What does the Rise in Interest in Celebrities Tell Us about Our Current Society?

Words: 1942
Topic: Sociology
Updated:

Introduction

In the society as a whole, there are those individuals who are not known, and there are also those who are well known in history. Those who are well known are known as celebrities and they are, in most cases, influenced by celebrity culture. The history of celebrity culture can be traced to the period of biblical and mythical figures.

Today, celebrity culture has grown its roots into several sectors within the society. The sectors in which celebrity culture has pervaded include the business industry, academic and the publishing industries. The vehicles of celebrity culture have been the media; the media involved are the televisions, radios and print media.

Nonetheless, there has been serious complains that in the modern celerity culture, individuals seek “virtues” that break the social ethical boundaries. Celebrities continues to get more attention in the current society than ever, this can be attributed to the process of globalization that has all over suddenly made the world to be one global village.

Interest in Celebrities and Current Society

It is important to note that being a celebrity comes with fame and adoration. Many individuals seek to become celebrities by doing certain things that the society considers unique. According to Turner (2004, p.3), celebrities in the modern society normally emerge from sports and or entertainment industries and become highly visible via the media.

The public is more attracted by the private lives of celebrities rather than their professional lives. Turner further argues that the fame that the celebrities get in public is not necessarily a direct result of their position in the society or achievement, but once they have been established, their fame is likely to have exceeded the allegation to developed prominence which occurs within the first location.

The rise in interest of celebrities is a direct indication of how celebrity is becoming a deity to most members of the society. In current society, most people, both young and old, are increasing becoming attracted to celebrities; individuals want to be identified with celebrities of their choice.

For instance, in sports, individuals would try to identify with their football celebrities by putting on clothes with names and images of their favourite celebrity footballers; in music, people are attracted to different musicians and they identify themselves with such musicians through loving and listening to their songs, having clothes bearing names and images of such musicians and even keeping photos of such celebrities on walls or photo albums.

It is also evident that the culture of celebrity is becoming more and more influential in almost all aspects of the society. The culture has infiltrated the business industry, the political arena, talent competition, entertainment and sports. All these industries have increasingly attracted the culture of celebrity hence signalling the fact that celebrities have become an important part of the modern society in all respect.

Worthy to note is the way the celebrities have been used in the marketing industry. The fact is that celebrities have great attraction to public attention and therefore used by marketers to position products in the market. This shows that the consumption in the modern society is greatly influenced and enhanced by the celebrity culture.

According to Rojek (2001, p.9), the increasing public figures in the everyday life can be attributed to the development of public society in which a personal lifestyles are developed as antidotes to formal democratic equality.

Rojek (p.11) further argues that celebrity in the society is a representation of the split that has now existed between the private self and the public self. According to this argument, individuals who come to the public sphere and considered to be celebrities are always involved in activities that actually do not reflect what their true self are. They always want to be what the public would like to see in them; and this is what makes people to be attracted to them.

The culture of celebrity is an emerging social class in the society. Individuals tends adapt their character traits to those of their favourite celebrity personalities. In most cases, the culture of celebrity has had a great influence on children and growing teenagers.

This has displaced the elder members of the society from being the role models to the young generations; in the current society, the young generation is inspired by favourite celebrities rather than parents and the elder people in society.

This scenario is not bad as such, but it is important to point out that the celebrity culture is not good in its entirety; there are celebrities whose actions and behaviour generally violates the social ethics that hold members of the society together. This means that there are certain practices within the celebrity culture that only contributes to the disintegration and or decay of the society.

These include celebrities involved in and promote criminal activities either through songs and or practice. Arguably, the rise in interest in celebrities may mean increase in criminal activities or unethical activities like drug abuse in the modern society.

Therefore, it implies that the modern society has to deal with more social problems that have been brought about by the celebrity culture, than in the past when the culture did not attract so many attentions as compared to today.

The media plays a major role in elevating celebrities in the current society. It is therefore safe to state that the increasing interest in the celebrities is facilitated by the media. Most of the media channels promote materials that are horrible and noticeably not decent.

These materials have certain ideals that gradually imprint themselves into the minds of the individuals who watch or read the materials. The images of celebrities, as portrayed by the media have adverse impact in the community and the celebrities themselves. Close examination of the personality traits of celebrities being glorified in the media have some negativities which may be injurious to the characters of individuals who emulate them.

The media is the main source of information in the current society; it determines what information reaches the public. In this case, especially where globalization has greatly influenced the way the society operates, it remains to be said that the current society has become a slave of the media. This can account for the reason there has been increased interest in celebrities.

With the current globalization, celebrities have been created through films and movies where the actions of the actors may inspire some of the audience. In films individuals may be involved in committing crimes, which may not be real; the success with which they commit such crimes and the way the “criminals” actors avoid police arrest may make such actors to heroes and heroin to some audience.

The result is that some of the audience may consider such actors as celebrities and hence start practicing what they watch their celebrities do in films. These scenarios are illustrated by Barbas (2002, pp. 10-15) where she discusses the fact that what appears in the films may not be real or could some times be real.

Since the advent of celebrity culture, the social definition of one’s self has undergone a great change. Many people in the current society define their personality in terms of those they most admire and consider heroes.

Notably, there is rising number of young people within teen age who have decided to define their lives by getting into drug use, under-age sexual indulgence and heavy drinking of alcohol. These activities are commonly encouraged by the celebrity culture.

Another important factor is that it is now easy to become a celebrity. The current social developments coupled with technology have made it easier to become a celebrity without necessarily achieved anything substantial. This has been made possible by reality shows which have given many people the perception that becoming a celebrity does not require talents any more.

In fact, the current society members have all over suddenly become so much interested in seeking public attention in order to glorify themselves. The idea here is that many people emulate celebrities in order to become just like those celebrities; it is about the replications of what celebrities do to become celebrities.

The current society is actually turning away from the belief in God, religion. The adoration of God is gradually being replaced by the belief in celebrity; this has turned celebrity into a cult. Individuals develop some natural instincts that make them look to a figure for self reflection, avowal and authority.

This figure may be an individual who is a protector, hero and one considered to have a higher power. These are what make the celebrities to be more popular and therefore considered to be above an average human being making people to turn away from religion (MacArthur, 2009, P.63).

One most important thing about celebrities is that they tap into the needs of people to be significant in society, get rich and achieve some level of independence. So they seem to embody what every individual in society would like to become, and this is the reason they are sources of inspiration to many people who admire them.

The celebrities always give their admirers hope that they can rich similar status. The quest to become like the celebrities has made the celebrity culture a cult in which the celebrities are worshipped by their admirers.

The rise in the interest of celebrities also indicates that the interests and aspirations of the current society are changing. This takes place primarily in the areas of occupation where individuals are looking for attractive job opportunities, particularly those that are related to the media.

In fact this explains the superfluity of reality shows on the televisions currently as individuals look for personal exposure in order to be significant even for just few minutes. The televisions and reality shows have made the celebrities to be more easily reached and their presence seem to make everything possible, even if circumstances in which they became celebrities are unique to themselves.

Conclusion

The rising of interest in celebrities has several implications in the current society. The number of individuals focusing their attention to celebrities is gradually increasing thereby raising some concerns within the society as a whole.

Celebrities have become source of inspiration to many people in society notwithstanding the fact that some celebrities actually gain their fame through promotion of criminal activities. The culture of celebrity has become a cult in which people have turned away from religion and instead interested in adoring the celebrities whose statuses they wish achieve.

The development of celebrity culture has been facilitated by the media through promotion of certain activities in which the celebrities engage in; yet some of the activities are criminal and anti-social in nature. In most cases, individuals watch films and read materials and are highly likely to emulate what they see and read; this implies that they apply them to their lives so that they can become like the celebrities.

The celebrity culture has exposed the weaknesses that lie within the current society in which the experienced members of the society are gradually becoming less inspirational to the young generations and are being replaced by the celebrities. Unfortunately, the complete background information of these celebrities is never known to their admirers.

It is crucial to realize that the fame of celebrities requires the audience of the ordinary members of the society and hence the fact that they rely on other people for their fame to look real. Their statuses are craved for by many people and such individuals will go to a level of doing everything they can to identify with the celebrities. This shows the society has become a place where personalities are being replicated.

Reference List

Barbas, S. 2002, Movie crazy: fans, stars, and the cult of celebrity, Palgrave Macmillan, United States.

MacArthur, J. 2009, Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong: A Biblical Response to Today’s Most Controversial Issues, Harvest House Publishers, United States.

Rojek, C 2001, Celebrity, Focus on contemporary issues, Reaktion Books, London.

Turner, G 2004, Understanding celebrity, SAGE, New York.