Celeb Obsessed: Should we give them the time of day?

Shary Ali, Staff Writer

“How have you not–”  

You don’t know how many times I’ve heard questions beginning with that tagline. I’m sorry, but I don’t waste my time “Keeping up with the Kardashians” or scrolling through Instagram viewing the pastimes of different celebrities. It’s as if those who don’t stay updated with each and every celebrity are living under a rock— which of course, they aren’t; they just choose to utilize their time according to their own liking. Now I’m not arguing for teenagers to remain completely unaware of entertainment figures, but I am urging for us to care less. As a matter of fact, why do we even care at all?

“[I care] mostly because my friends do,” sophomore Ashley Zou said. “I want to keep up with the trends so I can have something to talk about with people and relate to them.”   

While lots of people follow celebrities to seem “hip” among their friends, many do so for a completely different reason altogether. 

“With all the stress we get in high school, we need something to escape from reality,” senior Shreya Thennanchar Rajaram said. “I think celebrity news helps pass the time.”

However, a downside is that she found celebrity news tended to waste her time. 

With the already packed schedules most teens shoulder every day, adding this extra activity may prove detrimental to their work ethic. Although the escape from reality point is a fair one, there are so many better extracurriculars to indulge in that are much more exciting and beneficial for one’s physical and mental health. For example, sports, writing articles (wink wink) and hanging with friends, just to name a few. 

Not only can celebrities waste our time, but they can also distort societal standards by creating unrealistic expectations. 

“[Celebrities] are above average in all their qualities, so I think that it’s kind of bad that people look up to them so much,” junior Benjamin French said. “They beat themselves up for not being as good.” 

Although many celebrities are famous while being great at relatively nothing, we can agree that the majority is comprised of skilled professionals who have earned the rank as some of the best in their craft. In this regard, there are two sides of the coin we can observe. We can contend that celebrity figures encourage prosperity among youth by promoting big dreams and goals, or we can assert that the unconscious comparisons that we draw between ourselves and celebrities are simply unrealistic and can in fact harm our self-esteem. 

With all the photo editing and sensationalized news that occurs worldwide, we may be comparing ourselves to celebrity figures that are actually unrealistic to achieve.

“Girls these days are judging themselves based off of what they see on the front cover of magazines,” Thennanchar Rajaram said. “I am not a fan of that because everything’s being photoshopped, and it’s hard to distinguish reality from artificiality.”

According to Penn State University, $20 billion is spent on beauty advertisements in the U.S. annually. And the result? Around 40% of high school girls and 16% of high school boys suffer from eating disorders. But people are spending money on beauty products and clothes advertised in magazines and on TV, so I guess that’s all the companies care about. 

At the end of the day, I know there are no words I can write to convince teenagers to completely abstain from following celebrities, nor do I want to. Many celebrities are great role models and inspire youth to enact change. However, the takeaway message is this: you are not them, so don’t spend the majority of your life trying to imitate them. 

“At the end of the day, they’re them and I’m me,” Zou said. “There’s a boundary between us and celebrities.”