Why we shouldn’t blindly idolize celebrities

Molly Rapske, OpEd Editor

As we enter a new school year, there’s one habit we should leave behind: blindly idolizing celebrities. 

There is nothing wrong with being a mere fan of society’s most famous individuals. However, in order to have a healthy relationship, boundaries need to be set. It is a known fact that what we see on screens has been heavily edited. Comparing ourselves to celebrities, particularly in regards to physical appearance, can cause damage to our self esteem. Completely idolizing the world’s rich, famous and influential creates a very unequal society. 

In the past 10 years, technology has advanced beyond anything we have seen before. As technology continues to grow, influencers and celebrities have come to take advantage of social media platforms to promote themselves and their brands. This has allowed for fans to closely follow the objects of their admiration at an even closer proximity. In turn, this has only made the opinions of those our society has deemed important more influential than ever.

Attitudes towards today’s celebrities border on obsession. According to dictionary.com, the definition of a parasocial relationship is, “a relationship that a person imagines having with another person whom they do not actually know, such as a celebrity or a fictional character.” We have come to see celebrities as our friends. However, observing people at a distance gives us only a small view of who they truly are.

There is a clear reason why celebrities should not be our idols: they are real people, and they often aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Publicists pick and choose which information they wish to show the world. When a celebrity scandal occurs and information is leaked to the public, fans unload on social media, claiming they never would have expected such actions from said celebrity. Yet in some cases, what was  “leaked” was their true self all along.

Cancel culture has created a tension-filled society where people who make mistakes must carry that weight with them for time and time to come. When celebrities and influencers fall victim to the unreal expectations of cancel culture, we unwittingly adopt those ideas into our own lives. 

When a celebrity scandal occurs and a celebrity is “canceled,” the public begins to see them as a real individual. In doing so, they cease to be an object of admiration and idolatry. Once society begins to see celebrities as people with human characteristics — rather than having infallible personalities — we will hopefully have a more harmonious world. 

Having an infatuation with a celebrity verges on idolatry because we cannot truly know them based solely on what is put on social media and in headlines. Instead of looking up to people that we only know in limited ways, we should instead look to those around us. Good examples include professors, parents, grandparents and even an older friend. Instead of blindly following the lead of the famous, we should create real, concrete relationships with those close to us whom we admire. 

In order to create a more authentic society, we must begin to focus on improving ourselves, trusting our personally-formed opinions and pursuing our own wellbeing as opposed to heeding the elevated advice of strangers.

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