Price Of Fame: The Cost of Celebrity Influences

January 25, 2012
By BeyondMe BRONZE, Battle Creek, Michigan
BeyondMe BRONZE, Battle Creek, Michigan
3 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I used to want the words "She tried" on my tombstone. Now I want "She did it."
~Katherine Dunham

People should not idolize celebrities simply because they are famous ; while not everyone may agree with this, but fact is, it is an unavoidable part of growing up and finding self- identity. Everyday people see celebrities, or moguls or other very interesting people almost everywhere they look. What people do with all of this media attention is up to them. Not only does entertainment obsession happen to teenagers, it happens to adults too. New celebrities are discovered everyday and with them new fans. While this might not always become a bad obsession, it certainly has a higher downward spiral rate than ever. Celebrities have even had to get restraining orders against their own fans. Some fans are even evaluated for mental asylums, all because they do not know when enough is too much. Experts have even studied the beginning of the obsession and have found shocking results.

Almost all of teenagers have special celebrities they idolize in some small way. Like stated in the preceding paragraph, it helps younger people to find out who they really are as a person, and helps shape their personality. However, not everything a celebrity does is what we want our future leaders to be repeating- they are still human and in the light of publicity, they are sure to make mistakes. In their lives, teens feel visual beauty is the thing to achieve everything. Most celebrities, and other people who are placed atop metaphorical thrones, look, how we say, “perfect”. Teens strive to achieve perfection, just like their favorite stars; and because we live in a world where “thin” or “skinny” is exceptional and common in the media, this raises some red flags. Anorexia is the third highest illness in women and teenagers. They think that to be beautiful, you have to be thin. In a study that was done, 7% of 318 children will get an eating disorder even before reaching their teens. Data, from the National Eating Disorder Association, shows that 42% of first through third grade girls want to be thinner and 81% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of getting fat. Most of their influences come from the media. Celebrities, singers, actors, directors, TV shows, magazines, newspapers, children’s toys… Weight loss commercials all portray the media’s, and the publics by default, idea of what is beautiful and perfect. Children are not the only ones being affected by the vain idea of beauty, adults, even when reaching the age of sense, still believe that is what they are looking for to become beautiful. Research shows that models in regular advertisements today weigh 23% less than the average woman. According to a study done by the Institute of Psychiatry, 4.2 out of 100,000 women are anorexic and 12.2 out of 100,000 suffer from bulimia. Statistics also say that 8 million Americans have eating disorders; 7 million women and 1 million men. Research shows about 80% of women are unhappy with their appearance and about 70% of men. This all should make the media cringe. Whom will they advertise to if most of their customers are dying from following their advice? All of them strive for outer beauty when really it is inner beauty that matters in the end.

According to Susan Boon Ph.D. of Psychology, the media influences us more than we actually know. “It's often hard to realize how much anyone influences us," she says. "We may also like to think that we develop our identity and sense of self rather than being influenced by others." The National Eating Disorder Society keeps an inventory of statistics on their website. The list of diseases that they cover has grown since the Association was founded 6 years ago. While this disease continues to grow in strength, and be fueled by the media, more people have taken to study its effects and what causes the need for self- change when really the killer is right in front of them.

Many celebrities have had to restrain some over- the – top fans from being in within looking distance of them. While some celebrities give off the negative effect, teens are oblivious to it. They thank the media for helping them come to their senses and become better people because of it, when in truth they were better off before they were blinded by the world as we know it. They are diluted because fashion magazines tell them this is the right size to be, when in reality all they are trying to do is make more money by selling them their products. Selena Gomez, for example, had to have a restraining order against an extreme fan. Not only was Selena in danger but also the consequences were massive for the man also. He could have tried to harm her and would have been arrested. A superior example of this, is of the fan that killed them on Paula Abdul’s front yard. The fan tried out for American Idol and was not passed on to the next level. Luckily, Paula was away from home when it happened. Now, others might state that this not only happens to celebrities alone, but it is common knowledge that it is most likely to happen to them. Even as teens idolize celebrities, it is unnecessary to take it to a harmful level, harmful for both the one being idolized as well as the fan. Even celebrities have problems with their image; it is almost obvious it is to happen to them because they are in the spotlight most often. A very good example of this is of Demi Lovato. She checked herself into rehab and stayed there for nearly a year to get herself help for eating disorders, cutting herself, and depression and she continues to speak out against it. Because she was brave enough to do this, knowing this would not escape the public eye, she has become a hero in the eyes of many other teen girls. "If you are going through that dark period, go to your family and closest friends," she says. "Don't put yourself in danger. It's very crucial that you get your feelings out -- but don't ever inflict harm on your own body because your body is so sacred. I wish I could tell every young girl with an eating disorder, or who has harmed herself in any way, that she's worthy of life and that her life has meaning. You can overcome and get through anything."The pressure of perfection touches even the most confident of people.

Actions like the celebrities have to go through are not gone on in silence. Most celebrities sue their stalkers for fear or get restraining orders against them and continuously renew them. Many of the fans who continue to alarm them are even evaluated for mental illnesses, and a lot of them are mentally unstable. They shouldn’t idolize celebrities simply because of how they look or dress, but because of their personalities; how they see themselves in their own eyes. Instead of their bodies, their confidence should be enviable. Justin Bieber is one of the top worshiped male celebrities out currently. He is a good example of a person who actually deserves to be looked up at. He grew up like us and with virtually nothing. His voice, singing and otherwise, is what got him his name; but his personality is what keeps him on top. He has a confidence like no other and good morals to live upon. Instead of focusing on those who look good, people should focus on those who are making a difference and taking stands in the direction against teen insecurities. The outcome if you don’t should not be wanted.

Some people may say this isn’t a large problem, it builds self- identity and may influence the person- good or bad- but the number of eating disorders has heightened in the last ten years and the media has gotten a stronger control over people. The more they continue to grow the lesser our self-control gets. While this happens to normal people like us, it also happens to celebrities a lot. They are still apart of this world and not new to the idea of perfection. Some use their fame to help others who aren’t so fortunate to share in their confidence- such as Justin Bieber or Demi Lovato. But others keep a blind eye to it and feed normal people to the sharks, us not being important enough to them, while they may not say that literally, they might as well by ignoring us completely. It is no surprise that there are more male stars being idolized then women. Young men usually choose other men as their heroes while young women choose those who they are attracted to. Most celebrities put a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure their fans are happy that they usually go off path. Which is even worse than before, not only do teenagers have an extreme idol but also now, those idols are giving them an unworthy role model? What needs to happen now is that we all need to take a stand together to show everyone, not just females, that as long as they are comfortable in their own skin, they are perfect just the way they are.

While Entertainment and Media Obsession isn’t up there in the list of deadly diseases, it certainly should be. Teenagers, adults, change themselves to be like their favorite person daily. However, while there are no ways to prevent the media from spreading, there are other ways for your children to understand where to keep their celebrity idols, at a distance. As parents and role models, children need to be taught from a young age that not everything in the media is good, and while a crush is perfectly fine, to know where it ends. Don’t misunderstand, some celebrities understand their influence and the need to constantly remind teens that the way they look is okay exactly how they already are. Sometimes, it is their faults for not listening and instead listening to the nay- sayers- the bullies, the people who don’t want to see us succeed in life, the people who don’t feel good enough about themselves that they have to tear other people around them just to feel important; but if they really knew the truth about what they were doing and what the long- term effects were I believe they would think twice before giving those people the satisfaction of seeing them fall. Because all in all, the prettiest people tend to do the ugliest things.

The author's comments:
I was learning how to use persuasive techniques in my classroom. This paper is demonstrative of how much I learned. It includes persuasive techniques and figurative language.

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