Bad boys, bad boys...

whatcha gonna do ... now that all the Hollywood troublemakers are girls


Who would win in a fight, Wilmer Valderrama or Lindsay Lohan?

Our money's on the mean girl. Yo' momma jokes just aren't that tough.

And neither is Valderrama, host of MTV's reality comedy show "Yo Momma," or any of his male Hollywood contemporaries for that matter. Orlando Bloom, Josh Hartnett, Justin Timberlake and Jared Leto are the closest thing this generation has to "bad boys," but they're downright choir boys compared with famous bad boys of the past like Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell. And worse, it seems that a bunch of girls have taken their place.

Remember when Sean Penn assaulted the paparazzi with a rock? Today that's Cameron Diaz. How about when bad boy extreme Robert Downey Jr. was arrested for drug use, driving under the influence, possession of a concealed weapon and possession of illegal substances - then passed out on his neighbor's lawn and was arrested again a month later? Minus the weapon, we can think of a few famous gals who may be headed in the same direction. River Phoenix overdosing outside L.A.'s Viper Room? Sounds like Anna Nicole.

The '80s and '90s were rife with rebellious young actors, from serial daters to wild partiers to just plain tough guys, but the 21st century has ushered in a new era - the age of the Hollywood hellcat - and it stars Lindsay, Britney, Nicole and Paris.

The last gossip-worthy thing Josh Hartnett did was pout to the press about his breakup with Scarlett Johansson. Meanwhile, Britney Spears stripped down to her skivvies, pounded Patron shots and threw up in the back of her limo.

The rise of the Hollywood bad girl may have been prompted by young women of the nonfamous variety. "It's because girls are the target audience for gossip," says Mario Lavandeira, the editor of "The majority of people that read Us Weekly are female and they want to see pictures of Paris and Nicole in different outfits partying in a club. There is a certain group of girls, the bad girls, that play into that demand."

James Robert Parish, author of "Hollywood Bad Boys: Loud, Fast, and Out of Control," agrees. "Most of these girls that are famous right now don't have the substance to make them an interesting interview, but their outrageousness more than makes up for it," says Parish. "People like Paris Hilton push the envelope to compete for attention. Most girls her age are doing the same things but not quite to the same degree. A celebrity is forced to push one degree more to keep her fame."

And by the way, sex sells. "Women are more sexually pleasing to look at," says celebrity photographer Selma Fonseca. "When a female celebrity flashes a boob, everybody wants to see that."

In the past seven years, the public's interest in celebrities has skyrocketed. Meanwhile, Hollywood's starlets are pulling in huge salaries from films, endorsements and appearances, giving them the power to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

"A lot of women are going out partying, hanging around guys, all in a nonconservative nontraditional way," says Ken Sunshine publicist Shawn Sachs, whose client list includes reformed bad boys Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck. "These women feel like, 'Screw it, I'm going to do what I want' - and that's the way men have always felt."

This isn't to say that the current crop of male celebrities are completely squeaky clean. You'll still hear chatter here and there about Justin Timberlake smoking pot, Valderrama's sexual escapades or Leto inexplicably starting a fight with someone. But these stories aren't blown up by the media - they're a snooze compared with Nicole Richie driving the wrong way on a California highway, the discovery of Paris Hilton's Valtrex prescription and Lindsay Lohan dipping in and out of rehab.

"Unless photographers get an action shot of a male celebrity when he's with a new girl or he's drunk, it's boring," Lavandeira says.

"The only thing men have working for them these days is if a young actor is revealed as gay," adds Parish. "Outside of that, male celebrities just don't cause many headlines."