Maybe Celebrities Owe Us Something, After All

I wrote not too long ago that we’re owed nothing by celebrities in regards to their personal lives. I was wrong. Here’s why.

Did anyone else get caught up in the #freebritney movement?

I’d like to think I was at the forefront of supporting Britbrit.

I’ll never forget the night of the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards when Britney performed her iconic number, “Oops, I Did It Again,” in front of thousands of screaming fans.

I had reluctantly joined a Greek sorority that year.

I was a junior in college and hadn’t gone through rush or anything–that’s how much I wasn’t planning on doing a sorority.

But an old friend of mine thought I’d like it (and probably needed to fulfill a quota at our poor tiny school), so she coerced me into joining.

Young ladies, here’s a short lesson on knowing whether or not you should join a sorority:

If you hate following rules, a sorority is NOT for you.

If you hate pretentiousness, a sorority is NOT for you.

If you are practical and only seek to do things that matter in the long run, a sorority is NOT for you.

If you are an individual with zero cares about being, doing, and going, a sorority is NOT for you.

But I digress.

Anyway, the night of the VMA Awards, we were finishing our weekly chapter meeting.

A gaggle of girls turned on the TV just as Britney was walking down that staircase recovering from the wardrobe malfunction that forced her to fling her pants off earlier than expected.

As she started shaking her tail feather to the beat, I sat in awe.

Britney Spears was a celebrity I could get behind. Young, like me. Comfortable in her own skin. Clearly uninhibited by rules of society.

While I was having those thoughts, the other girls in my sorority were loudly vocalizing their disgust at what a slut and floozy Britney was. (Who knew you could tell a person’s sex life by the clothes they wore?)

Keep in mind that these same girls were going home just about every night with a different guy, dancing on tables, pulling outfits out of their own closets that could easily be called “slutty.”

It was at that moment I realized I probably didn’t belong in a sorority. I quit the next week.

My love of Britney has continued throughout the years.

I still jam out to her music, and I still think she’s a star for the ages.

However, unlike many fans, I’ve never been a rabid-celebrity worshiper.

I don’t know if it’s my lack of care about material wealth, or my empathy over everyone knowing a person’s private business.

I just don’t get celebrity worship.

But I’ll tell you what I understand even less.

It’s this joy some people get when other people’s lives are in destruction.

Whether it’s a self-destruction or a falling apart from the choices of others, some “fans” love to see a celebrity’s life in ruins.

I will never understand that.

You’d have to be blind to not see the train wreck that comes from such a messed up system of celebrity-worship.

And I truly believe that most artists do not seek human worship. (This is what differentiates the real artists from, say, the Kardashians or regular people looking to be famous.)

Like my own childhood dreams, most creatives are seeking to do what they love. Nothing more, nothing less.

But fame is addictive, at least, at first.

I mean, I personally don’t know how this feels, but one could imagine what it’s like to be loved and adored by people you don’t even know.

But then I think the person being worshiped starts to get that Imposter Syndrome, that feeling one gets when they’re not sure they are worthy of worship. (Hint hint: they’re not. None of us is.)

And I believe in many cases, especially when there is also childhood baggage carried into adulthood, a person begins to do whatever is possible to numb the pain they’re having to deal with in a very public setting.

Their life becomes a vicious cycle:

Public pain dealing.

Public fiasco.

Public eats up public pain dealing and fiasco.

Cycle starts again.

There is one factor in the cycle of trauma that could easily be removed, and if removed, would solve the 99 problems created by this thing called celebrity worship:

If the public would stop seeking to hear about the lives of creatives, stop following wannabe “famous people,” and start living their own lives as individuals, we would see far less cases of destruction among celebrities like Britney Spears.

Britney Spears is not making you purchase US Weekly of visit Yahoo or Perez Hilton.

No, in reality, you are making Britney Spears land on the cover every time you feed into the frenzy of her paparazzi-filled life.

It’s not just celebrity, either. When we choose to follow even the mainstream media with rabid intensity, sniffing out the next big pandemic, catastrophe or problem, we are doing nothing more than keeping the 24-7-365 negative news cycle spinning.

The truth is, celebrities should owe us nothing. We have no business prying into their personal lives, imitating their actions, or celebrating their downfalls.

So why do we worship them?

Three reasons we worship celebrities:

1.We’re jealous. 

We believe that the way stars live should be the way we live, too.

What they have, we should have. 

How they dress, we should dress. 

Their goals should be our goals. 

Doesn’t matter if they live in a totally different environment, work a totally different job, or have a totally different background. We want their lives. 

2. We’re unhappy. 

We aren’t satisfied in our lives, while they look like they’re living the dream. 

They’re jet-setting off to other countries, throwing lavish parties on the back lawn, and finding endless amounts of free time, where they neither work nor tend to children. 

We get none of this.

3. We’re bored. 

Our normal life doesn’t provide us the drama that we’ve become accustomed to seeing on the screen, so we crave the hit of dopamine we receive from daydreaming of being worshiped.

Many times it’s a combination of all of the above, right?

And until we learn that we are all connected and we understand that very few people profit off the destruction of others while everyone in the universe is worse because of it, we will never change the peace we’ve destroyed…

Peace that, by right of being born, belongs to us and to others.

Human beings are not meant to be worshiped. Our imperfect bodies cannot stand on that thin and high of a pedestal for that long.


All that being said…

Since the advent of social media, celebrities have been trying to “normalize” themselves to the world, making it seem like they are one of us, while also keeping their name and profile fresh in the public eye.

I think we’ve entered a time of vanished decorum, where our humanity has devolved to a point of bluntness not needed or necessary in society.

Our rhetoric has become so blatantly destructive. It’s dangerous how fast we’re willing to type 240 vicious characters on a keyboard and spew fire. (And listen, I’m just as guilty. Social media is a passive aggressive’s playground!)

As a result, celebrities are hiding more than ever, which presents a conundrum. How do you show your “true self” on social media so that you normalize yourself to your “people,” but also hide what’s really happening in your life to keep you safe from the dumpster fire of comments?

What ends up happening is you can’t. Eventually, as we’re now seeing with Britney, the truth comes out. Britney is struggling. We wanted her free from her parents and conservators, but now we want her truly free.

I don’t know what will happen with Britney. Do celebrities reach a tipping point? Absolutely. Look at all we’ve seen in the last few years, just since social media took over the world.

Break-ups, Alcoholism, Drug Use…Suicide.

We’ve seen it all and wondered…how did they get there? How did this celebrity, who just starred in this blockbuster, or was singing in front of that camera on social media, or dancing on TikTok with his wife…how did this happen?

Maybe celebrities do owe us something. The truth that being a celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

And maybe we owe them something, too. A life.

See you soon,


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