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Celebrity Gossip and Celebrity Photos - Why the Obsession?

Updated on July 25, 2016


Celebrity gossip magazines are the most saturated subject matter at any newsstand; they are also the best selling. Crammed full of celebrity photos and celebrity gossip, even those who profess to despise these tabloid publications, can't deny sneaking a peak at the celebrity headlines and reading what "Jen", "Brad" or "Ang" are up to, whilst waiting in a queue, or at a doctors surgery. But when did this celebrity obsession start?

15 minutes of fame

Most noticeably perhaps during the 60s, with Beatlemania, Andy Warhol's Pop Art Marilyn series, and his now immortal words "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes", but ever since silent movie stars canoodled on screen, commentators have warned they were leading young people into moral danger.

It's obvious that celebrity watching is a long-standing human fascination, but today's audience is sometimes more nasty than previous generations of fans. The biggest shift over the years seems to be in how we regard the celebrities themselves. In the 1930s through to the 1980s we were celebrity obsessed with how perfect a movie star looked, but since the 90s we seem more interested in the flaws and troubles a celebrity now faces. Whether it's emotional problems, like the break up of a celebrity marriage, or aesthetically, with celebrities going under the knife or having a fashion disaster.

There is little debate as to whether Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn were celebrities of their time, but what is more intriguing is to how they became Celebrity Icons. Perhaps in all of these instances, and more recently in the case of Michael Jackson, this has something to do with their deaths. Perhaps only when they pass away can they achieve this superstardom level of notoriety?

Celebrity obsession - when fans become fanatical

Psychologists have indicated that though many people obsess over glamorous film, television, sport and pop stars, others have unlikely icons such as politicians or authors. The only common factor between them is that they are all figures in the public eye.

Celebrity worship syndrome (CWS) is an obsessive-addictive disorder in which a person becomes overly involved with the details of a celebrity's personal life. This is clearly a serious disorder and one that seems to be troubling more and more people, especially the young. A recent survey of teachers in the UK found an unhealthy obsession with celebrity culture is damaging the academic success of students, with celebrity couple the Beckhams the favorite inspiration.

On the flip side, which celebrity we dislike or like, fundamentally makes up who we are as human beings. It's why we chose to see one movie over another, support one team over another and we've been doing this for years, ever since we were children in fact. After all, most of us can admit to adorning our bedroom walls with posters of our first celebrity crush or favourite music or sports star, can't we?


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