Has Celeb Fandom Gone Too Far?
Thanks to social media, it’s easy to follow your favorite star’s every move. But can this sort of fixation warp your reality?
YES: Teens should concentrate on their own talents.
Sure, some celebrities do amazing things that are worth admiring—but even then, obsessing over their lives is just plain unhealthy. In the process of learning every possible detail about a person or group, attempting to get them to notice you on social media, and trading insults with competing fandoms, it becomes way too easy to lose sight of who you are.
The real problem with focusing all of our attention on celebrities is that we neglect to do things for ourselves. Instead of drooling over your favorite singer, athlete, or movie star, why not get out there and create your own music or make yourself better at sports or acting?
Now, this doesn’t mean that we can’t be fans of celebrities or follow them on Instagram, but we have to keep some perspective. Dedicating our precious time to someone we don’t even know can cause us to lose ourselves in their flashy lives—and either miss out on, or feel unfulfilled by, our own real-world experiences.
—Reggie Fils-Aime, a sixth-grade student in North Carolina
No: Being a fan is a part of many teens' identities.
It really annoys me when people say that fans are crazy and have no life. In my opinion, what’s really “crazy” is shaming people for their interests! Celebrity fandom is a positive hobby that—just like any other hobby or interest—helps teenagers break out of their shells, make friends, and find themselves as people.
I should know: Being a devoted fan formed me into the person I am today. I created an Instagram fan account for YouTube star Bethany Mota, and through it, I met tons of other people who appreciate Bethany’s work. We bonded over her videos and texted one another every day, which made me feel like I belonged. These are now important friendships for me, ones that I continue to turn to for support.
It’s important to let your true self shine, so if being a fan is a meaningful part of your identity, embrace it! If you let it, fandom can allow you to express yourself and trade inspiration within a community of like-minded people.
—Sophia Wang, a high school freshman in New York
3 Fast Facts
1. One third of people possess some degree of celebrity worship syndrome, an obsessive-compulsive disorder in which an individual becomes wrapped up in the details of a famous person’s life.
2. While some studies suggest that celebrity worship is linked with body-image concerns and depression, others have found it to boost self-esteem.
3. Our culture’s concept of celebrity has shifted. A 2014 survey of U.S. teenagers revealed that YouTube stars are considered more influential than mainstream celebs, like actors and rock stars.
Sources: 1. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 2003; 2. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 2014; Personal Relationships, 2008; 3. Variety, 2014.
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