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Is This the End of Celebrity Culture? Here’s What I Think

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Albany chapter.

This pandemic has without a doubt affected everyone in different ways. Some communities are more disproportionately affected than others, and these times only reinforce the amount of change needed in our society. From healthcare access, to racism, to food insecurity, to unemployment, there are a plethora of things people are struggling with that were only made worse because of COVID. However, since everything in modern day is circulated through social media, I can’t help but notice how much of a stark difference there is between the lives of celebrities and the lives of everyday folk during this global pandemic.

If you go through almost any celebrity’s Instagram or Twitter profile, you wouldn’t really see anything different than you would have pre-pandemic, and that itself is the problem. We are living in such a pivotal time because the government has proven that even with the suffering of its own people, they are in no rush to help us to the degree that we so desperately need. We assume that the rich and famous do everything in their power to make the world safe for their fans and customers again. Instead, we get simple half-hearted messages to “stay inside” and “wear a mask” paired with cliché images of themselves in their beautiful homes and mansions. Even that, though, isn’t the worst part for me. The worst thing is that right after they publish their obligatory “stay safe” social media post, they are sitting on their private planes with their closest friends and family, getting ready to experience the world as if there was never a pandemic in the first place. To put it simply, they have enough money and resources to bypass the rules and regulations the rest of us have to follow. They are still travelling and still partying because they can afford access to private COVID testing, as well as access to the top medical professionals in the world. 

There are, of course, the celebrities that actually do their part to raise awareness, and their efforts deserve to be recognized. But, the problem is that advocating for the regular folk is not normalized in celebrity culture. Even with fame, money, and all the power that comes with it, celebrities aren’t expected to help us; yet we’re still expected to place them on a pedestal – why? Pre-COVID, fantasizing over celebrities was a seemingly harmless means of escapism, but now it just puts a bad taste in my mouth. Why are we still expected to mentally, emotionally, and monetarily support people who show us that they don’t care about us every single day? This situation is quite literally life and death, and it just amazes me how so far removed some celebrities seem to be. My best example is when Ellen DeGeneres joked that quarantine felt like “being in jail” while living in a home that cost millions of dollars.

Now that the rose-colored filter protecting celebrities is seemingly fading, and more and more people are noting their tone deaf behavior, I have to ask myself: is this the end of the age of celebrities?