"We live in a celebrity culture and young people are often encouraged to model themselves on figures from the world of sport or entertainment."— Pope Benedict XVI
Celebrity Culture has been in existence since a long time ago. Idolizing entertainers, persons from political arena, sports world and many more. The power of the celebrities especially in entertainment are so profound in recent years. Fame and fortune is not the only thing that attracts the society in the whole and youth specifically but the style and fashion trends.
At times they get too obsessed by their idol that they are willing to spend time and money to be exactly like their love.
Even though I am in my middle age, I am still influenced by celebrities. I want to grow old gracefully. I want to look good and be elegant. I believe all of us want to grow old like Demi Moore, Julia Roberts or Michelle Pfeiffer.
Before Modern Period
Long before the outbreak of multimedia technology, children and youth were only idolizing their parents. As they grow older they get exposed to other figures and start looking up to them as their inspiration.
Earlier their interaction was limited to a small circle, like parents, relatives, school (friends parents), some hero's of their township. If at all they follow any idol out of their circle would be the ones who have achieved a milestone and their success story is a 'know all' to everyone. Like Albert Einstein, Florence Nightingale or other persons they study in school.
Then there are other notable personalities that are reported in the tabloids like sports personalities, politicians and entrepreneurs.
For some even the religious figures like Mother Teresa are their role model.
Here the generations follows the steps of their older generations. Its a culture on its own and was like a devotion. We can see chain of doctors, lawyers or military man in the family tree.
Generation after generation, they are inspired by their elders with stories and commitment in doing some activities. Children not only follow the career path of their parents or grandparents, they follow their style, activities and behavior too. Hope that their dream is same as their parents and they are not pretending to satisfy their 'family traditions'
Emulating someones character, style or behavior is what we call role model. The person we aspire to be like or to look like. Some role models earn their status by dispensing some traits that we can look up to. The success of an individual also makes people want to be like them.
In most situation, role models motivate us to move towards the path of success.They work hard to develop skills to achieve their potentiality. Basically young kids and youth choose role models based on their ability to inspire them.
Light and Dark
In the current era, are our young hearts looking at the right direction or right persons as their role model. Are they able to distinguish and identify the 'right' and 'wrong' success stories.
With the development of 'mass media', we are exposed to unlimited figures specializing in various activity. But the most influencing are celebrities, consisting of artist (actors, musician, singers) and sports personal (soccer, football, athletes).
Sensationalism is a type of editorial bias in mass media in which events and topics in news stories and pieces are over-hyped to increase viewership or readership numbers— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensationalism
And yet again, the most influencing of them all are the artists, as the screens bombard with array of sensational image from the world of artist. This glamor life of the artist can captivate and magnetize everyone, youth or not to choose an idol for themselves.
They tend to follow everything this celebrities do without being able to judge between good and bad behaviors. Some of this celebrities do portray inappropriate behavior. Youth start to create their own meanings out of the images and messages they receive.
“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”— George Bernard Shaw
In the process of individuality or personality identification, the young individuals start searching and identify individuals that attract them. Their lifestyle and display of profession captivates them. Next to parents, family and friends .. we are exposed to media more then anything else.
They start to have psychological attachment towards characters that attract them. Mass media as the significant force to influence people. Media started to explore more and more into the private lives of celebrities in order to increase their ratings.
IN an article by title Confessional Culture and The Media, the writer said 'In a culture preoccupied with personality, celebrity became a measure of success. Instead of admiration for accomplishments, celebrities were admired for their fame and recognition. Fame was equated with success, and something to aspire to.' (http://confessionalcultureexposed.weebly.com/the-celebrity.html )
Young people liked and wanted the lifestyle the celebrities were leading, they started to explore ways to be like them.
For some, who had problems facing their own fear, when they start identifying their different from natural behavior especially sexual orientation, they started to idolize celebrities who have similar desires and yet find success in life. Another is to have perfect body like their favorite celebrity, the young people may go to an extend of extreme diet to achieve this.
Celebrity Influence in Youth Culture
The Power of Celebrity Culture
There are positive and negative influence by the celebrities. Celebrities life is not paradise all the time. They do face good time and bad times, They do face personal, marriage or depression problems.
We can not allow ourselves to be taken over by the life of our idols. We have to be able to judge right from wrong and direct our own life according to our status in the community as well as our economical background.
Parents and school have to participate in helping our youth during the developing of 'identity' or 'individuality' stage. Communication plays a very big role in this.
Remember : Power of Celebrity Culture can not be underestimated
- Pope warns children over celebrity culture - Telegraph
Fame and fortune do not bring happiness, the Pope told thousands of schoolchildren in a warning about Britain’s celebrity culture.