By Lucy Wyndham
When pondering on a list of African-American role models to look up to names such as Maya Angelou, Ella Baker, Percy Julian, Thurgood Marshall, and Bessie Coleman should come to mind. Unfortunately, thanks to society’s almost obsessive infatuation with celebrities, many of these names are all but forgotten. Today, the youth of America prefer to look up to stars such as Rihanna, Beyonce,Will Smith, and Kanye West, emulating everything from their rebellious behavior to their beauty routines. Celebrity culture is slowly suffocating our society yet no one wants to talk about the dark destruction brought on by our obsession with fame and fortune.
We have stopped caring about the real world
TV shows such as Idols, Survivor, and The Bachelor is placing more value on fame than what is deemed necessary and we are eagerly lapping it up. In fact, according to a recent survey commissioned by social talent sharing startup Clapit, more than 25% of all millennials would quit their jobs in exchange for fame. During the same week that Kylie Jenner uploaded a skincare video that caused her severe backlash on social media, around 180 governments signed a new UN accord to regulate the export of plastic waste of which nearly 8 million tonnes end up in the ocean every year. While countless publications reported on Ms. Jenner’s eyebrow-raising skincare routine, not much was said about the plastics ban. In a similar fashion, the world is still more interested in sharing videos of celebs attempting the Bottle Cap Challenge, than they are standing up against gun violence in the USA.
Women are taking a different approach to their pregnancies
Celebrity culture has impacted pregnancies in a huge way. In February 2017, Beyonce posted a photo of herself seated in a bed of flowers in front of a floral wreath, exposing her pregnant stomach. In a matter of hours, the photo received more than 11.1 million likes and went on to become the most-liked photo of the year. Beyonce’s pregnancy was, along with those of Kate Middleton, and Kim Kardashian, among some of the most-followed celeb pregnancies in history. Celeb pregnancies undoubtedly put immense pressure on the average woman who, often against her own better judgment, tries to replicate a celeb pregnancy as best possible. Apart from the actual birth, losing weight after a pregnancy is also greatly influenced by celebs. Just because Halle Berry managed to shed the 35 pounds she gained while pregnant with baby Nahla in under three months, many women think they can achieve the same just to be heartbroken when they don’t.
We relish in the failure of others
As much as we place celebrities on a pedestal, nothing makes us more happy to hear of a brand-new scandal. Luckily, if there is one thing American celebrities are really good at it is churning out scandals. This year alone we have had to deal with Jussie Smollett’s fake assault, Justine Skye and Sheck Wes’s domestic abuse saga, and Khloe Kardashian and Jordyn Woods’ feud. Thanks to celebrity culture, society is largely embracing the popular Japanese saying: “The misfortune of others tastes like honey.” Instead of sympathizing with others when they face hardship, we relish in it. We have become increasingly callous towards human suffering and seemingly have no qualms about piling snide remarks onto celebrities on the internet.
As much as we try, there is no escaping the effect celebrity culture has on society. As long as we blindly worship the stars of stage, screen, and sportsfield we expose ourselves to the disasters associated with celebrity glorification.