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OPINION: Humanize, don’t idolize celebrities

When it comes to music, I’m a Gen Z cliché. I’ll prove it to you: my two most listened to artists are Harry Styles and Taylor Swift. Of course, as a fan and observer, I know that some of her fans are embracing obsession and forsaking the healthier territory of love and appreciation.

I’m obsessed with “folklore”. I’ll say casually that I’m obsessed with styles. But I ask myself the important questions: Are artists’ behavior and actions excusable because of their fame? Does what they mean to us personally mean they can’t go wrong?

I’m concerned about this generation’s unwavering devotion to celebrity. We actively elevate celebrities to the point where there are no limits. Idolization is permission to exist without consequences — and it’s a dangerous phenomenon to embrace.

The problem I see is that many of us see celebrities as untouchable. Artists are ordinary people who have been given a platform. Despite their overwhelming power over their audience, they are still human. They can make serious mistakes, mislead others, and be guilty of the same things as normal people. Their flaws are just conveniently masked by the privileges they have that we don’t have. So why should we excuse their mistakes?

Another sensation I’m well aware of is that fans have the potential to become dependent on celebrities – dependent on a constant stream of updates, their whereabouts and well-being – to the point where their own is inseparable associated with her is Idole’. worship becomes so instinctive that self-sufficiency is sometimes compromised. We lose our sense of identity by imitating the life of a stranger.

I can confidently say that celebrity worship is not healthy because we admire a fictionalized version of our idols. Putting someone on a pedestal is worshiping someone who is supposedly perfect. We should just love someone who is imperfect.

Some of Swift’s fans have noted that the pop star used her documentary Miss Americana to shed light on relevant issues, but then after the Roe v. Wade remained silent earlier this year. For me, this is what promoting an artist should look like: the friendly coexistence of productive criticism and appreciation.

A Reddit user shared their hot take that Swift should have signed up for Planned Parenthood’s “Bans Off Our Bodies” campaign, and received nearly 2,000 upvotes. At the end of their short statement, they wrote: “I don’t come from a hateful POV [point-of-view] because I still love Taylor and her work.” I personally want to see more of this: supporters loving their idols by seeing them as real people.

This can also happen to Harry Styles, whose words about gay sex in his upcoming film My Policeman sparked debate among his fan base. When he talks about what he loves about the film, Styles said“So much of the gay sex in the movie is about two guys and it kind of takes away from him the tenderness,” noting that “My Cop” depicts the “more sensitive” sex between two men.

one article approached Styles’ comment with skepticism: “It was the suggestion that cinema suffers from an abundance of ‘two guys to take it on’ that provoked the most backlash, which is understandable – the claim doesn’t stand up to scrutiny at all…me I’ve seen a lot of queer movies in the last decade and with a few exceptions I wouldn’t say that explicit sex predominates.”

Both Swift and Styles are proving to be flawed in the eyes of their fans, in their inaction and in their words. Love your favorite artists, but try not to love them unconditionally. They are capable of making mistakes and they should be held accountable. It’s just very powerful when those who blame celebrities are their fans. Appreciating idols means giving them the space to be misled while guiding them to better themselves.

Shay Suresh CM ’24 hails from San Jose, California. She loves literary fiction, indie music and browsing Pinterest.

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