When I was growing up, I wanted to be famous. I used to watch Disney Channel, and I'd pretend to be one of the celebrities who drew the silhouette of Mickey Mouse with the colorful wand between shows. The people who said, "You're watching Disney Channel!" Yeah, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
I used to think, I wouldn't mind being famous. I wouldn't mind the mansions, the cars, the fans. I wouldn't mind having such simple, meaningless problems like which interior designer should furnish my house.
Then, within the last couple of years, I came to a realization. I would never want to live that life. Not even for a day. Because, as it turns out, life isn't simple for celebrities. In fact, it's incredibly draining and often disturbing.
In fact, I think it's worse to be a celebrity today than it's ever been. Why?
Ever since the internet came to be, it's served as a shield of protection for anyone who has the urge to cyberbully. Because that's what it is – cyberbullying. Leslie Jones has been the victim of a slew of criticism online. Earlier this summer, Twitter users compared Jones to an ape, sent her offensive pornography, and used racist speech against her. According to the New York Times, Jones later tweeted, "I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart . . . all this cause I did a movie."
But her online humiliation doesn't stop there. Just recently her website was hacked. Nude images of Jones and private information, including her passport, were posted on the website. And it's not just a few awful people who are to blame for these instances.
Just take a look at the comments below any celebrity's Instagram photos. The insults you will read there are horrendous and utterly offensive. Why do so many people feel that it's okay to attack a person that way? After all, most celebrities didn't ask for that kind of lifestyle. They simply succeeded at what they love to do, whether that's singing, acting, playing an instrument, playing a sport, or modeling, among other things. The fame was just an unfortunate consequence.
But rude comments aren't the worst of it.
Selena Gomez, Jennifer Aniston, Mark Zuckerberg, Sandra Bullock, and Conan O'Brien have all dealt with stalkers. Jennifer Lawrence even admitted that she is frequently scared for her own safety. Lawrence once said, "If I were just your average 23-year-old girl and I called the police to say that there were strange men sleeping on my lawn and following me to Starbucks, they would leap into action . . . But because I am a famous person, 'Well, sorry ma'am, there's nothing we can do.' It makes no sense."
And she has good reason to be afraid. Earlier this year, singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed by one of her obsessed fans. We all know about John Lennon, and who could forget Princess Diana, whose death was partly the result of invasive paparazzi chasing her car. Not to mention the fact that our obsession with famous people has led them to drug problems, alcoholism, and suicide (just look at Marilyn Monroe and Amy Winehouse).
Most celebrities are living in fear. And you know why they have to live that way? Yes, it's largely due to a small percentage of mentally disturbed people who could come unhinged. But their fear is also because of us.
Our society considers famous people to be larger than life. We want to copy them, stalk them, get a piece of them. We publish false stories about them. We make an effort to take unflattering photos of them. We body shame them. We would likely never do this to someone we know personally. So why is it okay to treat celebrities this way?
As long as we're buying gossip magazines, retweeting rude comments and viewing celebrities as inhuman, we're encouraging this kind of behavior.
As a kid, I wanted to be Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez. But now, living in a society of such unkind nature, that's the last thing I would want.