The double standards between celebrities and civilians

Priya Viswanathan, Opinions Editor

“Jennifer Aniston’s necklace sends a clear message amid Brangelina divorce.”

This headline graced the cover of AOL on Sept. 26. During a time when racial inequality, terrorism and numerous other tragedies are becoming increasingly prevalent, it is a sign of society’s fatal flaw that celebrities’ jewelry and divorces are considered “news.”

Though celebrities willingly put their lives in the public eye, the ethics behind the media’s coverage of their personal lives are questionable.

“If [celebrities] are doing something that’s personal to themselves that they don’t want other people to know, then it’s their business only,” freshman Noel Kahn said.

However, paparazzi and reporters follow celebrities all day trying to get a good story with no regard to their privacy rights. Paparazzi have been known to “attack” celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez by pushing them to get better pictures or statements. Despite these extreme methods, much of what the entertainment media reports cannot be taken seriously, especially reporting done by tabloid publications.

“Most of the paparazzi and reporters are just trying to make money like everyone else, so they just say what will get them stories,” sophomore Kylie Downing said.

Though the fact that media coverage is not always trustworthy seems obvious, consumers have gotten used to seeing articles about the personal lives of their icons on numerous social media platforms and consider these sources to be reliable news outlets. Even more troubling, some rely solely on these questionable sources for news.

“[The paparazzi] have pictures and it’s just [the media] interpreting the pictures,” senior Noelle Riddle said.

In addition to believing this so-called “news,” society takes what is reported and uses it to cruelly judge those in the spotlight for doing things that most civilians do on a daily basis, such as going to fast food restaurants or going on dates.

For example, model Chrissy Teigen was attacked by fans and media sources on social media after she was spotted going out to dinner with husband John Legend a week after her daughter was born. Without any background information, Teigen was accused of child neglect and being a bad mother. Though many mothers leave their babies with babysitters after their birth, Teigen’s celebrity status led to the hate that she received.

“This is the biggest form of bullying ever: the paparazzi,” actress Mila Kunis said in an interview with “Glamour” magazine. “Printing lies, making accusations. It’s just bullying.”

Though many recognize that the double standards between celebrities and non-famous people are wrong, most have resigned themselves to it and accept it as part of society.

“I think it’s kind of hypocritical but that’s just how society is,” Riddle said. “We all want to idolize one person and judge everything they do, but it’s not fair.”

It is time for the media to recognize true news and report on what truly matters. Society must stop judging celebrities’ every action and instead focus on the betterment of the world and not whom a certain celebrity is dating.

“[Celebrities] are just like everyone else,” Downing said. “They are made into the center of attention, but they are just trying to live their lives and [the media] is making money off of it. That’s not okay.”