In recent years, the definition of celebrity has changed. With countless social media celebrities posting Photoshopped and Facetuned pictures every minute, the unrealistic beauty standards’ toxicity is slowly contaminating the young minds on such platforms.
This concerning picture forces us to ask the question, Is celebrity culture really adversely affecting the mental health of the youth? And if yes then, should we dump this culture entirely, or is there any way through which we can maintain our self-assuredness along with following our favourite celebrities?
What Is Celebrity Culture?
Wikipedia defines celebrity culture as “a high-volume perpetuation of celebrities’ personal life on a global scale.” The culture began in the late 1990s as famous figures reached commoners through magazines and society columns. In the beginning, politicians, philanthropists and other major public figures were the only known celebrities, but soon the modern celebrity system entered the market. Walter Winchell became the US’s “most celebrate gossip writer.”
Movies stars, famous painters, musicians, dancers, etc., were the people who always lived under the spotlight. Magazines and radio shows talked about their new work and gossiped about their personal lives, which led to a boom in fan culture. Millions of people started following the fashion advice of their favourite celebrities. Brands commodified the culture, thus using the huge fan following of the celebrity faces for attracting more consumers, which later made these celebrities brand ambassadors of various products.
Further televisions brought a deepened sense of intimacy, as now we were able to see celebrities moving and talking. The rise of media, especially TV, brought more opportunities for people to become celebrities and get famous through their work. Now, the more intricate form of media, i.e. social media, has made it possible to attract more fans and thus open wide ways for fame.
Why Do Celebrities Matter?
What is it about celebrities that excite people, make them sad, and somehow intimately related to them? People feel a kind of Parasocial relationship with their favourite celebrates. Fans start seeing themselves as an extension of their idols, which increases the self-esteem of the fans.
Celebrity culture shapes our thoughts, fashion choices, and social actions. Not only hardcore fans are affected by the celebrities’ actions, but it affects the entire population whose life has been shifted from plain to aspirational consumers. The fandom for the celebrities gives people a group to be a part of to connect with other fans. Such fan communities can help people deal with certain losses, as this allows them to re-attach with some specific emotions.
Having a celebrity to aspire can create a sense of identification, belongingness, and other psychological benefits. Celebrities’ influence can change society for good, too; seeing our idols engage in social work can promote more people to help the less fortunate. For example, Emma Watson, when selected as the United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador, promoted feminism to a new level, especially with her famous #heforshe movement.
Celebrity status has also stepped into politics, many celebrities turned politicians most famously the former US President Donald Trump has used their fandom to enter the field and thus proving their importance in the political process.
Celebrity Culture: The Ugly Truth
But this glittery lifestyle comes with numerous unforeseen drawbacks. Having to live in gated communities, with the camera always pointing at you can be immensely mentally strenuous. The spotlight of fame often comes with criticism and constant judgment. No doubt to cover up the flaws which can make the victim of yet another criticism celebrities use numerous editing tools to look flawless in every post.
Furthermore, the hunger for attention pushes celebrities, especially famous internet faces beyond the verge of no return. But being completely drenched in the make-believe world of social media and fame can cause severe psychological implications. The followers who idolize these virtualized beauty standards set up by their favorite celebrities often end up depressed.
How To Consume Your Favourite Celebrities’ Social Media Post While Maintaining One’s Self-Assuredness?
In the everyday changing landscape of celebrity culture, still, plenty of work is pending to make the social media platforms a better place for one’s self-assuredness. It is easy to unknowingly get lost in the hurricane of celebrity culture.
Here are some ways that one should adopt while surfing on social media to keep the fame culture from harming them mentally at bay:
- Media literacy: It is important to remember while looking at any celebrity picture that there is often an entire team from makeup-artist to editors, and it is unrealistic to meet such ideals by any normal human. It is all done just to manipulate the audience.
- Social Media Is Not Real: The realm created by social media is virtual. One can be appreciative of an aspect of another person’s life without being sad about the lack of that aspect in theirs. Remember the glittery lifestyle is not all good either.
Celebrity Culture: The Verdict
As John Lucas says, “Celebrities tap into the public’s primal fantasies and basic emotions, lifting people from their everyday lives and making them believe anything is possible.” The need to worship people is in our DNA, as humans we tend to follow the footprints of whom we consider as our idols. But knowing the boundaries of reality and the virtual world is the key to more healthy celebrity culture.