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The release of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her popularity amongst Gen Z.
Viktoriya Rotaru
An Oakmont student likes Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s Instagram post from the week she was released.

Summary of Blanchard’s incarceration and release 

Gypsy Rose Blanchard was a lifetime victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare form of abuse she received from her mother, Cluaddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard. This involved her convincing everyone that Gypsy had a multitude of ailments in attempts to receive pity and admiration. Gypsy was made to believe she had leukemia, muscular dystrophy, seizures, and visual and hearing impairments. Her mother had Gypsy wheelchair-bound, kept her head shaved, and had a feeding tube inserted. 

Gypsy Rose Blanchard was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of second-degree murder; she had conspired to kill her mother with her now ex-boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn. He was the one to physically end Blanchard’s mother’s life and received a life sentence. 

Blanchard was in prison from 2016 to 2023, released on December 28th. She is now on parole, having served only 8 years at the Chillicothe Correctional Center prison in total. Almost immediately after her release, Blanchard turned to social media where she has exponentially gained a following. 

As of Jan. 19, Blanchard’s TikTok account has 9.9 million followers and her Instagram has 8.3 million followers. This is quite impressive since she only started to post regularly on Dec. 31, however, her skyrocketing fame is not totally a shock since her story was so highly publicized and known. 

Her story had been all over the media back in 2015 when she was convicted. Further putting her in the public eye was the TV series, “The Act” and the documentary “My Mommy Dead and Dearest.” Both cemented Blanchard as a household name, yet this was all without Blanchard’s consent or receiving financial compensation for the use of her story.  

Yet, Blanchard remains in the media on her own terms. She has the repeated mission statement of being an advocate for Munchausen by proxy and hopefully causing people experiencing the abuse to recognize the signs of it. 

Blanchard’s popularity among Gen Z 

When news came out that Blanchard was soon to be released from prison, videos on TikTok started to circulate with titles such as “Things Gypsy Rose needs to do when she gets released,” “Things that would send Gypsy Rose into a coma,” and even jokingly planning “Gypsy Rose release parties.” 

Public opinion of Blanchard was generally positive upon her release, yet her husband as of 2022, Ryan Anderson, had received some hate mostly due to his appearance. However, Blanchard made sure to put down the haters with a shocking public Instagram comment under one of Anderson’s posts from Nov. 28th, 2023. 

This made Gen Z like Blanchard even more, as it has almost become a meme to support her. There seems to be two sides of the spectrum of support for Blanchard, either they are ironically totally down for Blanchard getting out of prison and treating her like an influencer or they are simply happy to see her doing well and hope she can lay low after all the press settles down. 

On the other hand, many doubt Blanchard’s rehabilitation and are skeptical of her rekindled fame. Accusations of her being a “mass manipulator” and thoughts of her being just like her mother have also been shared on the internet. 

Blanchard in the public eye

The reason Blanchard has been in the media so much upon her release was due to her docu-series and ebook coming out recently.

The docu-series, “The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard,” was released on Jan. 5, and this highly contributed to Blanchard’s rise to fame.

The ebook called, “Released: Conversations on the Eve of Freedom” became available to the public on Jan. 9. It was written by Blanchard herself, Melissa Moore, and Michele Matriscianic and contains interviews with Blanchard, her writing about her experiences, as well as personal pictures and drawings. 

Due to this, Blanchard is currently at the status of a celebrity influencer. She has been featured on the popular podcast, “The Viall Files,” and interviews with her on the red carpet have only served to make her more relatable, or, if not, more comical to Gen Z. 

This trajectory from convicted felon to making appearances all over the media is a unique one. Most ex-cons keep a low profile and are struggling to enter the workforce, however, given the fame and publicity that Blanchard’s story received from the public it is hard for her to just fade into the background. 

My considerations

Gen Z’s current fixation is an interesting one, to say the least. Young people now are generally so unserious when it comes to serious matters, yet, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Observing how Gen Z responds to tragedy, more often than not, humor is the crutch we lean on. In cases such as OceanGate, Queen Elizabeth’s death, and now Gypsy Rose Blanchard, we have made memes to cope with the constant flow of information we receive. 

Memes and discourse surrounding such things are not inherently bad. On the contrary, I think it’s a critical identifying factor of our generation and its humor. However, I fear that we could be crossing a line with Blanchard and getting to a point of glorifying the crime. It makes us face the question of who we give fame to and whether they should be given a platform.

Of course, raising awareness is necessary for different types of abuse and what they can lead to, however, most ex-cons do not turn into influencers. Just consider why someone is being lifted up in the media and make sure to make well-informed decisions on who you are choosing to meme. 

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