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Nancy Doyle Palmer

Nancy Doyle Palmer

Posted: March 23, 2010 11:26 AM

Why Every Woman I Know is Talking to Sandy Bullock

What's Your Reaction:

...well, at least in our heads. Call it Global Girl Talk. We're upset for her, we're so mad at him; we just want to hug her. Tell her he's not worth it, she deserves better. And once we've imagined exactly what we'd say to her and how she'd react, we make do with talking to each other about it. As if she was just another good friend in our little circle of buddies who got so wronged.

The thing is, of course, the vast majority of us don't know the Oscar -winning actress - we just think we do. After seeing her as our every woman looking for the right guy since she drove the bus in Speed more than 15 years ago why shouldn't she be in our collective girl consciousness? We've seen her smile, laugh, cry, kiss, get hurt, fall down, get up, get dumped, get beaten up, shoot a gun, kick ass, win the guy and save the world. More than we've seen most of our best friends do. We know her. Plus she's seriously funny. And because of years of press including the relentless media coverage leading up to the Academy Awards we know why she chose her biker husband Jesse James and why she loves him.

Add to that her recent Oscar speech - that annual renewal of vows when the stars really talk to us as themselves in their moment to be who they really are as well as the screen persona we've come to love and then the line is crossed forever. She's ours.

Fame in America and the culture of celebrity creates this kind of situational intimacy that is as much a national phenomena as it is a total travesty. I've been writing about it here on the Huffington Post for several weeks now and am never without a topical topic. It just keeps coming - these moments when everyone with a pulse knows the same story. The same person. Often, the same old song. They're up and then they are down. The news cycles of revelation, confession, shame and redemption.

How scary to really be Sandra Bullock. To have your talent and your career and your success by its very nature put your persona, or at least what people think is your real persona - in the collective national consciousness. Then have something real happen to you play out on the same stage to the same audience. The lines blur.

Yes, it's what she does - it's why she acts in front of camera and has the resulting films shown worldwide, but I doubt the kind of national obsession going on now is what she had in mind.
This helps explain why the "Oscar Curse" is getting so much buzz. It's like these stars cross over from mere moral women with husbands to cult figures incapable of embracing normalcy anymore. They become solitary, often tragic figures elevated by their fame to a stratosphere that traps them into a life surrounded by managers, handlers and paparazzi all in service to us - the audience.

The relationship between a celebrity and the public is rife with psychological landmines on both sides - by revealing themselves through performance, press and photographs they ask us to see them yet struggle to have a private life as well. We, in turn, demand to know everything and discuss accordingly. Our collective interest runs the gamut from mild interest to fandom to stalking. We know them but of course we don't. But didn't they ask us to?

Sandra Bullock must know most of the country is thinking about her right now and while I can't imagine how anyone really wraps their head around that, at least we're rooting for her - I hope that helps.