Celebrity is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, mainly because we’re still trying to find the definition for it. Should we include contestants on Big Brother as celebrities? How about people in news articles?
Yet among the swirling hype of paparazzi, gossip columns and exposés, we have a more pressing question: Why are we so interested in the personal lives of other people, and what makes these people so much more important than others?
There seems to be a need for people to know everything about a celebrity’s life. We stick pictures of them up on our wall, follow their Twitter accounts, demand that they write their names on our arms, and take photos with them smiling unconvincingly. We seem to idolise them, and are inspired by what they do.
Being an actor, a singer or a sports player takes a lot of skill, I’m sure, but does it contribute that much to society? In some instances, these lifestyles are ones that shouldn’t be envied. I don’t much relish children growing up to be like Harry Stiles, or Lindsey Lohan. There has been an ongoing movement within the ‘celebrity world’, to suppress the amount of public inquisition into their lives. Recently, Beyoncé Knowles tried to have pictures of her performance at the Super Bowl removed from the Internet due to them being ‘unflattering’.
Instantly everyone was posting the pictures, as well as manipulating them into funny poses and writing silly captions for them. There is a name for this phenomenon: The Streisand effect, based on the failed attempts of Barbara Streisand to remove images of her property from the Internet in 2003. These instances force celebrities into the public’s attention but when it comes to newspapers looking for a story, however, the game changes.
Kate Middleton has been a victim of Paparazzi, especially of foreign cameramen, who don’t seem to share the same concerns for her privacy as the British press. The topless photos published of her in several magazines last year were apparently taken illegally, with the photographer in question having to go onto private land with a long distance scope to view it.
More recently, photos of her pregnant on holiday in Mustique have raised mild controversy, especially with the accidental usage of the image on ITV’s This Morning program. You can argue that, however immoral this is, it is not illegal. There are other instances where the legality is far more questionable…
Young children can hardly be regarded as celebrities, especially babies. There are very few circumstances where a preteen can be regarded as truly in the public eye, aside from competitions such as Britain’s got Talent. Yet, for some reason, the media still seems to believe they have a right to enquire as to celebrities’ children, constantly taking photos and posting about them
This actually breaks several rules of the media’s code of conduct, as well as, potentially, being illegal. As the Leveson inquiry has uncovered, there are a multitude of ways that media corporations have attempted to gain information about children. These include hacking people’s phones, enquiring at their schools and following celebrities around. This behaviour is incredibly concerning, for all intents and purposes, they are stalking kids.
If we’re idolising celebrities in our society, however morally questionable they are, should we be invading their privacy? The topic becomes murky when celebrities are put into the limelight for reasons other than their profession, the case of Oscar Pistorius being a tragic example: In this instance, the public probably does have the right to know that a celebrated man has been charged with murder.
However, we do not have the same right to know what kind of swimwear Jennifer Lopez’s baby children wear, or how big the Duchess of Cambridge’s baby bump looks in a bikini. And however amusing it is that a baby has been called ‘Hashtag’, we really didn’t have to know about it.
What do you think of the recent incidences of celebrities in the public eye? Comment below, find us on Twitter @labelonline or find us on our Facebook page.