Social media, Academy awards, magazine headlines, Google searches. Celebrities are everywhere. The fact that so many of us are fascinated with celebrities is that they are everywhere. However, they are everywhere also because we are so fascinated with them.
What is it about these super-human paragons that cause us to watch one YouTube clip after another of interviews with our favorite celebrities or even pin their images up on our walls? Are they like modern-day Olympians? Is this normal human behavior? Or is it crossing the line into something less healthy?
- A Prototype of Success
If the celebrities we are the most focused on have achieved great things in pursuits we value, then we may view them as a prototype of success, the example of what we can aspire to.
Although many of the celebrities we follow are sports stars or actors, people who are athletes or are in acting school will look at these celebrities differently than those who just look at these stars from their armchairs. We may not break the identical records they do, but we can learn how to perform better by studying their technique.
- A Relationship Without Commitment
It may seem silly to have an imaginary relationship with a celebrity and cross the line into delusion. However, many of us, particularly teenagers, may have fleeting fantasies about meeting our favorite stars by chance, striking up a conversation, and maybe having a relationship.
This has happened in the history of the world, but it is kind of like winning a lottery ticket. However, it is fun to dream, as long as it stays a dream. Unfortuantely, in unstable individuals, these fantasies often cross the line into painful obsession or stalking.
- An Expression of Our Values
Many celebrities want their fame to be not just about them but the causes they believe in. For example, some back certain political candidates are concerned with raising awareness about the environment, veganism, and mediation. While some roll their eyes at these attempts and cry “virtue signaling,” others admire this sincere expression of values and the desire to take the focus off of their glory and to place it on what they care about. If we share these values, we can see these celebrities as heroes who have the humility transcend the pursuits that made them famous in the first place.
- Beautiful Creatures
Let’s face it, most celebrities, especially actors and athletes are lovelyto to look at. The intense exercise routines performed by athletes tone the body and clear the skin. Producers are looking for actors that people want to gaze at on the silver screen for hours.
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder in some cases, but many of the people who get many social media followers and fans tend to have smooth complexions, big, expressive eyes, be young, have firm skin, and muscle tone. However, when young people try to compare themselves to these celebrities and feel they fall short, it can affect their body image.
- A Different World
Celebrities lead lives we can only imagine. Most of them are incredibly wealthy. They make a living doing things we may consider fun, like making a movie and playing a game. However, any celebrity biopic will tell you that their lives are not as easy as they seem with the pressures of fame, the prevalence of chemical dependency, the fickle public, and other problems. Still, few people can imagine their problems and instead focus on how celebrity lives seem idyllic.
When Celebrity Fixation Goes too Far
While it is normal to be fascinated with celebrities to a certain extent, this love of famous people can go too far. In some cases, delusional people become addicted to worshiping their celebrities and go so far as to have imaginary relationships. As a result, some end up stalking well-known people.
A more common but harmful side effect of celebrity fixations is a lower self-image. In one study of girls between 14 and 16, the subjects most preoccupied with celebrities had lower confidence in their appearance and body image. This occurs because the young people compare themselves to these ideal people.
However, for most of us, looking up to, admiring, and even fancying celebrities is fine as long as it doesn’t lead to an obsession. Humans throughout history have always admired prototypes of human behavior or physical form. As long as this interest is kept in proportion, it can be enjoyable and even inspiring.