Celebrity Culture: Why Are We So Obsessed?
Celebrities are cultural magnets in that we frequently try to imitate their style, the way they talk, how they act, their hairstyles, their quirks. (Often, and unfortunately not very successfully, may I add.) Naturally, we obtain the bulk of our knowledge and our ideas by copying other people, rather than through trying things out for ourselves first. Just as naturally, we tend to pay a lot more attention to the habits and the behaviours exhibited by famous people than those exhibited by ordinary folk. Things are much more likely to catch on and start trending if they are associated with a big name. The celebrity brand serves as a kind of luminous, shimmering sign, crying out “Must have!”
“Must have” society
Of course, the way an Oscar-winning actress dresses or styles her glossy tresses has little, if anything, to do with what made her successful in the first place. She can act too, you know?
Take Gossip Girl actress, Blake Lively for instance; her ‘pregnancy announcement’ outfit sold out almost instantly earlier this month. It’s somewhat outrageous to think that a flood of pregnant women couldn’t scramble fast enough to bag themselves a ludicrously expensive skirt and top in an attempt to emulate the glowing A-lister. In a society addicted to celebrity though, it’s oddly unsurprising.
Celebrity exploitation of the general public
Obviously, those shrouded in fame and fortune know exactly how to exploit the rapturous adoration they receive from an infatuated audience. Lively, rather suddenly, has been turning up just about everywhere since she announced her pregnancy, sporting chic outfit ensembles, all of which are selling on her very own lifestyle site, Preserve. In a mere six days, she wore six different outfits from the range totalling a cool £6000, knowing fine well that an impressionable audience will foolishly follow her glittering golden footsteps all the way to the bank. Ultimately, nothing celebrities do is done spontaneously. Even an Instagram photo is methodical; calculated to earn money. Assuming we’re aware of the shrewdness of these millionaire stars, why on earth do we continue falling for them? Millions of us simply can’t resist the tempting lure of the starry celeb world.
Why should anybody care about the personal life of a famous person? After all, it’s just a tad absurd to obsess over a public figure – *cough* Harry Styles *cough* – who doesn’t even know you exist.
Curiosity and fan adoration
The key reason we can’t get enough of celebrities is because they are downright fascinating. Aren’t they? They live in some a sort of fantastic, incredible, twinkling parallel universe – it’s a universe that seems just like ours – yet; it’s unfathomable and completely out of our grip. It’s almost as if we can touch it, but it’s merely illusory. We love celebrities because just sometimes, in spite of the £700 pair of shoes they have on, they can be relatable. Those shrouded in fame and fortune tell TV chat show hosts about their problems – whether it be their broken marriages, their sad upbringings, their most embarrassing moments – and we can instantly relate. They’re ordinary people who feel and hurt just like us. We are one.
…Except we’re not, not at all actually. The reason being, just as quickly as a starlet can cry to Jonathon Ross about a recent blush-inducing wardrobe malfunction, she can just as easily gush haughtily about a new multi-million dollar film fee, or gracing the latest edition of Vogue US. Stars are oh-so appealing because they enthral us; one look at Jennifer Lawrence draped in a £20,000 couture frock in Grazia magazine, radiating star power, and we’re left captivated; we hanker after more. Yes, it’s easy to blame the media for the unruly explosion of celebrity culture. Yet, it’s our own mind which deludes us into believing that the stars are our pals, our lovers, our intimate companions; seeing a beautiful person releases pleasing chemicals in the brain; we naturally view an acquaintance as someone suitable for gossip or romance. This is why celebrities are so impossible to ignore, despite them being on a glimmering parallel universe light years away from our own. Celebrities awaken our most human cravings: the desire to love, copy, admire and of course, to gossip.
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