking about sexism has permanently put her into the bitch camp. And so goes her career, as people continue to not just police the way that she acts, but by extension, gives the rest of us a warning to watch how we act so we don't risk being seen like her as well. Women like Heigl don't get many defenders or second chances, especially as the age range where a woman is seen as a viable celebrity is limited anyway. No, we're supposed to be sweet and uncomplicated and any sign of trouble is just an excuse to get rid of them.

But let's be honest, I'm not immune to the same dislike of certain female celebrities nor do I think that the hatred is always unfounded (otherwise, how would i explain my Gwyneth hating?). I'm part of the same system who receives the same cultural messages as the Heigl haters.

Also, seriously, Goop? Fuck that shit.

But anyway, despite my Gwynnie hate and my own baggage, I do hope to see Heigl make a comeback and even more so, I wish we'd widen the berth we give to female celebrities just a bit because that sends a message on how we all should be viewed. Yes, we should feel okay taking up a bit more space. And maybe we'll rub people the wrong way occasionally. And maybe no one wants to hear our views on feminism. But that we should not be ostracized into some social/celebrity purgatory for daring to be offensive.