Chelsea Handler is a name that we have all heard and I feel today we hear that name more than ever. Author, comic, producer, actress and now a host to her own late night talk show, Chelsea Lately, she has definitely figured out what it means to be successful.
Chelsea Handler starts off by making a huge impact on the talk show game. How can somebody so different from most in the game become one of the most successful? While most hosts are middle-aged, white-men, Chelsea really seems to stand out. Being only 38, Chelsea is younger than most other hosts in the business. While I feel some people don’t take her serious due to her younger age, she has definitely earned respect amongst many. Besides her younger age, Chelsea mostly stands out just for the mere act of being a female doing what for many years was mostly done by men. Just by being a female Chelsea is automatically looked down upon by most other talk show hosts and fans alike. The thing that makes Chelsea the most different is the same thing that really makes her successful and known for her work. Chelsea is very loud, straight forward, outspoken and funny, all while not being afraid of the backlash she may receive from some of her statements. These are definitely not the things you would expect to see or hear from a female on a talk show. Especially coming from a pretty, young host. By first impression you would expect an innocent young lady who is very polite and simple minded and afraid to out blast her opinion, but this couldn’t be any further from the real Chelsea Handler.
Hegemony- The predominant influence over another group. There are typical opinions and stereotypes that we believe and see today, but it’s when somebody goes against the “norms” that we really start to see what exactly hegemony is. James Lull sees hegemony as not only social power over certain groups but he also sees hegemony as a way of maintaining power (33). We see many norms today. We see successful people as older white males and we see females as innocent, un-opinionated pieces of meat. So what happens when the opposite of this happens and somebody like Chelsea Handler comes into the picture? A very successful lady who goes against everything that is expected from a female. This is where hegemony is disrupted. Though the Chelsea Lately show doesn’t go completely against hegemony, there are many factors that do.
Douglas Kellner in his article Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, and Media Culture states, “Radio, television, film and the other products of media culture provide materials out of which we forge our very own identities; our sense of self hood; our notion of what it means to be male or female” (7). We as a nation and culture use the norms we are use to as a guideline to what we expect of certain people. Chelsea Handler is a great example of what happens when somebody does the complete opposite of what is expected. Not only does she go against hegemony but she also gives it the finger as she walks away.
Not only does Chelsea Handler herself disrupt hegemony but her show, Chelsea Lately Show, does the same. Throughout the show you will see Chelsea voice her outspoken opinion on many different topics. Just voicing her opinion and not agreeing with the opinion of a normal women really puts her under fire. While voicing her opinion Chelsea uses words and says things that women definitely aren’t expected to say, let alone said on television in general. Though this goes against hegemony, this is what makes Chelsea so successful. If Chelsea would go out there and act the way that is expected of her, her show wouldn’t last but due to her “fuck it” attitude, she not only succeeds but has really become one of the best at what she does. Chelsea, though a female, speaks about many man related topics such as sex, drinking and just being filthy minded.
Let’s now take a step away from Chelsea and look at her friend and costar of the show Chuy. Chuy is a Mexican midget who doesn’t really do anything but make comments and laugh. Susan Bordo in her article, Beauty (re) discovers the Male Body, she talks a lot about the ideal, sexy image. Chuy being a short fat man definitely isn’t what we consider beautiful or sexy. Along with his unappealing look, Chuy has become successful through Chelsea’s success and show. Chuy being a Mexican and being successful is again against the norms that we have come to know today.
Chelsea Handler has become a successful by giving the finger to what is expected of her and being herself. By going against the norms of today, she has broke out and really made a name for herself. Though Chelsea Lately Show isn’t completely against hegemony, the parts that are against it are the parts that make her successful