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Media's Affect

Tiger Wood’s affair, Paris Hilton’s drug problem, and Angelina Jolie’s adoption of her sixth child consume American lives. With over six million copies of Star, Us, and People magazines sold each week according to slate.com, it appears as if the celebrity world has become more than an obsession. Habitual readers not only find themselves drawn into the celebrity gossip and fairy-tale lives, but also their plastic surgery secrets and drug addictions. Has evolution led humanity to thirst for information on celebrities? Evolutionary psychologists believe just that.

Evolutionary experts consider the obsession with media related to the importance of survival, a trait necessary for human existence. As explained in Jack Shafer’s article, “Evolutionary psychology explains the appeal of the media,” sex and affairs are about reproduction and the future of humanity.
Many people find fascination in the celebrity hook-ups (because good looks are a sign of healthy offspring). Celebrities are good prey for this gossip, since they are known for their wealth, beauty, and multiple companions. This also clarifies the appeal of plastic surgery, as Americans want to see these celebrities with long-lasting good looks. Psychologists justify the majority of the articles are about women because most women readers want to see the competition. As women read, they are arranging the perfect relationship to ensure their family continues.
Tabloids have bombarded Americans since Walter Winchell created his gossip newspaper column the late 20’s. Winchell mixed fact and fiction about the wealthy, celebrities and politicians which formed what today is used in all magazines. The influence gossip has on society is a combination of evolution and sheer entertainment.
Shafer states, “On the surface, the celebrity rags seem to be about sex. But their real subject is reproduction and the future of the human tribe.” Americans constantly looks at other’s offspring, comparing how well the parents produced and how their child looks to another. Readers are constantly checking up on the status of pregnant celebrities (with the idea that their beauty and wealth will result in the ultimate baby). For months, Americans eagerly watched Shiloh (daughter of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) and Suri (daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise) grow up with high expectations of what stunning genes were inherited.
The “Sexiest Men Alive” edition of People magazine has women seizing endless copies off the shelves. This edition not only includes the sexiest celebrities, but the random men they find that they deem as “sexy.” This has women desperately fanning through each page, ogling over each set of abs and blue eyes. This is not only entertainment; it gives women an idea of what to search for in their ideal man. But why is the sexiest women edition almost as popular? Women want to know what they must look like to concur their prey. Evolution has given society the idea that they need to look better to get the superior companion in order to have the most successful offspring.
Heidi Montag’s ten plastic surgeries, Mickey Rourke’s surgery disaster, and Ashlee Simpson’s nose job that changed her life play into American’s strive to look perfect. And since plastic surgery is not an option for most Americans, why not watch the wealthy? All it took for Ashlee Simpson and Jennifer Gray to become beautiful was one simple thing: a nose job. Not only did readers believe they were able to produce better, but they couldn’t stop reading because it was too amusing.
It is easier for society to dream about the perfect life than to achieve it. Celebrities provide all the gossip, scandals, and affairs needed. It is pleasurable for readers to learn details on a celebrity’s drug scandal because it does not affect their lives. They are able to live the indulgent, sexy, and reckless lives through the tabloids they read. Society may keep an eye on magazines for ideas on reproducing. But they also thrive off the gossip they never thought they could have on their own.





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