Farrah's Story: Necessary Exploitation? - NBC Chicago

Farrah's Story: Necessary Exploitation?

Beyond the tabloids in Farrah's sad saga

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    Farrah's Story: Necessary Exploitation?
    NBC Universal
    The "Charlie's Angels" star relived the gut-wrenching hospitalizations and painful procedures as she watched the two-hour documentary surrounded by family, friends and a nurse on hand to check her vital signs.

    Farrah Fawcett is dying. Nine million people tuned in to watch her documentary "Farrah's Story" on her struggles with anal cancer, but blogs and comment sections are alive with people denouncing the documentary as exploitation.

    Hypocritical? Yes. In a society of constant voyeurism, here's a story that actually humanizes a fight instead of dehumanizing the subject. Though raw, it's a story we can all learn from. And if Farrah wanted to dedicate screen time to her most personal role, why shouldn't she?

    It's a gift. It is not exploitation.

    Celebrity death is big business. We live in a tabloid generation that's consumed by it –- death of celebritys' relationships, sobriety, financial security, etc. Millions of people subscribe to and support publications dishing that brand of celebrity smut. That's considered acceptable, but this documentary which provides inspiration is not?

    Even if Farrah's longtime friend, Alana Stewart, and love, Ryan O'Neill, helped create this documentary for ulterior motives (as some have claimed), Farrah seems to have bought into it herself. It's undeniably moving. Even in her darkest moments in the documentary, Farrah was engaged with the camera and seemed to take comfort in being seen.

    Consider the takeaway. In the much talked about scene where Farrah's incarcerated son visits her while shackled, what viewer didn't want to reach out to their parent or child? And hopefully they did. The moment where the beauty icon vulnerably uncovers her shaven head, what viewer didn't have compassion and want to support someone in need? And hopefully they did.

    Whether or not the documentary felt comfortable to watch or fair to film, this dying woman reached out to provide insight and inspiration. So, even if it was made with self-serving intent, it doesn't matter. Farrah Fawcett struggled throughout her career to play against type and be taken seriously. In this film, Farrah was finally able to embrace a role that showcased her true strength. Let her.

    Laura Baron is an NBC 5 contributor, a lifestyle consultant and a relationship expert. Learn more about her at www.asklaurabaron.com.