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.

Academy unveils new Oscar statuette

Today, just after announcing the nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards, Academy president Tom Sherak said that this year’s Oscars will feature a brand new statuette. Sherak said, “Our hope is that the new model will lift the Oscar curse once and for all.”

New Oscar statuette for 83rd Academy Awards

The Oscar curse– the phenomenon that after actresses get the award, their marriages break up– has been a PR problem for the Academy. Past victims include Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, and Kate Winslet, but the last straw was last year’s winner, Sandra Bullock.

In 2010, just after Bullock won the award, she discovered her scumbag biker husband, Jesse James, was having an affair with tatoo artist Michelle ‘Bombshell’ McGee and probably other women as well. Bullock and James had just adopted a new baby.

Sandra Bullock wins Best Actress Oscar in 2010

Concerned that Natalie Portman, this year’s favorite to win, is not only newly engaged but about to become a mother as well, the Academy decided something had to be done to protect Hollywood marriages and the children involved, along with the Academy’s reputation.

Sherak said,”When women win, men are left in the audience clapping and smiling like First Ladies! Not only that, but their wives are publicly recognized for being successful and beautiful. Hollywood has worked hard to assure men they never have to worry about being sexually attracted to a powerful woman. And if all that humiliation isn’t enough, we award these women a giant, gold phallic symbol. It’s just too much.”

Sherak then unveiled the new model, saying, “Our hope is that this statuette will protect both Hollywood marriages and actresses careers.”

When past winner Reese Witherspoon heard the news, she said, “I wish this statuette had been around when I won! Sure, Ryan and I had problems, but seeing me kiss my new Oscar just pushed him over the edge.”

Although Nicole Kidman’s career soared after her breakup with Tom Cruise, she disagreed that the statue caused jealousy, saying it kept her close to her ex-husband.”Tom used to come over just to hold it,” she said.