Over the weeks I have explored the idea of celebrity and asked why we feel the need to pry into business that isn’t ours. This week, I’ll be rounding up what I feel I have learned and hopefully invoke some responses from my lovely readers about what they think about celebrity culture.
We know that celebrity is something which is appreciated by the masses and that as a result, we hold these people with high regard; revere them, so to speak. But I’m still not sure why this is and why we feel the need to pry into the traditional ‘private’ life. It was suggested to me by @Nadireth that perhaps the reason we read the glossy columns on our favourite celebrities, was that we haven’t got the funds to follow them around properly in the New York night clubs? I sense this might have been a somewhat tongue-in-cheek response, but a friend of mine who is studying psychology, suggested that it allows us a release, or escape, from our own lives which are perhaps somewhat more dreary and mundane than that of the celebrity lifestyle. A sort of voyeurism into a life we wish that we had. Another friend suggested that “people like to know that [the celebrity is] still human, they revel in their losses and grimace at their success”. Perhaps it reassures people that they are normal people at the end of the day, and that’s why they need to know what this week’s favourite star was spotted doing?
Of course, there can be some more negative reasoning behind the fascination. Low self-esteem, stress and social dysfunction. On the other hand, however, it can be extremely positive for us to aspire to a celebrity and what they have. Lord knows I only have to take one look at the chiselled jaw line of Ryan Gosling, or the sculpted physique of Tom Daley to get inspired to hit the gym… but then I think better of it.
It seems to me that celebrity culture is something both good and bad. It’s a trendsetting bandwagon and self-appreciation society in one. Something which enables us to aspire to be good at something and shows us how to get there. Despite all this, however, I still refuse to believe that we need to stalk our treasured celebrities movements and involve ourselves in the unnecessary. I think we need to learn to appreciate what they have and leave the rest up to them. Treat them as teachers. Appreciate them for their talent and their knowledge, but would you follow your school teacher home and ‘cut for Mr Jones’? That is too far. No. We learn from them, what they can do and what they know. We allow them to help us, like Sir Ian McKellen for Stonewall and Stephen Fry for the Terrence Higgins Trust.
I’m not saying we should abandon and disregard celebrity culture. But I do believe that we should use it as a powerful tool for good. Celebrities don’t need protecting. They don’t want us to follow them around like puppy dogs. Put yourself in their shoes. Instead, allow them to help us in getting the best from this world. By all means interact with them, but remember there’s a line. They’re only human after all.
So. Fame. Celebrity. Superstardom. It’s something we can all aspire to. Of course, not all of us will achieve it. But perhaps we’ll feel better about ourselves for using some tips from someone we admire to get what we want?
Fame. It came from being able to access talent in a widely accessible way.
Celebrity. It came from the public enjoying what they were able to consume.
Superstardom. The progression of technology, which allowed us to see more than what was portrayed on screen.
What is fame? Fame is a tool. Let’s use it.