Our Obsession with Fame
Are you enamored by fame? Do you put famous people on a pedestal above yourself? Do you, yourself, want to be famous and, if so, do you even know why?
Walking around Toronto during TIFF I have noticed many people clamoring for a glimpse of celebrities and it got me thinking, what is it about celebrity culture that makes so many people lose their senses?
With the advent of social media, famous for no reason has unfortunately become a normal goal to have. But perhaps it would serve us all better if our intentions were less about notoriety and more about genuine contribution? We need to realize that fame in and of itself is not enough of a goal, and certainly not an accurate measure of self-worth or value. Believe it or not, famous people are still people too, with their own issues and challenges that fame alone cannot rectify. So to idolize those in the spotlight is not really all that practical after all.
Recognizing and respecting someone's talent, accomplishments, and body of work is great, but going nuts over the sight of a celebrity, or wishing you were them, undermines your own perception of your personal value. So what is it? What is it that makes people go so gaga over those with fame and fortune? There must be an illusion of value we place on celebrity that causes such a reaction, but is this type of adoration really justified?
By perpetuating this false idol type of worship we are also perpetuating a tabloid and gossip culture, which is actually quite harmful to society in the long run. Contrarily, a more grounded approach to fame would remedy all of that. If we humanize those whom we admire, and we recognize our own motives for wanting to be famous (or to be around fame), we can then create a more respectful and self-empowering environment in which celebrity becomes less important than the fulfillment of our true purpose.
We cannot get caught up in the illusion of what we think fame will provide. We see the cars, the clothes, the trips, the glorification, the special treatment, and the praise, and we think being famous is all picnics and roses, but this causes a distorted view of reality as it actually exists. Sure there are perks, but there is way more to the story. There is also a great deal of work, pressure, exhaustion, relentless expectations, lack of privacy, intrusion of personal space, ridiculous amounts of criticism, and even lack of freedom in some respects. And it all comes with the territory. However, many who idolize celebrities or the celebrity lifestyle don't see that side of it, or even want to.
It used to be a lot harder to get famous and we used to need to merit it in some way, either through skill, talent, or accomplishment. But these days, all we really need is a web cam and a sensationalized enough idea to garner our fifteen minutes. The goal used to be to succeed in our area of expertise and passion. The goal now often seems to be to get as many "fans" as we can. Could it be that we have misused this platform that we have been given through no credit of our own? Could it be that we have over-prioritized the value of fame in the first place? Being famous cannot be our only goal. And being famous will not solve all of our problems. Fame is but a magnifying glass that brings everything to the surface, whether it is flattering or not. In fact, all it does is magnify the person you already are; it does not make you any better or any worse.
As such, if our obsession with celebrity culture does not change it will ultimately cause a skewed perception of ourselves and the world around us, if it hasn't already. That, in turn, will perpetuate our insecurities, undermine our true worth, and cause us to do things that are disingenuous to our ultimate purpose for being here. Insecurity can never be satiated through fame alone; it's like a drug....the more you get, the more you need....unless, of course, you are grounded in the knowledge that your self-esteem comes from within.
So let us not be so consumed with celebrity culture and, instead, let's focus on the gifts we truly have to offer as ourselves. And let's focus on equality and setting equal standards for all, rather than measuring different people by a different stick. In the end, this will be good, not only for everyone looking into the fish bowl, but also for those inside of it.