Should we care about celebrities?

For by Molly Patrick

This week in the news, a deadly earthquake struck Taiwan, two children were shot dead in Rio De Janeiro and Tesco was the latest company to be found to pay women employees less than their male counterparts. We are constantly bombarded with depressing, hateful and divisive stories.

When the news of Kylie Jenner giving birth hit the headlines this week, I felt relieved.
The reality star shared the news of her newborn daughter on Instagram with her 103 million followers. Kylie had kept her pregnancy a secret until Monday when she announced she’d given birth on February 1st. The picture quickly became one of Instagram’s most popular posts ever, being liked over 12 million times in the first few hours.

Personally, I do not identify with the Kardashian/Jenner ‘brand’ and the seemingly superficial notion of celebrities who are famous for being famous. I do also think that our generation has to be aware of the dangers of over-indulgence in celebrity culture and its corrosive effect on self-image.

It is tempting to think that Kylie’s decision to broadcast the news on Instagram was simply another publicity stunt, thought up by the Kardashian’s (extremely effectual) PR team. However, it is plausible that Kylie has a sincere incentive to protect her daughter from the aggressive eyes of the media. Disregarding her motivations, it is simply a story of a woman giving birth. What is not beautiful about that?

In my experience, interest in celebrity and popular culture provides a means to connect with others. Many of my school friendships started over a shared love for Girls Aloud. This involved religiously following their personal lives in girly magazines, making collages in scrapbooks of our favourite outfits and giggling about scandals. Engagement in celebrity culture gives people a common subject to discuss and strong friendships are often built on these shared interests.
Through engagement with celebrities lives, we enjoy a moment of escapism from our own lives. As students, we are faced with rising mental health issues, mounting debts and a highly competitive job marketplace. The possibility of engaging with another reality is becoming more and more appealing and celebrity culture provides this opportunity.

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