Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik. Logic and Jessica Andrea. Jennifer Anniston and Justin Theroux. These are just a few of America’s fav celebrity couples who’ve broken up in 2018. The day Gigi and Zayn broke up the internet almost imploded with pictures they’d taken and uploaded by the public with sad-face captions. It’s impossible to predict a break-up, especially if you don’t know the couple, but it still affects people who’ve invested time and effort keeping up with the relationship on social media and the like. But is this really healthy for those people? Do these celebrities really owe us any insight on their relationships? Because in the end we’re all just trying to work out the most important relationship we have in life — the one with ourselves.
In the age of social media and PR relationships, the public is inundated with celebrity relationships, real or fake. Often times we are given so much access to a relationship in magazines and other media that we become a part of it. We invest time and money reading about couples and getting to know them. In interviews, we learn about how couples get along and how their relationships are going.
ESSENCE took a poll asking 339 of their audience why the public is so invested in celebrity relationships. In total, 5 percent of the voters live vicariously through the relationships, 4 percent find them inspiring, 34 percent find them entertaining, 56 percent don’t really care.
So, while the majority of people may not care, 44 percent of people are invested in celebrity relationships in some way or another.
Whether that’s because the media provides so many outlets to become familiar strangers with these couples or because people seek them out, people become involved in celebrity relationships. Even if the celebrities don’t know. In fact, a study done at the University of Buffalo stated that admiration of a celebrity can reinforce a sense of community and belongingness in youths. Self-esteem increased among students participating in the study after they wrote about their favorite celebrities.
But, in the same study, admiration of celebrities in extreme can turn into stalking, extreme imitation, and isolation. Celebrity worship syndrome is a mental illness that can spiral from excessive investment in celebrity lives and relationships. Side effects of this mental illness include anxiety, depression, high stress levels, poor body image, isolation and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Being too into celebrities can lead some major mental, and physical, issues. According to UK psychologists at the University of Leicester, about 36 percent of people suffer from celebrity worship syndrome. Not only do these experts think this is detrimental to people’s health, but that it could give rise to “unhealthy idolatry.”
So, basically, if you stalk a celebrity couple don’t get too invested. It could literally be harmful.
And, could it be harmful for celebrities? Do we deserve to know the inner workings of their lives and relationships?
To be fair, they pretty much put everything on social media. For publicity, for connection or for fun, we really don’t know. Despite the reason why, in a way they invite the masses into their personal lives. Most often for personal gain. So, why shouldn’t we get involved?
Celebrities are still people. They still have careers that require them to go through with PR stunts and get the public involved to make a living. Sometimes it isn’t even their decision to go through with something but their manager’s or their contract’s stipulations. Sometimes celebrities genuinely want to build relationships with their fans and involve them in their lives.
The point is they have lives. And, celebrity relationships are still relationships. The intimate parts of celebrity lives and relationships are what make up the vulnerable parts of a person. I don’t know about you, but I think it would be unfair to exploit anyone’s vulnerability.
The spotlight is already on these couples, as individuals and as one. Whether they like it or not. As celebrities and public figures, they’ve lost a lot of their first amendment rights that the average person has. The press and the public can make fun of celebrities as long as it is original artistry or satire.
Plus, most things that celebrities do or say are taken out of context. A picture is worth a thousand words, but when was the picture taken? Was it taken out of context? We never know what’s going on in other people’s lives. We can’t treat them like objects with no feelings just here for our entertainment.
Unfortunately, most celebrities are treated like objects. Then people, most often those who are over-invested, project their feelings onto celebrities and their relationships. If that’s the case it doesn’t matter what they do because everything is magnified and amplified.
So, at the end of the day, getting over-invested in celebrity relationships is not a good idea. For many reasons. And it’s not a good idea to objectify celebrities regardless of what they do with their lives. But a healthy amount of admiration for celebrities and their relationships can actually be a good thing. So, don’t stop watching The Bachelor or stalking your favs. Just don’t forget about boundaries.