Everyday we find ourselves flipping through our favourite glossy magazine, staring at the celebrities, dreaming of another life, their life. All we ever see is their flawless skin, effortless looks and their picture-perfect family. They make us feel jealous, upset and self-conscious. But as soon as they hit the headline for the wrong reason, they make us feel happy, lucky even. This makes us realise that they are not perfect. But why do these people have so much influence on society? And why do we let them?
On the February the 14th, 2005, our lives were changed. YouTube. Currently, the world watches over 1,000,000 hours of YouTube per day. According to the Daily Mail, a recent poll shows us that 75% of young children are growing up aspiring to be YouTuber, to sit by a screen, completing dangerous dares or challenges to gain likes and subscribers. One YouTuber who calls himself Pewdiepie has over 85,000,000 subscribers. That’s more than the population of Germany. The fact that one man alone has influence over that many people is terrifying. He earns over $12,000,000 a year which is a large salary for a 29 year old man who is immature, offensive and a bad influence. In 2014, Pewdiepie hired 2 men to hold up a sign reading “Death to all Jews”. Do we want our young people to have role models like him? Do we want our young people to repeat racist and derogatory slurs? Do we want our young people to dream of this life?
Furthermore, celebrities can also use their power and put it to good use. Around 800,000 people die of suicide each year. Countless celebrities openly speak about their mental health issues. But does this have a positive or negative impact? The singer Demi Lovato often speaks about her eating disorder through her songs and interviews. Whether its depression, anxiety or anything else, celebrities often remove the stigma attached to mental health. Sadly, nearly 20% of all teenagers suffer from anxiety, the most common mental health illness. The singer Adele recently had to stop performing live due to her severe anxiety. She regularly talks about it and gives tips about how to deal and overcome anxiety. 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health problem. But if celebrities are helping, why are these figures still rising? Are they actually making a difference? Or, are celebrities just making it worse?
Another programme becoming more popular with teenagers in the UK is Love Island, where you go to find romance in the sun. The reality tv-show hit 4,000,000 views every episode for it’s 2018 series. Millions of teenagers crowded round their screens to watch a group of men and women rotate their love with each other, settling with their favourite. Fights. Drama. Gossip. Not values 13 year old girls should be following. The teenagers don’t see the immaturity and childishness of the show, only the popularity surrounding it. Soon the viewers were buying Love Island water bottles, purses and t-shirts. Britain seemed to be brainwashed. Kids were picking up that the more successful people in the show were the ones who caused the most fights, kissed more men, and gossiped about the other participants. Soon, they were mimicking this in the school environment. 4,000,000 people were sucked into this false reality. If millions were entertained by this, what does that say about the values we hold in our culture?
In addition, with 127 million Instagram followers, Kim Kardashian has a huge influence on our culture. A model, actor, fashion designer and mother of 3 – she certainly has a lot on her hands. She posts many times a week of her perfect body and how she achieves it. With followers as young as 10 years old, her posts aren’t exactly PG. Young girls especially feel the only way they can be accepted is to gain that perfect figure and amount of followers. But how can they do that without putting themselves in danger? The answer is, they can’t.
Throughout researching this essay, I’ve learnt many things. I’ve learnt that celebrities have a huge influence on society. I’ve learnt that they had to sacrifice their own health to achieve this lifestyle. And I’ve learnt that there will always be celebrities, as long as we keep giving them love.