Audrey Tautou: Victim

“Feminism ruined my Hollywood dream.” This is what The Independent Online would have you believe Audrey Tautou said in an interview. Aside from being manipulative, the headline actually turns out to be quite ironic.

Though making it sound as if feminism was the thing that caused Audrey’s problems, the article body explains that “The 37-year-old actress believes her feminist attitude towards roles in Hollywood has limited her career options because most female characters simply aren’t ‘interesting’ enough for her to be bothered to play.”

The dreams Audrey might have, which she may have watched die, and whose fault it was, is not really of global importance. The hook of the story is the oppression of women. The premise of the article is that women like Audrey still face a sexist world which blocks women from achieving their goals. Investigation quickly reveals this claim to be a fabrication by the journalists involved, one which so grossly misrepresents the facts that they should be embarrassed.

The article by The Independent Online was originally acquired from a central celebrity news site called Bang Showbiz. From there it was printed in about a dozen news sites on September 10, 2013 under the headline “Audrey Tautou: Men think I’m a pain” until The Independent changed the headline to “Feminism ruined my Hollywood dream” the next day. The use of the word “my” in that title is outrageous. Not only is this quote an invention, Audrey Tautou never used the word “feminist” or “feminism” in any of the source material.

The Bang Showbiz article being mirrored mentions that all quotes came from Audrey’s talk with the Metro newspaper. BS states that “the French star claims all the men in her life see her as a challenge because of her strong personality and reluctance to submit to please the opposite sex.”

That sounds terrible. Poor Audrey!

Note the use of the words “submit” and “opposite sex” to inflate the drama of her supposed conflict with men. Now lets look at what the Metro printed in their Q&A formatted article:

Metro: “You’ve described yourself as a ‘pain’. How come?”

Audrey Tautou: “All the boys I have known say that I can be a pain. I have a very strong character and just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I’m going to do what the man wants.”

There is no actual connection between Audrey’s statement and her career. On the surface it was a random personal question thrown in with the more appropriate queries about her recent film Thérèse. The film is the reason Tautou was being interviewed and it’s likely the only reason she agreed to do the interview in the first place.

One of the few things that Ms. Tautou has been very clear and consistent about is that she doesn’t want her private life to be the subject of news stories. She only does interviews as a publicity requirement for her job. She has also been very clear that her decision to not move to Hollywood was based on her rejection of their lifestyle not their rejection of hers.

The Metro victimized Audrey Tautou. Not only did they take her reply to a personal question and make that the title and focus of their article about her film, they don’t seem to have actually asked her that question at all.

A search for the quote online shows that the quote Metro inserted into their article in 2013 actually came from an article written by James Mottram for Metro Life in January 2005. The eight year old source for this year’s headline was hideously but more accurately titled “The Very Talented Mademoiselle Tautou; Audrey Tautou Became an International Star in 2001 with Amelie. but She Rejected Hollywood Hullabaloo in Favour of a Quiet Life in Paris. Now She’s Back in the Wartime Drama A Very Long Engagement, Directed by Amelie’s Jean-Pierre Jeunet. She Talks to James Mottram”

Since the Metro had no morality about stealing a quote from a very old article and printing it as if it was just said to them, it’s not surprising that they omitted the part which said “Tautou is determined to avoid the subject of her love life. ‘I don’t want to be this public person,’ she groans.” The conclusion of the article explains “she has no interest in heading to Hollywood. ‘I don’t have that ambition. I don’t want the sacrifices that come with it.”

The reporters publishing these stories have exploited a statement Audrey made about her private life eight years ago, ignored her wishes to protect her private affairs, making her private life the headline, and have created a political identity for her as a feminist when, in fact, there is no evidence she’s ever used that word.

Feminism truly did ruin Audrey’s Hollywood dream; after they created it for her.

It is a sad example of rhetoric and lies, fabricating Audrey’s dream then ripping it away from her with patriarchy theory before she even had the chance to enjoy the dream. That this particular example is “just” celebrity gossip does not reduce the significance of the lie. It is mostly read by women who will take Audrey’s plight to heart and grab their signboards.

“I need feminism because I’m an Audrey Tautou fan.”

What starts out sounding like a trivial matter becomes bigger as it enters the narrative. Gossip writers are sloppy and lazy and lie without shame. What they’ve done with their professional misconduct is to glaringly expose how social narratives are created and reinforced.

When people discount the power of the written word they are being dangerously naive. James Hillman, an underrated psychologist who specialized in archetypal psychology and myth, explained in the Puer Papers how current events and history are actually “story first and fact later.” 1

“Nothing can be revealed by a newspaper, by the world’s chronique scandaleuse, unless the essence be grasped from within through an archetypal pattern. The archetype provides the basis for uniting those incommensurables, fact and meaning. Outer historical facts are archetypally ordered so as to disclose essential psychological meanings. These archetypal orderings of historical facts are the eternally recurring mythemes of history and of our individual souls. Through these meanings history affects our psyche, while at the same time history is the stage on which we enact the mythemes of our soul.” 2

When writing articles or books, the “facts” that are being reported are the starting point but, on their own, do not make a story. Stories are built and the facts are inserted in the places where they can add the most drama. Current events and news stories are actually a form of art and, if performed with skill, will become history.

Mythemes are what feminists employ to entrench their narrative into society. In the news, the myth is the framework into which the facts are carefully placed. When the myth of the news article remains consistent with a currently accepted social narrative people are more likely to treat the story as factual without investigation. Building that social narrative is what takes time and effort. Afterwards, the myth is easy to maintain. News that presents an uncommon narrative will have to work much harder to be accepted as factual.

Jonathan Potter studied social narratives in his book Representing Reality. He came to the conclusion that “factual discourse, even in casual, mundane settings, such as in an argument between a husband and wife, is organized in enormously fine detail and with great subtlety.” 3 He explains the various methods of fact construction employed in rhetoric and news reporting and how factuality can be de-constructed.

The Everyday Sexism Project is a great example of what Potter calls “out-there-ness.” By creating an external source outside of themselves the writers solidify their story as fact “by drawing attention away from concerns with the producer’s stake in the description.” 4 Fact is created by eliminating any appearance of writer bias.

By encouraging as many women as possible to collect their subjective experiences in one place they can create a fact by removing accusations of personal manipulation. That all of the events, taken separately, are not proven facts gets lost when all the stories amass together into a leviathan that won’t be argued with. They encourage submissions of events that are “minor” or so “niggling” they hardly qualify as an event.

The site goal is very clear: “By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.”

The project isn’t worried about reality, its focus is to create facts to reinforce their narrative.

Audrey Tautou’s statement that men find her “a pain” has now been incorporated into the feminist myth as proof of patriarchy and sexism. That she never actually said or even implied that men ruined her career, the feminist industry nevertheless happily drew her into their web of deceit. Audrey’s career is exactly what she chose, her dreams are intact, and she claims to be extremely happy with her life. Unfortunately for Audrey, the feminist social narrative wants her to be miserable and they won’t rest until she is “ruined.”

What Audrey Tautou said eight years ago was silly, considering she was in a happy relationship at the time and claims to adore the male directors she works with, some of whom have invited her back for multiple projects. She also admits that she’s shocked when she finds out that someone likes her.

Audrey Tautou: A silly girl who became a victim of feminism.

1. James Hillman. Puer Papers. Dallas, Texas: Spring Publications, 1987, p.6
2. ibid, p.7
3. Jonathan Potter. Representing Reality. London: SAGE Publications, 2005, p.2
4. ibid, p.150

Feature image by Georges Biard.

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