Her name is L’Wren Scott

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Yesterday around 11:00 am, when news of L’Wren Scott’s suicide hit social media–the world was shocked not only at news of the designer’s death but also media’s treatment of it.  Twitter headlines announced the death of “Mick Jagger’s Girlfriend,” touting the suicide as a tabloid scandal.  These weren’t celebrity news sources–they were publications that knew better, such as the New York Times and BBC.

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However, twitter wasn’t the only outlet that dispersed news of “Mick Jagger’s Girlfriend” allegedly committing suicide—the headline was all over online articles, television, and radio reports.  The media believed the only reason we could possibly care about the death of L’Wren Scott was because of her high profile celebrity relationship with the Rolling Stones frontman.

It didn’t matter that Scott was discovered by Bruce Weber at the age of 18 and became a big name runway model.  It didn’t matter that she went on to pursue a styling career, becoming the official stylist for the Oscars in 2000.  It didn’t matter that she launched her own collection and outfitted the likes of our First Lady, Angelina Jolie, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Christina Hendricks.  It didn’t matter that she designed entire wardrobes for hit films such as Oceans Thirteen.

Most importantly, it didn’t matter that she openly stated, “I’m a fashion designer. I don’t want to be defined as someone’s girlfriend.” 

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Image via Telegraph.co.uk

As soon as L’Wren was found dead, her accomplishments, career, and hard work no longer counted.  The media scaled her down to a mere name tacked on the end of Jagger’s other female conquests—Marianne Faithfull, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, and L’Wren Scott.  Attention was turned to Jagger’s devastation as a feeding frenzy for media consumption.  Buzz surrounded the inconvenient cancellation of the Australian branch of the Stones’ tour.  However, unlike news of other fashion designer suicides such as Alexander McQueen’s, retrospects of her career and life were few.

Our treatment of L’Wren Scott’s death reveals not only an isolated failure, but a disease endemic to our society—the belief that a woman cannot be beautiful and successful without a male’s support.  We still treat women’s success as an anomaly that needs to framed by the question “Who supported her?” and validated by a supportive male presence.

Even in death, sexism lives on.

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Image via Telegraph.co.uk

Acknowledging that there’s an issue with our media’s treatment of L’Wren Scott’s suicide, promotes equality not only for the designer’s legacy, but for the legacies of all successful women.  We are more than girlfriends, wives, and mothers–we are individuals with unique stories that should be told.

XxMO

Comments

  1. laralizard says

    Yes.. she was a person as herself, not only Jagger’s girlfriend. I also got annoyed about media seeing her only thru Mick. She was talented, strong and beautiful, that’s so sad that she passed away at young age,
    Rest In Peace.

  2. says

    CoThis is a good article but I only read it as a result of following a link about the whole “sexist” issue from a bcc.co.uk article. I’m female but I’m not a huge follower of fashion. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have had a clue who Ms Scott was, if not for the reference to Mick Jagger. I don’t believe it’s intentionally sexist in the main. I think it’s purely a reference point to the greater pool of news followers to enable them to identify with the article. Anyone with a degree of intelligence would have the interest to read further into the life of the individual and make up their own mind that yes, they are sure *more* that just someone’s girlfriend.

  3. says

    I didnt even know she was dating Mike Jagger! I loved her style and design and was such a shock when heard of her apparent suicide. I could not believe how even CNN touted her news as “Mike Jaggers girlfriend, fashion designer found hanged”. What on earth!!! And why would they say hanged? Are they suggesting something else? Who knows..but it was really sad…

  4. says

    It’s sad that society still defines women by their relation to men. Even accomplished women like Christine.

    The only point I would add is to your penultimate paragraph — we (the living) treat death the way we treat everything else, with the same prejudices and ignorance. I used to think that death, being so important, would be elevated in our analysis and discourse but it isn’t. That fact profoundly saddens me.

    Good post.

  5. Katherine Young says

    This is a fantastic post, Christine. Thank you for sharing your opinions on this and for putting forth a great perspective on this subject. I need to read more of your articles, they’re all wonderful! Hope all is well love!

    • Christine Buzan says

      It’s funny, for me it was the opposite. I never realized she was dating Mick Jagger until an old boss of mine gifted her something and Mick ended up wearing it. I was like “Why is Mick Jagger wearing our scarf?” and then everyone had to explain it to me. I’m rather insular when it comes to things such as “Who’s Dating Who.”

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Xx

  6. says

    Beautiful stated and important post, Christine. You are absolutely right in pointing out the terrible, discriminating, and provincial way this news was exploited , rather than delivered… She was so talented, I am well aware of her defining work, and am terribly saddened. Thank you for reporting this.
    We have alot of work to do in this country on behalf of our female population. I say this as a citizen, a person, and a mother of a 23 year woman.
    XX, Elle
    http://mydailycostume.com/

  7. Kirk SR says

    All the headline writers are trying to do is give a reason to read the story. Outside of the very limited fashion world, I’m sure few people had ever heard of Miss Scott. I know that I certainly hadn’t.

    Mentioning in the headline that she is the girlfriend of Mick Jagger is the “hook” that the average reader needs. When Denis Thatcher died, I have no doubt that the headlines read “Margaret Thatcher’s husband is dead.”

    Poor John Agar certainly didn’t like being Mr. Shirley Temple either.

    • mijnheer says

      I quite agree. I was going to make a similar comment. I had never heard of this person until she died, and I’m sure the average person on the street had never heard of her. A headline “L’Wren Scott dies” would mean absolutely nothing to me. I was going to say that if Angela Merkel’s husband — whoever he is, and whatever his accomplishments are — were to die, you can be sure the headlines would say, “Angela Merkel’s husband dies”. (When are these poor men ever going to get the respect they deserve?)

      • Christine Buzan says

        Strangely enough, Uncle Kirk & mijnheer–I google’d “Denis Thatcher Dies” and ended up with a majority of results featuring him by name rather than relation. Of course, most of those articles were highlighted as “UK” news where Denis Thatcher is a household name. Likewise, I didn’t find much from the US or global perspective.

    • Robert Gr says

      Please search for news stories on the unfortunate death of Dr. Martin Kelly. Never heard of him? He was the husband of Natascha McElhone. And when he died, all the papers reported “Natascha McElhone’s Husband Dies”. Not “Dr. Martin Kelly Dies”. It is absolutely the “hook” angle that the papers were going for.

      • Christine Buzan says

        Sir, in America, no one knows or cares who Natascha McElhone is. Plus, Dr. Kelly was a plastic surgeon rather than a big ticket fashion designer who showed throughout New York and London. It’s apples and oranges.

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