I can’t tell you how challenging the idea of writing about Ali Lohan is. I’ll be real, since I was a kid I’ve inhaled gossip magazines, I like to think I balanced it out with a careful study of English Literature, Creative Writing, History and a healthy dose – if a belated one – of feminist learning. That said, if you offered me a copy of the New Yorker or a copy of In Touch Weekly, I would probably take the In Touch because I would probably be pooping in this scenario, and if you’re going to poop you shouldn’t be reading Joan Didion.

What I mean to say is that every time I sit down to write Prime Gossip while half is me going “Ha ha, Cher’s boob fell out and then a dog barked, hilarious!” the other half of me is like “Is it really fair for a website espousing a Feminist viewpoint to be covering gossip at all? But then Cher’s other boob falls out and the dog has a seizure and I have no choice but to write.

It all comes down to this – I’m not the sort of feminist who decries the evils of the entertainment world and turns a shoulder – two even! – on it. I’m the sort of feminist who eats this shit up, and I feel – honestly and sincerely – that my job as a gossip reporter is two-fold: report um, gossip, and also point out the absurdity of the task itself.

It’s damn near mimetic – holding up the proverbial mirror so we can recognize ourselves, only in this case the glass skews a little fun-house.

Even that sounds hypocritical, like I’ve given myself a get out of jail free card to talk about stuff like Ali Lohan’s drastically altered physical appearance by abdicating responsibility for what gossiping about a child means. I joked once on this site that I haven’t changed much in physical appearance since I was a child, and while there’s a seed of truth to that, I honestly think that adolescents – male and female – put themselves under such a harsh self-enforced microscope that the last thing any of them need – celebrity or otherwise – is further commentary on their ever evolving physical appearance.

But here’s where it gets complicated, despite the stories that crop up in your evening “Panic Now” news report (also the name of the news company I am starting – hold on to your butt, Murdoch!) it isn’t the norm for a middle income teenager to get  plastic surgery to correct something they don’t like about themselves – even if I feel like everyone I know knew a girl in high school who got a nose job. Very often plastic surgeons – good ones – won’t operate on a young minor because THEY ARE NOT DONE GROWING.

Another way the average young American distinguishes themselves from Celebutantes like Lohan – they aren’t bred for fame. I don’t want to be crass, but I have a very difficult time liking or respecting Dina Lohan because she treats her children like Veal; they are cossetted, massaged, and fed beers until the full value of their flesh can be rendered. I’m sure she loves them like crazy, and she really does believe she is supporting their dream, but good bad or ugly, her kids are funding her lifestyle, not to mention the darker demons of Dina’s own desires that she’s projecting upon her brood.

So here we’ve got the antithesis of a “normal” child, one bred for the spotlight, one signed to an elite modeling agency, one whose every move is going to be scrutinized just because of their last name. With so much concerted effort to distinguish Ali Lohan from the everyday adolescent, is an ugly duckling period summarily eschewed as bad for business, is she denied the rights of other normies her age to grow and change and work holes into her jeans and stain her scalp pink with Manic Panic?

The unsettling answer I keep coming back to is…maybe.

I am shockingly sensitive, I know this about myself. It’s something that’s shifted incrementally as I’ve grown up like it does for everyone the minute you realize the world isn’t as concerned with yourself as you are.  That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes read comments on something I’ve written and suddenly feel hurt – I do! I sit dry mouthed staring at my email going “…I’m not stupid – they are stupid! THEY ARE THE ONES WHO ARE STUPID!” I can’t imagine waking up one morning and finding out that Dr. Rey from Dr. 90210 is all “She has clearly had a rhinoplasty,” that’s gotta suck.

But here’s the thing: that would never happen. Because I’m not out there in the spotlight – I’m here behind my computer screen analyzing, and poking fun, and being a little meaner than I’d like to be sometimes but mostly just trying to put all these pieces together. I’m one of a community of people pondering this stuff – many of them with much greater grace and keener insight than I – (Cough cough Kate at Eat The Damn Cake  and Virginia at Beauty Schooled cough cough.) I’m just one person who spends their time trying to figure out why we as consumers of entertainment are so mesmerized by the things we are when it comes to the human body.

In the case of Lohan, I think it’s a fairy tale – something so otherworldly we can’t begin to apply it to our own lives: The vanished King, the Wicked Queen, the Princess, the forgotten child in the background, the blossoming into something new, and the evil curse that really gets things rolling.