Peaches Geldof’s death and society’s ugly side

Prior to her death, Peaches Geldof was a tabloid favourite and certainly not for the right reasons.

Prior to her death, Peaches Geldof was a tabloid favourite and certainly not for the right reasons. With headlines such as “Underwear Label Ultimo Dumps Peaches Geldof” and “Marriage over for Peaches Geldof,” media outlets succeeded in whipping up hate and hysteria against the 25-year old daughter of Bob Geldof and Peaches Yate for the masses of impressionable readers.

Negative media image

Despite having achieved much in her professional life, she has consistently been at the forefront of negative media attention. Whether it be her parenting skills or enjoying a rare night out from her duties as a mother, we couldn’t quite shake off the view she didn’t work hard enough. Maybe we could even go as far as saying she didn’t deserve it.

No matter how much weight she lost, how groomed she was or how her outfit was something off Vogue, lest the media and British public forget her past as a former party girl or a dabbler in drugs. She was a subject of hatred and derision from people that didn’t even know her who speculated what she even did and why.

Two-faced media?

What is ironic, however is that the media outlets that have taunted her for years are now said to be ‘devastated’ over her death. Gone are the photos in her obituary of her accidentally tipping her baby son Astala out of his buggy (did we really need eight different angles of her shock and dismay?) and gone are the pictures of her heroin-fuelled one night stand. In its place, are Peaches in her best form: wearing elegant attire, looking classy, sophisticated and above all, unhinged.

Many have speculated on the cause of her death, and some have even pointed to her latest Instagram picture of her as a young child and her mother captioned ‘Mum and me.’

But her death only shows an ugly side to human nature and the media: taking a cursory glance at the obituaries online on all social networking sites, someone who was unfamiliar with her would assume that she was a much-loved friend, role model, someone who we couldn’t live without or as one user said: ‘You were such a beautiful lady mother and role model!’

The stark reality

The ugly truth is far from it. When she was alive, nobody cared about a girl who clearly struggled from her parent’s divorce, something she openly recently spoke about and the effect it had on her life. Her car-crash life was far more exciting – she sold, in the dozens. Because why do we care about how happy she is when drugs, scandals and heroin taking sell far more?

And it also highlights a wider problem, symptomatic of our culture – in some cases, media attention is fetishising on her virility and youth to grab headlines and readership. I severely doubt a 40-year-old man with a receding hairline in the same position would receive so much attention.

Geldof’s death has revealed an ugly side of society – one that has occurred continually from reality TV stars such as Jade Goody to high-profile actresses like Brittany Murphy, one we pretend to ignore. We don’t leave a crying, lost baby in the street so why did we do the same with a troubled young woman?

Did the media give Peaches a bad name while she was alive? If so, can amends be made? Let us know in the comments below.