One of the issues that still remain today is the significant gender gap in society. From job opportunities to education to income, there is a noticeable difference (and preference) between men and women. Apparently, the inequality people face today doesn’t end when they die. Living celebrities already experience a huge gender gap in their industry, but it extends past their death. Male celebrities who have died earn more and are treated with more reverence and importance than female celebrities, as BBC details:
Both in life and death, celebrities wield significant power as a catalyst for cultural meaning. They possess symbolic and economic value that extends into death through the traces they leave behind. These traces continue the dead star’s celebrity power as a brand and include such things as photographs, films, signatures and recordings of their voice, as well as their celebrity persona (the character or personality they presented to fans).
But this posthumous celebrity varies in value. For many high-profile celebrity women, the traces they leave possess sexualised value, much as they had in life – related to their youth, beauty and sensuality. A great deal of their symbolic and economic value is about their bodies, so the way in which their traces are put to work after they die reflects gendered inequality.
Forbes suggests that to achieve a financially successful posthumous career it helps to be a white man from either the US or UK, although black and minority ethnic people (BAME) are more likely to make the cut now than in 2001 as illustrated by Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Prince and Whitney Houston making recent lists.
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