Why are we so intrigued by celebrities?

Lillian Dolph

Pedestrian TV
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People wake up every morning to check up on the latest celebrity gossip through various news sources and social media, wanting to stay updated on their comings and goings almost as if they were friends. Celebrities are brought up in all aspects of our “normal lives” while they live on in a world that we only dreamed about as children. 

According to Attn, celebrities and status hierarchies have been around since the beginning of hunter gatherer societies. 

“There’s a few different reasons for that,” evolutionary psychologist Daniel Kruger said. “One is just learning what high-status individuals do so you might more effectively become one, and two, it’s basically political. Knowing what is going on with high-status individuals, you’d be better able to navigate the social scene.”

Why do you think celebrities release articles/videos talking about their tips and tricks? Because people will devour the information! Following a celebrity’s exact daily routine allows people to experience their life, and learn how to live life like their favorite celebrities. 

Through social media especially, we see many aspects of celebrity lives every day. It feels personal to us everytime we see them on Instagram or Snapchat, similar to checking in with a friend. This familiarity makes us think that we truly know the celebrity, and so we worship them to get closer to the celebrity and the life they live. 

“People look up to celebrities and their kind of like people’s idols,” said senior Maddy Massari. “And then I think it’s also just a way to kind of fantasize a different life with money, fame and followers.”

There is also the concept of parasocial relationships. When this occurs, a fan is following a celebrity while the celebrity has no idea who the fan is. 

In an article by Attn Frank McAndrew, a social psychologist, said “the familiarity that one develops with the celebrity fosters a feeling of friendship (or even kinship!), which triggers all of the same emotional mechanisms that one would experience with real friends and relatives.”

When people scroll through their instagram feed and see Kylie Jenner’s baby announcement, they automatically feel happy for her and run to the comments to congratulate her. At least that was the case for 304,911 people. Since it is a parasocial relationship, there is a high probability that Kylie will never see the comment, yet people still feel the need because they are experiencing the same emotional mechanisms as they would with a close friend. 

During Kylie’s last pregnancy with her daughter Stormi, Kylie kept the pregnancy a secret until she gave birth. Now however, she has let us in on her secret, making us feel special when in reality she has no idea who we are. 

Celebrity culture can also have a negative impact on people, and teens especially. 

“I feel like celebrities have a big part to do with social media. And in today’s culture, they have a lot of influence on teenagers especially,” said senior Hannah Privatsky. “Social media just kind of surrounds their life. Personally, I think a little bit too much, but I think people can easily get wrapped up in their drama and their life, making them very relevant, especially on social media.”

A lot of comparison happens when someone sees their idol doing or getting something they have dreamed about their whole life. If someone just broke up with their boyfriend or girlfriend then sees Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott’s happy family, their minds automatically compare their life to the ones of celebrities. 

For Massari, there is a lot of jealousy surrounding celebrity culture. 

“If a celebrity gets with a different celebrity that let’s say I have a crush on, like Zendaya/Tom Holland, I feel great jealousy,” Maddy said. 

Because Massari is jealous that Zendaya gets to date Tom Holland, it has a negative impact on her emotions, but she still chooses to read all the latest news on their relationship. 

Celebrities play a large role in people’s lives. Conversations revolve around them, trends are started because of them, and everyone just wants to be them.