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Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians
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Culture > Entertainment

Are My Celebrity Crushes Unhealthy?

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

Have you ever wondered why we are so consumed by our celebrity crushes? Throughout my whole life, I have always been someone who loves to live in their fantasies. I consider myself a serial celebrity crusher. Throughout my life, fangirling has become one of my favorite pastimes. These crushes may develop from recently watched shows and movies or my favorite artists. Once I am captivated before I know it, I’m lost in Youtube interviews, Tiktok edits, and fan fiction. I’m not saying that I’m proud of being in love with the designated white boys of the month. Nor am I completely delusional, I am aware that these celebrities don’t know of my existence and that I don’t know them personally. Yet, that will not stop me from creating fake scenarios in my head. It’s a lifestyle at this point and I’ll admit it’s somewhat fun to be unrealistic. Having celebrity crushes is incredibly normal. However, I wonder if celebrity crushes can do more harm than good. Therefore, I’ve decided to do some research to discuss how thin the line is between having normal celebrity crushes and having an unhealthy obsession. 

Celebrity crushes are defined as parasocial relationships. These are one-sided feelings of imagined intimacy or friendship with a media persona who you don’t know personally. Parasocial relationships often require time, devotion, and emotional energy. These crushes are very common and can even be seen as productive. 

Healthy celebrity crushes have their benefits. Psychotherapist Jason Ward tells us that they can offer “a way to test, desire, longing, and connection.” Humans are always looking to relate and have a tendency to affiliate. As an only child, I grew up very independent. I often found my comfort and entertainment in fictional characters and celebrities that I saw on television. I can’t help but wonder if my desire to fit in has played a role in my long list of celebrity crushes. During my childhood, I was convinced that Corbin Bleu, Avan Jogia, and Nick Jonas were simultaneously competing for my affection. At a young age, these crushes can help you shape your identity, provide belonging and increase self-esteem as you develop relationships in real life. 

However, we can not neglect that attractiveness is definitely a factor in celebrity crushes. To be honest, I was feeling some type of way after I saw Timothee Chalamet defile a peach in Call Me By Your Name. Yet, this attractiveness can go beyond physical features. Dr.Greenwood states that many of us identify qualities, such as “kindness, authenticity and humility” as top reasons for our celebrity crushes. We tend to gravitate toward celebrities who reflect our own values, interests, and aspirations. Do you ever feel like your celebrity crush is just like you in some aspects?  I do see how this can be true because I adore my celebrity crushes and often strive to be like them. Call me crazy, but I think Doja Cat and I would be great friends. The problem is that we are making these judgments based on who we think these celebrities are and then we often hold others up to these imaginary standards. I’m aware that someone who has the qualities and attractiveness of the members of BTS does not exist on this planet. I choose to believe that these high standards are the reason why I am single.

It’s important to realize the effect of social media on celebrity crushes. Parasocial relationships are one-sided. Yet in the age of social media, they appear interactive. Social media has the ability to make celebrities feel a little closer to us. We think we know their lives by following their Instagram feeds, viewing their live streams, and interacting with their content. This overexposure blurs the line between reality and fantasy. This benefits the celebrities because we provide them with revenue and popularity, in exchange for information and acknowledgement. Celebrity culture can be toxic and not everyone should be held on a pedestal. Social media only allows us to see things through a distorted lens. It has the power to manipulate and persuade us. For example, I didn’t think Jack Harlow was attractive until I was convinced by Tiktok. Social media makes our celebrity crushes feel more accessible. However, just because your celebrity crush is on your For-You page or follows you on Twitter doesn’t mean they are your best friend.

This brings us to the topic of unhealthy celebrity crushes. Psychotherapist Jason Ward defines this as losing a grip on reality. It’s when you realize that your crush can never be reciprocated and it leads to “feelings of emptiness, low self-esteem, and even depression.” Your celebrity crushes shouldn’t interfere with your ability to complete your responsibilities. In fact, it’s been stated that celebrity crushes may be a sign of burnout. This is intriguing because as a college student, being exhausted is an understatement. I wonder, are my celebrity crushes ways for me to escape from my daily life? In some ways, consuming media with my celebrity crushes does allow me to relieve stress after a long day. However, I’m not saying I’m losing a grip on reality because I am able to focus on my priorities. (Michael B. Jordan if you’re reading this, I promise I’m super cool and chill.)

Celebrity crushes are often a product of isolation and loneliness. These feelings have been reinforced by a lack of social interaction during the pandemic. Are my celebrity crushes a reflection of my non-existent love life? Is my love for Zendaya and Tom Holland speaking to the lack of romantic love in my real life? Perhaps I invest too much time in looking at their pictures and wondering, “When is it my turn?” I’m starting to think that this needs to be unpacked in a therapy session, instead of this article.

In conclusion, in a world where times are tough, we should hold onto the things and the people that bring us joy. If your joy comes in the form of rewatching that movie scene with your celebrity crush then go ahead, I won’t judge. I have seen Henry Golding in Crazy Rich Asians more than I can count. Therefore, send that thirst tweet if that’s what your heart desires. Just make sure your crushes don’t involve stalking or criminal activity. Commenting on their latest post and breaking into their house is not the same. Celebrity crushes come with their benefits, such as being a source of inspiration and admiration. Seeing my girl crushes Keke Palmer and Quinta Brunson succeed gives me more motivation to pursue my own goals. Therefore, continue to stan your favs. These crushes are normal and they provide a sense of joy to many. However, there is a line between healthy and unhealthy crushes. We all have our favorite celebrities but your crushes shouldn’t overshadow your relationships in real life. We should put more time and energy into those in our lives than people who we don’t really know. This doesn’t mean you can’t have that imagined version of love or that ideal lifestyle that you have in your head, sadly it just won’t be with that celebrity.

Kayla Atkinson

UC Irvine '23

Hello everyone! My name is Kayla Atkinson and I am psychology and sociology double major. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, binging Netflix and reading a good book. I hope you enjoy my work!