Celebrity worship syndrome has become a prevalent problem in the contemporary world. According to research carried out in America, there was evidence that a third of the population suffered from the condition or developing the same symptoms. The obsessed fans tend to create a certain connection with the celebrities, and some go to the extent of stalking them. Experts have discovered that celebrity adoration is accompanied by poor psychological well-being of a person. The discussion below will look into possible issues associated with .celebrity worship.
One reason associated with this kind of worship is loneliness and shyness. These factors are different, but they seem to overlap. Researchers have found out that most people have become lonely than ever. The number of people who depict themselves as lonely has increased over the years as people have become engrossed with work, schooling and other factors hence lost track on social connection (Lynn, Mara and Vann55). The research carried out in the United States discovered” the rate of loneliness has quadrupled in the past decades” (Halpern, 85) as many people have sought to work and live in isolation. The combination of loneliness and natural desire creates a para-social affiliation with celebrities. Individuals who invest less in a romantic relationship are prone to para-social relationships as one way to fulfil their needs and desires such as companionship and attention. Lonely teenagers also tend to cling on celebrity fantasies. One psychologist, McCourt discovered that children who are less appreciated in the society tend to have a connection with celebrities as they make them happy and satisfied.
Shyness can be defined as uneasiness and reserved in the presence of others hence a connection between it and isolation. Lonely and shy individuals tend to be poor in communication skills and hence they engage in activities that will lessen their forlorn mood. The research carried out by a psychologist Robin, lonely individuals who cannot get their social needs in the right way, tend to turn to the media for contentment. The theory states that “when social needs cannot be met in the right way, people often turn to media idols, the celebrities who appear in radios, televisions or magazines” (Lynn, Mara and Vann, 2000). Shy and lonely individuals may rely on one-sided relationship with celebrities as the relationship is unchallenging as they only listen and watch the celebs, and they do not have to worry about discomforts associated with normal people.
Psychology theory discusses that every stage in human development is faced by a crisis and every stage demands development of identity and intimacy. “From this context, it is easy to place the Para-social relationship in different stages” (Stever 98) which encompass the adolescents, young adulthood and old adulthood. In each of these crises, the victims behave differently about their connection to a celebrity. Adolescents who do not have models at home tend to turn to the media and select certain celebrities to follow (Stever 104). Young adulthood face the intimacy crisis in that when work and studies have taken most of their time; they turn to the media to satisfy their romance ways as they are isolated and lonely. The middle age crisis also referred to as generatively versus self-absorption, is the point where one either gives to the next generation and if not, the individual turns to his or her selfish ways to satisfy their needs. Such fan tends to join charity associations liked by the celebrities.
There is a wide connection between celebrity worship and the psychological well-being of an individual. The worship can be dangerous to the victim as they are slowly obsessed, in the celebrities, and they hibernate and isolate while worshipping. Such activities may have a psychological effect on the individual. The syndrome is categorised into three groups that encompass low, higher and the highest levels of celebrity worship (Stever 132). At the low levels, the worshipper just reads and watches a certain character. At the higher level, the worshipper takes the character of the celeb and at the highest level monitors the behaviour of the celebrity. The worship at this level is extreme as the worshippers are obsessed with every detail of the idols life.
A psychologist suggests that the obsession is caused by psychological absorption where the worshiper lives a delusional life as he or she thinks that they have a certain connection with a celebrity. However, another theory argues that celebrity worship is valuable at some point as long as the worshipper contributes to the community social fans. Maltby argues “Such behaviours are encouraged because the worshipper is not obsessed with a celebrity, but it buffers the worshipper’s relationship with others” (Maltby and Lynn 112). Another point to note is that there are arguments that there might be no connection between celebrity worship and the well-being of an individual. This is because people diagnosed with psychological problems often exhibit other mental issues.
Technology has played a major role in celebrity worship as most media houses portray celebrities as gods. Before the rise of technology there was no or less celebrity worship as there was no exposure but media came in and twisted people's mind by praising them and giving them all the attention which in turn becomes an influence to the society . In this way, the lonely and the isolated in the society found a comfort zone in the media (Brooks, “Gossip Can Serve a Purpose” 22). Channels that analyse the celebrities have been created, and pop idols reality shows are the talk of the day. For instance, Joan Rivers will discuss why Beyoncé chose to wear a particular outfit for a concert or why Kelly Rowland is an icon.
The contemporary society has contributed to idol worshipping as many parents are too busy with their work that they forget to check on the well-being of their children thus they fall into celebrity worshipping without the knowledge of their parents. The society has set high expectations on people create pressure upon the youth hence, creating loneliness and isolation. As a result, they turn to media for satisfaction and emulation. The "society is quick to judge, and they want everyone to be a reflection of the celebrities” (Chan 80). This results to the victims imitating the celebrities to please the society.
In conclusion, idol worshipping in the society has been caused by many factors such as loneliness, shyness and isolation which affect the well-being of an individual. Technology has contributed as one of the causes of celebrity worship as there was evidence of little or no celebrity worship before the rise of technology. Mental illness has also contributed to idol worshipping as the worshippers use celebs to fill the empty places in their hearts. Finally, the society ought to be blamed for the change in individual’s behaviours as they pressure the youths by setting high standards.
Brooks, Carol. “Gossip Can Serve a Purpose.” USA Today14 Sept. 2004. Print.
Chan, Kara K. W. Youth and Consumption.Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press, 2010. Print.
Maltby, John, and Lynn McCutcheon.The Self Reported Psychological Well Bing of Celebrity Worshippers. England, UK: SheffieldHallon, 2000. Print.
McCutcheon, Lynn, and Mary Auguete.Preference for Solitude and Attitude toward One's Favourite Celebrity.Orlando: Devry U, 2000. Print.
Stever, Gyle. Fan Behaviour and Lifespan DevelopmentTheory: Explaining Para-social and Social Attachment to the Celebrities. Springfield: Science Business Media, 2010. Print.