There's Something About Paris

At a dinner party last night, I had a conversation about glamour with someone I’d just met. As is almost always the case in such conversations, two names came up: Grace Kelly, the exemplar of glamour, and Paris Hilton. Paris is rich, famous, sexy, and photogenic, but pretty much everyone I've ever talked to about glamour has volunteered her name as an example of someone who is not glamorous. She’s the counterexample people use to tease apart the difference between glamour and celebrity, wealth, fame, sex appeal, or beauty. Paris may be glamorous to some people, primarily young girls, but—in my experience at least—most adults find her anything but. Instead of admiration, Hilton evokes scorn and derision. Even people who think she’s hot don’t find her glamorous.

Her latest venture, this beer ad, has even attracted condemnation in Brazil. AdRants reports:

No less that three investigations into the ad have been launched. It's too “sensual." It encourages excessive consumption. It’s sexist and disrespectful to women. All of this from Brazil. Where booty is supposed to reign supreme. What gives?

There’s some protectionism at work in the Brazilian beer market, but Paris is also an easy target. As Kay Hymowitz observed in a smart 2006 piece in City Journal, “hating Paris Hilton is fun.”

Yet in Glamour: A History, Stephen Gundle writes that Hilton is “indisputably glamorous.” I think that shows he has the wrong definition of glamour. But maybe I’m missing something. Is Paris Hilton glamorous? Why or why not? To whom? Please weigh in on the poll, and comment below.