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Raincoast Books

Toxic - Women, Fame, and the Tabloid 2000s

Toxic - Women, Fame, and the Tabloid 2000s

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A scathing reexamination of the lives of nine female celebrities in the 2000s—Britney, Paris, Lindsay, Aaliyah, Janet, Amy, Kim, Chyna, and Jen—and the sexist, exploitative culture that let them down

Paris Hilton's 11:11 Media has optioned Toxic as a docuseries. Hilton said: “When I discovered Toxic, I was immediately taken by the depth of Sarah’s dedication, research, and writing. Sarah’s work inspired me to envision Toxic as a documentary series where we can provide a platform for similar stories of those who had to navigate intense public scrutiny, so they can reclaim their narrative from a time when they had little control.”

Welcome to celebrity culture in the early aughts: the reign of Perez Hilton, celebrity sex tapes, and dueling tabloids fed by paparazzi who were willing to do anything to get the shot.

The internet was still the Wild West: slut-shaming, fat-shaming, and revenge porn were all fair game, and celebrity was seen as a commodity to be consumed. And for the famous women of this era, they were never as popular—or as vulnerable—as when they were in crisis.

In Toxic, journalist Sarah Ditum tells the stories of nine famous women who defined this era and explores how they were devoured by fame, how they attempted to control their own narratives, and how they succeeded or (more often) failed.

Whatever you think you already know, leave it at the door.
Toxic reveals these women neither as pure victims nor as conniving strategists, but as complex individuals trying to navigate celebrity while under attack from a vicious and fast-changing media. It’s time to come to terms with how these iconic women and their experiences living under the public gaze shaped the way we see ourselves, our bodies, our relationships, and our aspirations. We are all products of the toxic decade.

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