Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Stop Trying To Be Relationship Experts With Your Favourite And Not So Favourite Celebrities

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber. Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Any Love Island couple (to the British public at least). Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles. Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian. Relationships constantly scrutinised under the public eye, from cheating scandals to jaw dropping PDA, but is it ethical for us to be an audience treating them as another source of entertainment? Do our words negate any impact just because they’re funnelled into a screen or part of the masses? As much as I don’t want to spread cliches, celebrities have a right to privacy too.

Let me paint you a picture…

Teenager eats their food. Greens, mostly, per Mother’s orders. Father sneaks a little chocolate mousse at the end of meal as special treat; they’ve been well behaved, polite, chit chatted with the grandma on the phone. Received stunning grades in their exams and all that. Teenager chases the dog upstairs on the way up to the bedroom. Let’s leave what breed up to your imagination, the Labrador versus Pitbull debate falling on deaf ears. The bedroom door is opened and shut gracefully with little anger etched into the wood, it’s been a good day. Teenager opens laptop. The glow echoes into the room, casting shadows of doubt onto every corner. Familiar fan accounts are already open on the screen, edits of various relationships, secretive hugs in the edges of pictures, reciprocated instagram likes, the tattooed arm of their favourite singer in a girl’s soft launch of their relationship. Teenager is not happy. This is not the status quo. Their last relationship was so much more loving, was it not? The fans loved them, their families adored them in scripted interviews, their friends called them soulmates. How dare they not fix their relationship as the fans suggested? Teenager spews out black tar tears, gnarls out angry words they definitely were not brought up to say. The silence breaks out into malicious typing. The typing is only supposed to be harmless advice. The typing turns into hate, but surely this is deserved as this celebrity did not take the thoughtfully given advice of their fans. The tears stop. The heart grows fonder, lighter, bursting now with happy energy again. The world has healed. With the laptop carefully closed shut and the night light turned on, the teenager tucks themselves into the bed they’ve shared so many dreams with and looks up to their favourite poster of their favourite celebrity, now slashed in half- the only reminder of the (unhinged) anger and jealousy.

The parasocial framework the media acts in is almost alike to a stalker slasher movie you grew up avoiding when younger. This is where a person extends emotional energy, interest and time into a one-sided relationship, and the other party, ‘the muse’ so to speak, is completely unaware of the other’s existence. Now, this can be harmless. Having a poster of JLS and imagining yourself in a relationship with your favourite member isn’t a crime against humanity (definitely not me, and definitely not specific) — I’m talking Misery (Stephen King 1990) or Ingrid Goes West (2017) type of stories. It’s so important to assert that these types of relationships are not only harmful but are also actively dangerous to the parties they’re directed to; assuming we have control over how they act, their morals, ethical code, whether they can cheat, whether they can break up with a partner the public loves, even to go as far as assimilating close friendships via social media, is too much. Boundaries are important. Safety is important. Technically, yes, you can give relationship advice to your favourite celebrity. Of course, you can. Censorship does not apply to the mind, so you can judge or support whoever you want whenever you want. But support and having a parasocial relationship are not a symbiotic relationship – in my mind, it’s unhealthy to be too involved with people you’ve never met. 

Let’s take the most recent celebrity relationship flooding my social medias: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. I’m a Taylor Swift fan, and now, purely by attacking my constant flow of videos with podcast clips and American football excerpts, I’m a Travis Kelce fan. However, does the public have the right to be so involved as we have been previously in Taylor Swift’s love life? She has been slut shamed, accused of only following fame, aggressively criticised for the actions of men she’s been associated with and berated for never doing enough. I love her and Travis as a couple and I’m guilty of watching edits of their rumoured relationship blooming. I do admit to feeding into the cycle, I just don’t know if I should continue to. It’s hard to find the balance where being ‘invested’ in the next news article hits its limit. Seeing fans and media outlets pit past relationships and boyfriends against one another at the expense of their favoured singer doesn’t seem to be the compliment they aim for it to be. It’s like when you wear a particularly short skirt around a jealous older woman: the passive aggressive “aren’t you cold?” comments are not what we’re aiming for in 2023. Let’s not infantilise women’s relationship choices and mother them into a doll like persona. There’s no need to feel so attached to their lives.

Next time you read a tabloid on the Kardashian’s newest rumoured relationship, or an article speculating on a new controversial age gap romance in Hollywood, just ask yourself this: where is this information coming from, and what kind of mindset is it trying to provoke? Is this information, or a hate fuelled opinion piece designed to pit the world against one person? Is it obsessive and controlling a severely biased narrative? Let’s just say, I know I’m going to be very open minded from now on.

Rosie Taylor

Bristol '26

Hi, I’m Rosie and I’m studying English and Philosophy at Bristol university! This is my first year in Bristol and I'm excited to join the community that Her Campus offers. I am particularly interested on option pieces in entertainment, and news articles prevalent each week. Eventually I would love to move up to more serious and behind the scenes roles like social media officers and editors, as my dream job is to be a publisher! I’m interested in reading, writing and trying new things! I am a massive foodie and love to ski and travel to new places to relax (sightseeing is not for me unless with other people….) I have lived in Hampshire all my life but enjoy exploring new cultures through volunteering and spending time with family friends.