Mass media culture plays a huge role in our perception of celebrities and their daily lives. The era of social media has made it very easy for fans to follow every second of a celebrity’s life. However, the media and our own biases have made it so that a celebrity’s image can very easily be twisted. There are thousands of photo-editing apps that allow misinformation to spread, which can stir up unnecessary drama and negative press. It is very common for people to forget that celebrities are human too, and that forgetfulness can often harm the celebrity. People also tend to be highly critical of female celebrities, putting them under a microscope and attacking them from behind a 280-character limit online.
A very relevant example of this media-bashing is Britney Spears. People have been attacking her for years, very much contributing to her breakdown in 2007. With the legal case against her father and the new documentary about her personal life, many are calling for apologies to be made. The documentary also explained the reasons why Britney broke down – she was tired of constantly being scrutinized and people always feeling as if they had the right to touch her. Her privacy was completely ignored, causing her to feel violated.
Another celebrity that deserves an apology is Taylor Swift. Ever since her career took off during the late-2000s, many have judged her for writing songs about heartbreak and her relationships. She was the center of jokes about how she was unable to keep a boyfriend for very long. A recent example of this can be seen in the new Netflix show Ginny and Georgia. In the show, a character’s love life is equated to that of Swift’s, with a noticeable negative connotation. It even the subject of an interview she did with Ellen DeGeneres in 2013. Taylor can be seen becoming visibly uncomfortable as Ellen presses her about the men she’s dated. She was also shamed for the drama with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West that she became involved in. The internet acted so harshly towards her that it caused Swift to practically go into hiding.
The media tends to hyperfocus on female celebrities and their bodies. Famous women are shamed for gaining or losing weight – it’s as if they can never win. They’re criticized for how their bodies look after giving birth, something that is very taxing and draining on the female body. Celebrity women are shamed for their appearances and whether or not they’re considered “attractive”. This can be seen in how Megan Fox has been hyper-sexualized her entire career, or how the media always held Michelle Obama to a higher and unfair standard when she was First Lady. Honestly, it should not matter at all how a woman looks as long as she is happy with it. Lots of women, famous or not, struggle with their self-image and confidence. Horrific comments can be damaging to how a woman views herself.
It’s 2021 – it’s time we stop comparing famous women and pitting them against each other. Yes, it’s important to call out celebrities when they mess up, but it is unnecessary to constantly comment on their appearances and personal lives.
Documentaries to Check Out:
Miss Americana – Netflix
Framing Britney Spears – Hulu
Junior Olivia Post is a co-editor for the 2020-2021 Colonel. She is a member of the music program and the track team. In her free time, Olivia can be found reading or obsessively aligning photos on yearbook spreads.