The Women’s March occured a couple of weekends ago and many supporters kept their eyes open for celebrities who were and were not in attendance. In fact, a few days after the March, one of the main topics of discussion on the show "The View" was about whether or not Taylor Swift is truly a feminist- given that she did not participate in the march.
There were a couple of things that I found intriguing about this particular discussion. Namely, that it is ironic that five women, who appear to be feminists, were sitting together to offer their thoughts on another woman’s choices. Some of these thoughts were defending Taylor Swift and some were criticizing her. This discussion lead me to ask myself: what encourages us (the population of average people) to criticize celebrities?
Whenever I hear my own friends or peers discussing celebrity gossip, I am shocked to hear a sense of entitlement in their voices. While I think it is important to share and exchange ideas for the betterment of society, I do not see the benefit of speculating about someone else’s life. It is one thing to criticize a celebrity for violating some moral or social rule, but it is another to criticize them solely because we feel entitled to have opinions about their fame.
Moreover, when someone makes a comment about how the media does not depict the reality of a celebrity’s life but further continues to criticize said celebrity, I find it hard to empathize with their frustration. It is quite obvious that celebrities ought to be considered absolute strangers. So I wonder, why do we pay more negative attention to these strangers than what is necessary?
I, for one, believe that it is alarming how much attention is paid to the lives of people we will never meet or personally know. I think for our own sanity, we should detach ourselves from the lives of the rich and the famous and refocus our attention to the people who are truly important to us- our friends and our families. The people you surround yourself with everyday affect you directly a personally; celebrities, not so much.
I have witnessed people sit at dinner tables where conversations were centered around celebrities and the information that can be found on these celebrities through the use of social media and cell phones. Even though it may be a good escape from our own everyday lives to read about a stranger’s drama, think about the opportunity costs. In the time that you spend checking celebrity news and gathering information on celebrities that you will (likely) never be able to fact check, you could learn more about the people you interact with in the real world.
I understand the appeal of Taylor Swift, I understand that you can get to know your friends while sharing information about celebrities, and I do not think you are wrong or a terrible person if you enjoy celebrity gossip- I just want to encourage you to do a couple of things.
First, challenge yourself to try to speak more positively than negatively about celebrities, about people you do not personally know, and well... about pretty much everyone.Second, remember to take a step back and try to reevaluate your priorities and how you spend your time. Lastly, remember that celebrities are humans too. While their lives are often offered to the public as entertainment and they are public figures, remember that they are human just like you.Money and fame does not eliminate our ability to feel hurt or pain when criticized or ridiculed. Empathize and ask yourself how you would feel if you were in their shoes and reading mean YouTube comments. Celebrities can be victims too- we may be less accountable for what we say but regardless of accountability, a bully is a bully.