The Religion Called Celebrity
The advent of media of late has been so huge, that there is not even the minutest point that is not published in a paper or a magazine or shown on the news. Especially when it comes to the celebrities, be it a pop star, a movie star or a sport star, the paparazzi and the page 3 columns are filled with the remotest stuff of their lives. Things about our icons which were even seldom heard or were discussed about a few decades ago are easily available now, thanks to the over excited media.
But, where does it leave us fans? Are there not people who are so into their icons that tend to forget their own identities and start mimicking their idols. So much so, that celebrities become gods and the entity celebrity becomes a religion.
Onset of Celebrity Influence: A very well established fact, the tabloids and the paparazzi columns are now so abundantly available; it becomes easy for all age groups, starting from kids to get addicted to these articles in order to follow the celebrities. And if by chance, there is an article about your most favorite celeb, then the curiosity levels are at their zenith.
For many kids and youth around the world, their icons are their idols and role models. For a few excessively obsessed fans, these icons mean everything to them, more than anything else in the world. So is this celeb worship something that belongs to only this century or has this culture been existing in the previous centuries too.
History of Celebrity Worship: The rise of celebrity influence and following in America can be traced back to the first decade of the 20th century. In between the years 1900-1929, the entertainment industry in the states was flourishing. Various forms of entertainment pertaining to films, opera and radio were becoming popular amongst the masses and the strata of the higher society. It was during this period, that the idea of cult following developed in America and this tradition continues even today.
In India, fans go to the extent of building shrines for their idols.
The Areas of Celebrity Influence: The modern fans are not just fans and followers of their role model celebs, but they are just pure devotees when it comes to following their celebs. In terms of fashion, the body language, the image, the hair styles, the celebs’ view on politics and environment, no matter what aspect, the ideas and influence of the respective celebrities can hugely be found in their fans.
- When it comes to fashion, celebrity wardrobes are a vogue amongst many followers. Not just wardrobe, but the apparels and accessories that accompany the wardrobe along with the hair style are all a fashion statement, once popularized by celebrities are sure to be followed and talked about by their fans for years to come.
- Even the body image of celebs is now in vogue among the fans. Fans get so excited by the body shape of their idols that they start to exercise the same image each and every time their celebs get a make over. Cosmetic surgeries and plastic surgeries have become more and more popular among the youth, thanks to the excessive makeovers the celebs follow. Even body piercing and tattoos have become so popular, that not the celebs’ faces are being tattooed but also the tattoos the celebs’ possess on their bodies are also a rage amongst fans.
- Not just fashion, but also the views about politics and political views are very much influenced by your respective celebrity ideas. A prime example for this very recently is Barack Obama’s presidential endorsement by Oprah Winfrey. A study after the endorsement suggested that, almost 8 percent of America’s population was influence to vote for Obama after Winfrey’s endorsement.
- At the same time, a lot of Governments also bank upon the popularity and influence of the celebs to promote eco-friendly awareness among the citizens. A celebrity’s eco-friendly lifestyle and following of green ideas can influence fans in a great way to do the same. Tom hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore are a few celebs who follow the green path and are instrumental in advocating the same among their fans.
The Celebrity Religion: Despite providing us environment, celebrities influence our lives, believe it or not, like it or not. But, to what extent can we let them influence us? Is there a line which needs to be drawn in order to protect our identity? Or would we like being termed a fan or a devotee of a certain celeb?
- The answer to the above question rests with an individual. The saturation levels of celebrity influence have to be checked in order to preserve our own identity and habits. No matter what the religion is, we should take care that we do not become obsessed with it. Celebrity is one such religion where both getting obsessed and addicted is very easy.
One thing to keep in mind about the religion called celebrity is your deities are no super-powers, but they are humans like you. To err is human, and celebrities have their own share when it comes to making errors. Thanks to today’s available media resources, any incident related to a celebrity is looked through a magnifying glass. The kaleidoscope of a celebrity is very colorful to admire, but it is best when only admired rather than built.