Go, Katie, go!

Because I’ve been out of the country for a month, I was forced to forgo my tabloid addiction. Upon returning to the USA, I was absolutely thrilled to see on the covers of both US Weekly and People that Katie Holmes has left Tom Cruise.

Holmes secured a divorce settlement from the great and powerful Cruise with full custody just 11 days after filing.

Wow. That’s a 180 from the experience of Cruise’s second wife, Nicole Kidman, who basically lost her kids after her split from Cruise to her husband and his passion for Scientology. Tabloids report that Holmes was well aware of Kidman’s situation and did everything in her power to prevent that fate from becoming her own.

Look, I know it’s the tabloids. I know I have no clue what is going on in the real lives of these people. But, if you read Reel Girl, you know I’m obsessed with gender representation in the fantasy world and how the fantasy world creates the real world and the real one creates the fantasy one, back and forth, on and on. The tabloids are one place where reality and fantasy blur and intersect, creating and perpetuating our cultural mythology. There is no denying how powerful and influential these narratives become, especially when it comes to gender roles.

Pre-Tom, I was a Katie Holmes fan. I loved “Dawson’s Creek.” I also loved a movie Holmes was in called “Go.”

I was freaked out, along with much of celebrity obsessed America, reading about Cruise’s courtship of Holmes, how he supposedly created a list if appropriate wives– all about 15 years younger than he, less famous, and with an “innocent” persona, like Kerri Russel. After Cruise chose Holmes, she started hanging out with Cruise’s BFF couple, Posh and Becks, and underwent a metamorphosis, cutting her hair into a chic bop and becoming a fashion icon.

Holmes’s career stalled. Supposedly, she dropped out of films because Cruise didn’t approve of the sexy roles. All I can remember that she’s been in since her marriage is a stupid comedy co-starring Queen Latifah.

One of the details that disturbed me the most post-engagement was the way¬† Cruise always referred to his wife as “Kate.” He was quoted as saying something like “Kate is a grown up name.” I was relieved to see that Katie Holmes never complied, changing her name/ identity to Kate Cruise. That choice gave me a shred of hope for her.

My reliable sources of US and People tell me that Holmes was carefully plotting her escape for some time. Before filing for divorce, she fired her security team, changed her cell, and got herself an apartment in New York City.

Tabloids report that a major reason for the split was that Holmes did not want daughter Suri brought up in the church of Scientology. Besides not being a fan of Scientology schools, Holmes did not approve of how the church advocated treating kids like adults: no bedtime, giving them whatever they want. Maybe I’m being naive, but this picture in US Weekly of Suri not getting a puppy she was obviously dying for, seems to show Holmes is, in fact, taking control.

Reading the stories, I feel the same relief when I read about Ellen leaving Tiger or Sandra Bullock leaving Jesse James. The women got away. They got away! To me, these stories are heroic, and I’m grateful for the narrative, instead of the more dominant myth of standing by your man. These women are not victims.

After Kidman split from Cruise, her career soared. She became known as one of our best actresses, winning an Oscar for her portrayal of Virgina Woolf (America’s admiration for her skill aided by the fact that Kidman dared to sport an unattractive prosthetic nose.)

I am rooting for the same acclaim to come to Holmes now. I can’t wait to see what she will do.

9 thoughts on “Go, Katie, go!

    • Thanks, i saw the link to this on blue milk (and was impressed by its length and depth) I responded on that blog, but basically, I still like the Katie got free narrative, I don’t think its all bullshit b/c Suri is in the media a lot and Julia Roberts kids aren’t. As an avid tabloid reader, there are moms who are always in the media, liek Jennifer Garner. I think its b/c they surrender more to the non-privacy. Also Brangelina. While Gwyneth and her husband try to never be photographed together or walk the red carpet.

      MM

  1. I like that you’ve included tabloids in your definition of fantasy world. I think that it’s really important to examine how the fantasy world impacts the real world and to create conversation around these issues. With the increase in media images and the changes in the way we interact with images do you think that the line between fantasy and real is becoming more blurred?

    • Hi Laurie,

      I don’t know if the line between fantasy and reality is more blurred. I think it’s always been blurred. I don’t even think it’s a line. (Uh-oh, the guys in white coats are coming for me now…) I do think that the tabloids are a relatively new place that create a door/ portal to see how the worlds blend and merge.

      Thanks for your comment and visiting Reel Girl.

      MM

  2. Reading the stories, I feel the same relief when I read about Ellen leaving Tiger or Sandra Bullock leaving Jesse James. The women got away. They got away! To me, these stories are heroic…

    Precisely where feminism loses its support from the public at large. And should.

    It starts off with things NO sane American should oppose, or even show ambivalence in supporting. Like, the idea that a woman who provides equal quantity and quality and competence of work, should be paid just as much as a man…women should vote…women are entitled to all the freedoms of men…if a woman can make a success of her dreams, she has a right to all of the opportunities presented to her, to make them a reality.

    At the far end of the spectrum, there is: New families are created, feminists are grumpy & upset. Families are torn apart, feminists cheer and applaud, before they know anything about the personal details, ask questions later.

    Sorry Margot. I know at the heart of it, you’re pro-freedom, and I try to find common ground with you here because I agree with you in this. But when you’re cheering at tabloid stories about divorces, you’ve slipped a cog and so has anyone who agrees with you. Even if the details, should they become public, reveal this to be a healthy thing — and I do not doubt this, since I’ve had a lot of issues with Mr. Cruise long before this — there is something morally depraved about being happy when a divorce happens. It just isn’t right.

      • I was happy when my own parents divorced, They made eachother and me so unhappy when they were together. Pretty sure that doesn’t make me morally depraved. My brother left his partner after many years together and it was the best thing he could have done. The relationship was destroying him.

        Best of luck to Katie and Suri!

    • I’m coming late to this thread, having been on netless vacation… My parents divorced when I was 8 years old. The divorce was amicable, they made sure to live close enough that me and my siblings would be able to have daily contact with both parents if we chose, and my parents remain very good friends to this day. If they hadn’t divorced when they did, it’s likely that the long-term outcome would be much worse – they married young and had very different expectations of how marriage and family should work and lacked the tools to analyze and fix the situation. My father has since remarried, now for the third and (since it’s now been nearly 20 years, apparently) final time. He remained friends with his second wife; so did we children and my grandmother. Again, that divorce was best for both of them – she was young and wanted her own family, and he didn’t want to start over again on that.

      My sister recently divorced a man who was an alcoholic and in time got abusive. Once she ended up with bruises, the relationship was over. That’s not an amicable divorce, and he refuses to even talk to his own children – yet the children, as well as my sister and all my family, agree that they’re better off now than they were with an abusive drunkard in their home.

      So those are three divorces in my family where divorce was the best option, even though the last one is the only one where anybody actually rejoiced.

      Relationships do end sometimes. People grow apart, or fall out of love, or realise that what brought them together isn’t enough to keep them together, or grow to want different and incompatible things. And sometimes there’s abuse. A divorce in itself is neither good nor bad – it’s an acknowledgement of an already existing fact, namely that the relationship isn’t working and there seems no way to fix it to the satisfaction of both parties. Whether they’re good or bad is all in the circumstances, and in how the parties act before, during and afterwards.