Amanda Bynes. Each time I have tried to form coherent thoughts about what is going on with her, I never seem to be able to put them into words. But that’s okay – I don’t know her, I don’t know her situation. She is going through a strange time and that is the only thing we know. The rest – whether it’s drugs or mental illness or performance art – is all just speculation.
Her recent Twitter increase of 300,000 followers in about a week (now with over a million total) shows that there is nothing like a good ol’ celebrity “trainwreck” to bring the internet together. I have made two Amanda Bynes jokes in the past couple of months and I can remember them both because they did not feel right. Even though she will never hear those jokes, it felt like I was kicking someone when they were already down. So I would follow it up with “but I’m rooting for her” or “I hope she gets help.” It still felt gross.
The latest news out of camp Bynes is that she has admitted to having plastic surgery to remove “webbing” on her nose. She has made it clear that she does not want blogs and media outlets to use old photos of her, saying she looks much prettier in her new photos. This is not the only time she has talked about appearances, as she has mentioned both her own and other peoples’ on many occasions. She frequently talks about her weight and mentioned that she has an eating disorder. When Jenny McCarthy tweeted that she was concerned for Amanda (which admittedly may not have been the best outlet to do so), Amanda responded by calling her ugly, only to later apologize.
When these public meltdowns occur, especially in the case of young women, there are typical three types of reactions: 1) Oh my god, what a mess, what happened, she used to be so talented, etc. 2) Where are her parents/family/friends/management; and most commonly 3) A combination of the two.
From the girl in pigtails in All That, to The Amanda Show and her dancing lobsters, to the relatable sister on What I Like About You, I (and many other “kids of the 90’s”) grew up with Amanda. I am not ashamed to admit that I probably watched She’s The Man twenty times in high school. The Amanda Bynes that existed then is very different from the Amanda Bynes that exists today (at least publicly – who knows what celebrities are really like behind closed doors). This is the part that people have a difficult time accepting when celebrities go through these tumultuous times on public forums.
She has people in her life that do support her – her Twitter followers. Is it the right kind of support? If her behavior is the result of something serious like an addiction, then no. She is hearing people say that they like her better now then ever before or that she looks better then she used to and it is hard not to be skeptical about these types of comments. For instance, a follower tweeted a photo of Amanda as a shrine. To the untrained eye, it appeared he was mocking Amanda. After being retweeted by her and subsequently being called out for mocking her, the fan had to clarify that he was being genuine. These types of social media interactions only add another layer of oddity to the entire situation.
Blogs and celebrity gossip sites are doing the same thing. They reach out to her in a way that does not seem genuine and it’s as if they are mocking her in a way that is disguised by praise. Whatever the reason for the behavior, I can’t help but feel a little like I did after telling one of those bad jokes. P.S., I’m rooting for her.
Written by Laura Anderson