‘Hollywood's hot dads’: tabloid, reality and scandal discourses of celebrity post-feminist fatherhood

Hannah Hamad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article offers post-feminism as a critical framework for understanding the phenomenon of celebrity fatherhood as it has been widely articulated through the channels of tabloid media, celebrity reality TV and the discourse of scandal. A heavily paternalised presence within the tabloid media has become increasingly central to the sustainability of a coherent public identity for innumerable male celebrities in contemporary media culture, including film and cable television celebrities, among them Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Patrick Dempsey, Jude Law, Snoop Dogg and Hulk Hogan. The post-feminist paternalisation of mediated masculinity in celebrity culture has increasingly permeated a growing arena of representational outlets, and while cinematic stardom remains one of the most visible popular cultural manifestations of this phenomenon, the popular cultural breadth and scope of these representations and personifications have expanded and converged exponentially alongside wider trends in the distribution and consumption of media texts, so that celebrity post-feminist fatherhood is widely discursively circulated in the realms of reality tv, celebrity gossip magazines and online celebrity forums and blogs. The examples of celebrity post-feminist fatherhood under the analytical purview of this paper are indicative of a major trend within the tabloid culture of the contemporary media, which increasingly function as a space for popular cultural ephemera to play out currently pertinent and discursively apposite gender concerns. For male celebrities, it has become increasingly necessary to showcase their heteronormativity through tabloid profiles that characterise their fatherhood as ‘sexy’, in order to meet the requirements of hegemonic masculinity in post-feminism, and for individuals whose celebrity is flagging to recuperate their status through revitalising and currently culturally apposite means of mediating their paternity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-169
Number of pages19
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number2
Early online date6 Aug 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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