Celebrities have a huge influence on social issues in the society, serving as a role model to many. These youths look up to them as a good example, which can lead to some even wanting to be just like them. As much as fame and glory is something most people are envious of, let us explore the positive and negative influences in this aspect. Social media has taken over the modern world today, with celebrities seen endorsing products and providing awareness for many social causes. These acts have been influential to many people in the society, especially youths as they are the ones who are widely overwhelmed by social media.
A movement, Time’s Up, founded on 1 January 2018, was created to help victims obtain justice against perpetrators of harassment and sexual assault. They bring up important social issues to the forefront of the public’s mind. This campaign recognizes the issues faced by women in the society and around $17 million has been donated to help those without funds, and unable to defend themselves. By getting celebrities to voice out about these social issues, their recognition and fame will leave a larger impact on the public. In addition, social media is widely used these days, and word will spread around fast if these campaigns use it as a platform to spread awareness. Other than youths, women are more likely to empathize with the issues faced such as equal rights, protection and rightful justice. Also, if female celebrities were to take a stand, it makes women feel more secure as they have a public figure that understands them. ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’, a reality show, had a separate episode which cameras have followed Kim to the Alexandria House shelter after she had discussed the issues on homelessness in LA. Since that episode has been aired, there has been a flood of donations coming in which highest is around $1 million. ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ is a popular reality show, therefore there would be a phenomenal number of viewerships. The Kardashians themselves are popular as well, and people are more likely to be influenced by the words of someone famous. People who watch the show would feel the entire situation is more credible as after all, it is presented by someone famous on reality TV show and everything presented would appeal more to the audience.
There has been an emphasis on the importance of staying healthy recently and with the increasing amount of health risks as well, celebrities have opened up to this topic, sharing health beliefs with the public which has impacted them in one way or another. An American actor, Ben Stiller, wrote an essay on ‘The prostate cancer test that saved my life’, which influenced a computer engineer named, Jake, to take the test. When questioned, Jake mentioned he had no reason to take the test as given his medical history, he was healthy with not much health issues, but it was because of Ben Stiller’s story which moved him deeply, that made him want to take the test. Most of the time, having a celebrity as a role model makes you want to follow what they do and some might even have the thinking that “since a celebrity went for it, I should go as well”. However, in some situations, their personal stories itself move an emotional part in you, evoking certain emotions which makes you want to follow them or do something which they did.
An inspirational role model worldwide, Demi Lovato has been a beacon of hope and a symbol of women empowerment. She had once suffered from eating disorder back in 2013 and since then, she has recovered and stood up stronger than before. She realized the importance of self-love was important for each and every one, because if you do not love yourself, then who will? She also mentioned “I feel like every public figure has been put in the public because they are meant for more than just singing”. This has made many youths look up to her as a beacon of hope, as an inspirational figure which has gone through and overcome difficulties that no one could have thought would be successful.
Youths these days have a mindset that the things one see on social media is the ideal societal standard of beauty, but Demi on the other hand, has proved her fans wrong, only one can set their own standards of being beautiful. She is also becoming more confident after her recovery, which shows her fans that it is possible to overcome anything, and that the reason she is making herself such a player in the beauty world. She reveals “I want to build an empire. I don’t want to be just a musician I want to be a business entrepreneur, you know?” With that, she has also started her own beauty collection. Being a prominent figure she is in the eyes of the public, it somehow makes her influence more significant to everyone as well.
As much as there are many positive influences, there are negative influences as well. There are certain celebrities that have lusted for fame, and this has blinded them, leading them to walk down the wrong path. Selena Gomez, who used to be the sweetheart of Disney channel, with her all hit series “Wizards of Waverly Place”, is one of them who has been led astray by fame and glory. In 2013, she was in a relationship with Justin Bieber and wanted to keep their relationship underground. However, she repeatedly made plans with him in public places, and deliberately try to make it known when the press is around, it was as though she was feeding on his fame, to promote her new album. Aside from that scandal, she met up with her old friend, Demi Lovato, to shift the attention of the public from her previous issue to this, she tried to cover up by using Demi Lovato to protect her own reputation. She and Demi Lovato was not exactly the best of friends for the past few years now as they had a social media conflict in 2010, where they unfollowed and followed each other on social media.
This “unfollowing” drama was basically a way to let people know you are burning bridges with the person you unfollow. In 2016, she made an issue on social media regarding Justin Bieber’s post of his new girlfriend. Since many of his fans were unhappy with the fact that Justin had a new girlfriend and was constantly posting pictures of her, the couple received a lot of hate. Selena then decided to hop on the bandwagon as well, commenting on his pictures, and criticizing him for his actions and supporting his fan’s comments against him. Not only Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato, she also stirred up drama with Kendall and Kylie Jenner, getting oversensitive when they flirted with Justin. She also hooked up with Orlando Bloom while he was with Katy Perry, stirring a lot of drama which she has already been the talk of the town. Prior to all these drama with other celebrities, she has also been accused of lip syncing on stage, and to deny all these allegations, she spouted off on social media, including vulgarities in her statement, which made her very unprofessional. She also bailed on two world tours, which she claimed to have suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and depression. She announced that she bailed out on this to “spend time on herself” whereas she was then spotted with Justin Bieber immediately. This has then led fans to think she had a lousy work ethic. There are a lot more things she had done which negatively influenced the public on a large scale. Being the childhood sweetheart she was, and changing into a nightmare in such a short time, made many fans of all ages, disappointed and taken aback at this sudden change. Youths who have once followed her, aspiring to be like her when they grow up, might be prone to her negative influence on them. The way Selena presented herself to the public eye can lead to detrimental consequences on youths as some of them who are barely even teenagers, have yet to form an identity on their own, and being exposed to the negative influences of the media can impact their thoughts and perceptions on how an ideal individual should be.
On the other hand, not everyone is influenced negatively, and it seems that celebrities do effectively influence social issues faced, boosting the self-esteem of many teenagers, serving as a role model to them. Since celebrities are part of the entertainment industry, teenagers tend to follow them as well, pursuing a form of interest. References: Blake Edwards. The shady side of Selena Gomez. Nicki Swift.
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