Okay, so you are currently sat at your computer. You’ve probably got Twitter open, on which you follow several celebrities, you may have been reading the news this morning which will no doubt have featured a few ‘gossip and showbiz’ stories and you might even have found this post by searching for the word ‘celebrity’. So, why are we so fascinated by the life of the ‘celebrity’?
Having never met someone before in the flesh, ever had a conversation with them personally nor have ever really come into contact with someone, it seems strange that we as a society should be so very fascinated by a previously ‘normal’ person who happens to be photographed regularly and may or may not feature on television. Yet, seven million celebrity gossip magazines are sold on a weekly basis, which is only three million less than the average circulation of a Sunday paper.
Perhaps we love celebrities because they are more ‘perfect’ versions of us. Richer, more beautiful and more glamorous versions of ourselves. The number of events and red carpet events they have access to means that for them it is like their prom (or at least that’s how I look at it), every single night. They dress up in glamorous attire, are made up by the top MUA’s available and are able to demand attention without uttering a single word.
Or, maybe we see the lives of the ‘celebrity’ and their vibrant lifestyle as a means of escaping our own lives. We all love seeing the decor of Britney Spears’ mansion after she’s put it up for sale, and we religiously keep up to date with the ‘celebrity couples of the moment’ because it allows us to venture into someone else’s life, without seeming annoyingly inquisitive. It’s another way of ‘keeping up to date with the gossip’ and whilst we all love hearing the latest news in our own social circles, the omnipresence of the celebrity means we have unlimited access into their circles. We relate to their mistakes, mishaps and fashion faux pa’s and we see them as ‘idealised’ versions of our peers and daily life.
Is such an obsession dangerous? Is it becoming too addictive? In some ways, yes – as much of the younger generation have been exposed to these ‘celebrities’ from a very young age and therefore are able to place them in their lives as an inspiration, or role model. My five-year-old sister knows who Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna are (and whilst we don’t let her watch their provocative music videos) the kind of celebrity obsessed culture we live in will mean that those three prominent media figures will probably stand as a fixture in her life as she grows up. For me, I remember The Spice Girls as a very prominent and memorable ‘celebrity figure/s’ in my childhood however the obsession definitely wasn’t as strong.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am drawn to the idea of a celebrity, as they are loved, popular and they embody what we want to be (well some of them do anyway), however we very rarely see the dark side of such a culture. The backlash they receive from family and friends by choosing an unstable and privacy-robbing career path, the pressure and demand to look ‘perfect’. Whilst I’m not saying I feel sympathic towards someone who has the world at their feet, hundreds of fans and a lifestyle I could only dream of – I do often think that they would probably like to trade places with us, even for a day.
I think in recent years, the term ‘celebrity’ is over-used, and I am guilty of doing so myself. What does a celebrity really consist of? Someone who is in the public eye every day, a figure who has a talent that we all love and admire or a person who has appeared on television once or twice. What does a ‘celebrity’ really consist of? Personally, I think it can mean different things to different people – dependent on how much celebrity culture you consume on a daily basis. I aspire to those in the public eye who have done something particularly admirable, are not just ‘famous for famous’ sake’ and show off a more ‘normal’ genuine and down to earth side.
However, despite us being so obsessed with the celebrity culture, fascinated by their every move and glued to our gossip magazines – it somehow begs the question, do we love celebrities because they are all around us, or do we as a society demand information about them? Do we watch the rich and famous because we are obsessed with their glamorous lifestyles or are we forced to aspire to be like them as they are portrayed as idealistic versions of us? What do you think?