The Rise Of Celebrity Culture: Why Everyone Wants A Piece Of Fame

by Lauren Santye

The recent music video release of Justin Bieber's new single, “What Do You Mean?” has been met with an uproar from angry Beliebers.


Because their beloved popstar is seen rolling around in bed with a woman, getting his abs licked before he is kidnapped by men in masks. The woman under fire is model Xenia Deli, who has been receiving death threats from enraged fans ever since the video was released.

Unfortunately, cyberbullying is nothing new.

This is not the first time passionate fans have threatened females involved with Bieber. Back in 2011, when the rumors about Bieber and Selena Gomez being romantically involved turned out to be true, many of his fans took to Twitter to send her threatening messages.

The rise in popularity of social media has given fans the opportunity to try and connect with their idols and crushes in an unprecedented way. This has inevitably led to some egregious behavior.

Passionate fans become hysterical over menial things that happen in celebrities' lives.

When you take a step back and look at celebrity culture, you start to wonder: Why are people so obsessed and invested in them?

I personally think that we view their glamorous lifestyles as unattainable, and with that, they too, are unreachable.

So people will try everything they can to get to them. They either fawn over them or tear them down, by any means necessary.

If you have ever taken a look at the comments left for celebrities on social media, you might have noticed that some of the comments are a bit outlandish.

You will find everything from spam, death threats, trolling and the occasional, “Hey, my wife and I are in San Diego visiting, would love to get dinner with you and your wife!”

I don’t think it’s too presumptuous or unfair to say that this type of behavior is kind of strange.

It’s pretty common for people to think that they can behave in any manner they please, and say what they want to say because these are celebrities. Many will say that these celebrities knew what they were signing up for, and that it’s all part of the deal.

Sure, this statement is true to a degree, but there are people who act in ways that absolutely cross the line.

We’ve heard stories about fans breaking and entering into different celebrities’ homes. We've heard about the constant baiting and goading from people and paparazzi, who spew hateful speech in an attempt to get a reaction from them.

In some cases, they will reach out, fondle, attack and do whatever they can just to get to touch a famous person.

Kurt Cobain is a perfect example of fans getting out of control. They put him on a pedestal, crowning him “Saint Kurt” and the “voice of an entire generation,” a title he loathed.

In an on-camera interview with MTV News in 1993, he reminisced about the good old days of crowd-surfing at a concert, how he could jump into an audience and be carried all the way to the back, rolling around. It was like a “celebration.”

In time, his fame changed that, and what was once fun and pure became dangerous.

The interviewer asked him what had recently happened when he tried to crowd surf at their latest show.

“They immediately started grabbing for me, trying to rip my flesh off for souvenirs. Oh, I have a piece of Kurt’s forearm; frame it!” Cobain said. “These kids. Some of ‘em just don’t understand that, they’re not used to that. All they know how to do is tear people apart.”

Perhaps this is a dramatic way of putting it, but he isn’t wrong. People push boundaries with celebrities that they wouldn’t dare do to a different stranger, or even someone they know.

We live in a culture that loves to build celebrities up. We evaluate their lives under microscopes to eventually tear them down.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with liking celebrities and looking up to them. I recently binge-watched the entire series of "Parks and Recreation," and then proceeded to read Amy Poehler’s book, “Yes Please.”

Through that, I have gained an interest in her accomplishments, and what she stands for as a person. I like that she doesn't sugarcoat anything, and she is inexcusably herself. I like how, she too, has struggled with insecurity and doubt. And I like that she is scrappy and works for what she has accomplished.

So, does this mean that I’m going to invite her to lunch through social media, break into her house or threaten and belittle anyone who talks badly about her? Of course not.

That would be insane, and that is the line that some people seem to feel is okay to cross. What was once a form of flattery has now become an obsession, turning people into some weird versions of themselves.

Our obsession with celebrities can be fun and meaningless, but sometimes, it fuels a lifestyle that leaves you spiraling.

When celebrity obsessions have people behaving in a crazy manner, things need to be changed. We should stop trying to mimic everything they do, wear and say.

Instead, we should concentrate on building our own lives.