Most of us are at least somewhat in touch with the latest news on the Kardashians, and at some point in time have probably obsessed over the new popular boyband. On most social media outlets, we see pictures of famous actors, socialites, models and singers. Celebrity culture is a huge part of society today, especially in the United States, and it probably plays a bigger part in your own life than you may know. However, it may also have more of a negative effect on you than you thought possible.
Most people consider obsessing over their favorite band and its lead singer as harmless fun. What you may not realize is that by idealizing all these people you don’t know, you’re putting them on a pedestal that they’re probably not equipped to stand on. Most of these celebrities are just normal people that the business has taken advantage of and, using the media, blown up into a sensation for young people. Some of them are barely teenagers and haven’t formed an identity on their own before being so exposed to the public eye and its criticism. Imagine you’re a 17-year-old, not even out of high school, and now every teenage girl in the United States is looking at you saying “I wanna be just like you” and “You’re my hero.” The pressure on these people is too much and it turns the focus away from their actual talents, or what’s supposed to be the real reason they got famous. This usually causes them to eventually turn to drugs, violence or some other form of rebellion.
While many of us acknowledge the negative effect this celebrity culture has on the actual celebrities, most of us don’t realize that it may have an even worse effect on us. I’m not necessarily talking about finding out from Twitter that Kim Kardashian just had a baby. More so, I’m talking about celebrity fandoms, where groups of people will collectively, on the internet, obsess over and stalk the lives of their favorite artist. You’re spending so much time focusing on where Harry Styles had lunch today, yet you probably don’t even know where your own mother had lunch today. It distracts us from the real world around us and creates unrealistic expectations for our lives.
So many young people, when asked who their hero or idol is, will say someone famous who they most likely have never met, instead of a relative, friend or mentor from their own life. To say that someone you’ve never met is “your hero” is assuming that this person is exactly the way they present themselves to the cameras. What we fail to realize is that we don't actually know them, however much we may think we do because we follow their Twitter account. Idealizing these people unconsciously makes us feel like someone in our life is eventually going to have to live up to that ideal in order to be “good enough” for us. Watching celebrities eat expensive meals with their model girlfriends is only going to make us unsatisfied with our own life, thinking that we need to have those same things in order to be happy.
Let’s turn the focus from people we see on TV to the people we see in our everyday lives; let’s focus on ourselves. Instead of spending your Saturday night watching videos of the latest Justin Bieber concert and obsessing over “how hot he is” or “how much you wish you knew him,” spend your night building real relationships with the people in your life that matter to you.
Obsessing over someone you don’t know is unhealthy for you, and harmful to them. You can appreciate and praise a celebrity’s work without having to devote your entire life to following them through various social media outlets. These people are famous because of their talents and I think it’s about time that we turn the focus back to that, rather than who’s dating who and which one has the hottest haircut.