How Do Celebrities Really Affect Us? - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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How Do Celebrities Really Affect Us?

Most of us find celebrities gripping in one way or another. Curious about the effect that’s having? We were too.

By 

As a teenager, I worked at a summer camp for young kids. One summer, as we sat around the campfire, I told the kids about a movie I’d seen. Naturally, they wanted more details. While a few of the other counselors chatted about the film’s plot, on our side of the campfire the conversation devolved to talking about the actors’ personal lives. This information enthralled most of the kids. Only one stopped me to ask, “Why do you know so much about her?”

It’s impossible to escape celebrity culture. Images and details of everything celebrities do, from grocery shopping to partying, is plastered all over every newsstand and supermarket checkout aisle. Their love lives are all over the Internet. Their charitable involvements and political opinions are newsworthy. We consume their private lives like public commodities. They’re treated like extensions of the entertainment industry they work in. But how does this culture of celebrity worship affect us?

How Do Celebrities Really Affect Us?

We see celebrities through a screen of Photoshop, professional makeup, and designer clothes. We then broadcast this unrealistic beauty fantasy to every media outlet in the country and impose it on every woman. The impact that these unrealistic images have on our girls’ self-esteem is well documented, but we don’t stop. Some celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Winslet and Keira Knightly, have spoken out about this manipulation. But these lone voices are not enough to negate the terrible impact ‘Photoshopping’ has on our culture.

How Do Celebrities Really Affect Us?The stereotypical Hollywood beauty standard creates a conformity culture. Instead of celebrating diversity in beauty, we all want to look like Taylor Swift or Angelina Jolie. Hollywood celebrates the same body type, skin color, tiny nose and perfect facial features over and over again. Meanwhile, we shunt every other kind of ‘imperfect’ beauty to the sideline, and rarely ever mention intelligence or personality. After all, beauty is so much more important, right?! [Wrong!]

It’s time their power was checked…

The problems with this conformity culture extend beyond just beauty, though. Many of Hollywood’s products encourage sexist and racist tendencies. People of color get little representation in popular media. The film Exodus: Gods and Kings actually cast white actors to play ancient Egyptians. Meanwhile, less than half of all movies released pass the Bechdel Test (which rates films based on the criteria of containing at least two female characters who talk to each other about something besides a man), even though its standards are quite low. Every movie should have enough women to pass this test without even trying, but few succeed. Hollywood can’t pass basic standards of representation, yet they command significant social power.

How Do Celebrities Really Affect Us?

Couple Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield using their celebrity status to draw attention to a good cause after leaving lunch in New York City.

The popularity of interviews means that celebrity culture now reaches into every aspect of actors’ personal lives and opinions. While women like Emma Watson use this power for good, others share their uninformed views in damaging ways. Shailene Woodley, for example, announced that she isn’t a feminist because she doesn’t hate men. She is one of many celebrities who have denounced feminism for reasons that reveal their ignorance on the subject. More disappointing than Woodley’s uninformed views, though, was the attention they got. Woodley has no idea what she’s talking about when it comes to feminism, since she dismisses it as a man-hating war of the sexes. So why do we listen to her?

Shailene Woodley’s starring roles in two young adult hits means she has a huge tween fan-base. Because of our growing obsession with celebrity culture, her tween fans are by now well aware of her opinions on feminism. It’s easy for informed adults to dismiss Woodley’s views, but most of her tween audience is new to feminism. For them, Woodley’s uneducated words can do a lot more damage. Of course, Woodley should have her own opinions, incorrect as they may be, but that doesn’t mean the media should spread them around. Shailene Woodley’s profession in no way qualifies her to talk about feminism, but we still listen to her opinion.

How Do Celebrities Really Affect Us?

Honestly; why should we care so much about what she has to say?

More worrying is the blurring line between celebrity and politics. Celebrities endorse politicians and presidential candidates. Though we all like to think that their opinions don’t affect ours, they do have an impact. Given the way most media channels broadcast their opinions, it’s hard to escape. It goes the other way as well: politicians have appeared in the past on talk shows meant for actors to talk about their personal lives. But we shouldn’t mix Hollywood and Washington. Actors have a right to their political opinions, but it’s not appropriate for them to carry so much weight in society at large.

We’re all conforming to the same ideals; it’s time to break free of the Hollywood mold.

As a huge movie fan, I believe in the work actors do. The entertainment industry can be a source of inspiration, powerful commentary, or great laughs. But Hollywood’s social power goes far beyond the movies it produces, and it’s time that power was checked.

The solution is to disengage with the celebrity world. It’s hard to escape the constant barrage of information that overwhelms us everyday, but it’s worth it. Each of us can make the choice to de-glamorize celebrity and step away from the damaging culture of celebrity worship. Limit actors’ power of widespread expression to the movies that made them famous in the first place. Only in this way can we limit the inordinate cultural power Hollywood currently commands.

How do you feel about your interactions with the celebrity world?

Born in France but raised all over the place, Auriane has wanted to write ever since she was old enough to spell her name. In her spare time she loves reading, hanging out with her best friends (even when they're not in the same time zone), and spontaneous singing with her Broadway-bound roommate.

22 Comments

  1. Lancy Stanford

    The thing is, you are you. It is never wrong to use a celebrity as an inspiration.

  2. Marina Josef

    Don’t encourage everyone to disengage the celebrities. Not all celebrities are as stupid as Woodley. Maybe she has done something wrong, but it doesn’t mean that she’s not worthy of the popularity.

  3. Marina Bozek

    We can’t disengage them. What can you do? You are not as powerful as the Kardashians.

  4. Jesse Wyss

    Hmm. I think, there’s nothing wrong in being influenced by the celebrities.

  5. Yuliya Bruce

    I admire Emma Watson. Not just because I’m a Harry Potter fan, but her personality is amazing. The way she uses her popularity to spread awareness about feminism and doing good deeds.

  6. Alena Martin

    I love Andrew and Emma! Such a great couple. But apparently, they broke up. Celebrities should be like them, very inspirational.

  7. Jurik Smith

    Celebrities should use their popularity to do goog deeds, not just to gain attention, and earn money. Look at what Emma and Andrew did. It’s inspiring.

  8. Selli Coaze

    Celebrities need to slow down when they are giving opinions. They are influential, and they have to think before they speak.

  9. Hena Taylor

    Woodly’s opinion is her opinion. It’s on how people accept it. Maybe that’s her point of view when it comes to feminism. It’s a big deal to everyone because she’s a Hollywood star.

  10. Jessi Agusta

    Celebrities are huge people. I can’t see the world without them. I love them because they inspire me.

  11. Bela Christo

    They are celebrities, people. Cmon, we can’t do anything about them. Do they give a fuck about us? No! They are famous, and we are who we are.

  12. Cristina Joseff

    You are not that person. Be yourself, and everyone will love you for being who you are.

  13. Maria Bruce

    I wish that celebrities will use their popularity to help other people. They are powerful, and they can do anything and get noticed. They should stop doing something stupid, just to get attention, they should start doing something good for other people.

  14. Ana Brose

    They are Hollywood stars, what’s new? Popular, and powerful. We can’t escape from them.

  15. Jeni Morgan

    Celebrities are influential. We can’t control a person to stop idolizing the celebrity. It’s the celebrity’s job to be more cautious in their opinion because it’s influential.

  16. Diana

    “Limit actors’ power of widespread expression to the movies that made them famous in the first place.”

    Yeah? I think you’re jealous. I think you wish you had that kind of clout. Well, you don’t, and you never will if you continue to envy and discount celebrities. You have no idea how hard it is to live a life where you are always worried about your safety and have to hire security anywhere you go and how everybody wants a piece of you.

    I feel sorry for your Broadway-bound roommate whom you will start disparaging as soon as she’s made a name for herself and begins to mouth off with her opinions, if they are contrary to your own.

    • Tahoedirt

      Give me a break- First, I’m not convinced there’s so few people in the world that can do what ever it is these people do. Secondly, there’s no way they deserve what they have. This is a bad joke and we need a movement to stop this ridiculous adulation. Thirdly, and try to remember- Most of what they do have is at the expense of normal folks and poor people. This whole thing makes me sick.
      You will see anti-celebrity movements in the near future. Their excess is beyond outrageous.

  17. As much as we want, we really don’t want to be bothered with the lives of celebrities. I mean, I have my family, friends, and co-worker’s lives to deal with and have absolutely no time learning about the gender of Kim K’s second child. But the issue is, they’re everywhere. Even if you don’t want to know, you can hear people talking about them, djs on the radio discussing their lives, what’s happening to their private lives on TV – they’re just everywhere.

  18. Randie Cadiogan

    In comparison with men, I have observed that women are more influenced by celebrities.

  19. Hannah Mayers

    Very sad 🙁 Well, it’s really hard to develop your own “sense of identity” especially if you’re in a culture that greatly follows what celebrities do, like and prefer.

    But I believe knowing and believing in yourself is the most essential step.

  20. Joanne Samonte

    The “celebrity culture….” I can honestly admit that what celebrities say always affect me. The way they look, their “fashion statement,” always influence my decision.

    But I’m really working out on having my own identity and not because of celebrity influences….

  21. Gabrielle Williams

    Amazing article, I agree that too many people buy into the fallacy that opinions are worth more when they're expressed by a celebrity. We envy them too much and hold their lives on a pedestal. Look at Kim Kardashian for example. Why do we care so much about her life when she's not famous for having any kind of talent whatsoever?

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