The Greeks worshipped numerous gods. The Egyptians saw the Pharaohs as man-gods on earth. All modern religions have their god or gods as well. Since the beginning of time, or at least since the earliest human societies, we have always idolized a “greater” being.
Today, though some of these gods still exist, our culture has shifted away from them and towards admiring celebrities. Indeed, celebrities have never possessed the same ethereal power that religious symbols do, but honestly, if you put symbols of your religion in competition with symbols like Chanel, the design house might just hold out a bit longer than you’d think.
From social media, to television, to sports, and films, we idolize our celebrities. Here are a couple of reasons why it happens.
We are taught to admire people from a young age.
I’m sure you’ve all fallen in love with a movie or literary character at some point in your life. How could you fail to when all of our shows or movies display the “perfect” image of the ideal person? We noticed the attractive characters as kids, and projected those images onto ourselves. Girls wanted to be Disney’s Belle, with the beautiful gown and handsome prince, and boys wanted to be the powerful and cool Superman…or maybe James Bond.
We all love to be entertained.
Let’s all agree on the observable; we consume anything that is even a little appealing. When the most recent 10-second viral-video hits YouTube, you probably share it on every social media platform you participate in. We all spend lots of time saving money for sports games that last only a few hours, and we spend/waste hundreds of dollars on the latest iPhone or iPad, with the most up-to-the-minute features, even though the version that we have works fine. Celebrities add to the things that keep us entertained as well; their residences and their rides, their clothes and their newest relationships are all larger than life and oh so interesting. They distract us from our “boring” pedestrian lives.
We all like people that take the big risks.
America was built on taking risks. Think of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence. This may be a blow to your ego, but really successful folk are usually more courageous and exploratory. It is often said that a person who takes the big risk is the person who succeeds. Therefore, it only seems appropriate that when someone has great fame, they likely have taken significant risks at some point in their life or career. This doesn’t mean that “regular” folk don’t take a risk now and again because we certainly do, but I’m sure the majority of us can grudgingly agree that the really successful explore much more than we ever have. It’s exciting to see a person take the “road less traveled.” We all love it!
We admire people that put themselves out there.
How would you like to be exposed to an audience of 1,200? I bet you big bucks that 97 percent of us reading this would not even think of getting in front of a group of any size; we hate just the thought of it. (If you are one of the 3 percent who likes the thought, I earnestly applaud you.) People usually like to be safe, and they feel safer knowing that there is something separating them from the stare of an audience; they like to know that something is protecting them from criticism. We admire celebrities because they do just the opposite. Instead of building walls, they build bridges and observatories from which people are free to peer through an open scope and get a different picture of life.
It is often said that a
person who takes
the big risk
is the person who succeeds.
We lean towards people that display self-confidence.
Considering that celebrities are mostly okay with revealing themselves, it’s apparent that they are mostly confident people. Eight times out of ten, they are at ease on a stage, on a sports field, in an interview, in a photo shoot, or on a movie set. We are such an insecure species that it is only natural for us to appreciate people who are otherwise self-assured.
We like “pretty” people.
Yes, yes, I know, that’s very superficial and not necessarily an important measure of a person’s core values, but it does indeed hold some validity. A person’s appeal is the first thing that we notice, and —in spite of what we might say or hope—it does play a part into how we react to them. Celebrities aren’t any different, and more often than not, agents that are hiring will notice the first because they have some sort of physical or emotional appeal that will garner more attention. Even if a star is not pretty, or handsome in the “orthodox” sense, they will certainly have qualities that are still fascinating. We are a society that is built on ideas of attractiveness, and celebrities are the models of those ideals.
We admire talent.
I don’t care how many arguments come up about how brilliant one celebrity is over another, they are all talented in one way or another. They have to be, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the limelight. No, the Kardashians aren’t musicians or football players, and yes, their rise to fame was not exactly a typical one, but something can be said about their exceptional business skills and stature in the fashion world. There are so many people that are not getting recognized for their talents in the general public, but at the core of the matter is that these celebrities were discovered for a reason, and the reason had to do with the fact that something special separated them from the rest of us.
We are a society that is
built on ideas of
celebrities are the
models of those ideals.
We LOVE drama.
On today’s social media, a celebrity feuds are more talked about than the Russians taking back Crimea. Stories about “he said that ugly thing to her and she said this back” have become so sensationalized that they are made into Internet memes or they’re parodied on SNL, or even assimilated into our daily vernacular. How many of us know exactly what is being referred to when the phrase “Miley, what’s good?” is added into conversation? Considering all the stuff that has surfaced on the Internet, probably a lot. Salacious stories peak interest and celebrities are fabulous subjects to talk about; the media doesn’t give them a moments rest either.
We all want to belong to special clubs.
A celebrity’s fan base is the zenith of what it means to be devoted to a “club.” Sports enthusiasts that will buy their team’s merchandise and watch hours of sports-related content in order to be up-to-date with their team, the people that will watch a movie only because their favorite actor is in it, knowing it got poor ratings, the fans that create social media accounts solely based upon their favorite artists, and the readers who will purchase every single book that their favorite author has ever written regardless of quality, just to have the full collection. It’s the word “their” that is crucial; so many of us ache to belong to something. No matter how little we personally know of or about a celebrity or a team or a band, the things of which we call ourselves a fan are extremely important.
We like the fact that they are normal people in the end.
You might say that this contradicts the earlier paragraphs; however, the statement is a true one as well. Indeed, most celebrities are hyped to the point of being “super” humans, but they are also admired by many for their humanity…yes, their vulnerabilities. When something happens to a celebrity that we have also experienced, we feel a renewed connection with them that makes us feel more attracted to them. It is just human nature. We are reminded that they are not entirely different from us, and we are able to find the similarities that prove them to be worth looking up to, or at least at. After all, if celebrities can endure the self-same struggles that we experience and can get to that special place of recognition in our world, we see that we can achieve success as well.
In the end, they become the models that we emulate, because they share commonalities that make them just as human as the general public. And if they can make it being like us, maybe we can make if we try to be a little more like them, at least in the most positive of ways.
SEE A LIFE COACH IN BATON ROUGE
Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.