A Culture of Celebrity Obsession


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Have you ever found yourself obsessing over a beloved celebrity? Had a celebrity crush? Found yourself obsessing over the latest scandals faced by a shunned starlet? Been quick to drop six dollars on a tabloid of questionable reputation? Apparently you are far from being alone.

Americans and residents of other nations have traditionally been obsessed with the lives of the rich and the famous. According to an ABC article, after studies were conducted by the University of Pennsylvania on 600 people, it was found that 1/3 of people have a condition dubbed "celebrity worship syndrome" to some degree. Most psychiatrists agree that the condition is caused by a need to escape from reality. With all the struggles faced by the world as we enter the new millennium, keeping up with the "fabulous" lives of celebrities provides an opportunity to escape personal hardships for a while. Fantasizing for a brief stint of time allows people to simply hide from their troubles by focusing on the life of someone else.

Although in most cases this "celebrity worship syndrome" is just a minor part of a person's life, in some cases this obsession can become quite unhealthy and even dangerous. The researchers at the University of Pennsylvania split celebrity obsession into three categories.  The weakest level, entertainment social, is just a basic interest in the celebrity in question; the person simply enjoys keeping up with what is currently going on in the celebrity's life. In the next level, intense personal, the obsessed feels that they have a personal connection to the celebrity; they may feel strong emotions such as love or hate toward the celebrity. Celebrity obsession can escalate to the third level, borderline pathological, when the obsessed feels the need to act on the emotions they feel toward a celebrity. They become the stalker that many celebrities have encountered and fear.

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The tabloid industry has met huge success in exploiting this human obsession with the rich and famous. Instead of merely dealing with our problems, we choose to fantasize who are unlikely to matter in the future. Rather than stressing about personal issues, many have found it easier to worry about what Snooki is up to.

What kind of society have we become? How did we get this way? What part of the human mind allows this obsession? Is there a way to prevent becoming "obsessed"?

            As disgusted as I am with this topic, if anyone else can find additional information, please share!

2 Comments

This topic always grinds my gears. I agree celebrity obsessions such as Snooki are a bit ridiculous, but society has always loved to follow those in the spotlight. What bothers me about the whole subject, is why concentrate on these people? People who have millions of dollars and admirers, these are the people society is concerned with? What we should be concerned with are the people sleeping on the streets and waking up starving everyday. That's a REAL problem. No magazines are concerned with these worldly issues though, because they simply don't "turn heads". It's sad that a magazine cover with Kim Kardashian in a bikini will draw more attention than a cover with a starving child on it.

This blog is very intriguing to me. It seems like every day and every where you look, celebraties are filling up the tv screens, newspapers, internet, and even our conversations. I too have wondered why we are obsessed with these people, some of which are not great examples of a good human being. Being obsessed with them or even stalking celebraties is a bit over the top, but being fascinated by their success is am entire different story. I think the reason society is always interested in the celebrity lifestyle is because we envy them too an extent. Sure, most people are happy with their lives, but maybe they wish they had some fame or some extra money to live happier. I do not think it is a problem, but we definitely should not obsess or drool over these people just because they have money. Also, I think the only way to prevent yourself from being "obsessed" is to just not follow any of the news surrounding them. It sounds easier than it actually is, but I think that is the only way. I too would like to know if there was a part in our brains that triggered us to care more about those who are more famous or "successful" than ourselves.

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