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Celebrity Gossip vs. Reality: Do We Really Know Our Favorite Celebrities?

by Rebecca McPhillips

What a month! Since the start of August (it's only August 7th, by the way), we have witnessed a surge in celebrity news ranging from Lizzo's lawsuit to Ariana Grande's alleged affair. 

However, rather than adding to the gossip and spreading hate, let's address the elephant in the room - the fact that we don't really know these celebrities at the heart of these discussions.

Take Lizzo, for instance, I've never met her.

Yes, her music helped me through a tough breakup, but my knowledge of her is limited to her impressive breath control and uplifting songs. 

And what about Ariana? 

I remember seeing her on my TV screen while I ate cereal and waited for my lift to school in the mornings, but that's where my 'relationship' with her ends.

We get a glimpse of these celebrities' lives through social media and tours, but that's hardly enough to form a meaningful connection. 

So, why do we feel so disheartened when shocking news about these public figures emerges? 

How can we be let down by people that we never had a chance of meeting, never mind forming any tangible relationship with?

Perhaps it's because they've made us feel things through carefully filtered public communications and appearances, skillfully managed by their mega-wealthy PR teams.

Let's face it; we want to like them because their music makes us feel good.

However, it's essential to remember that they aren't our friends; they are celebrities. 

With footage of stars like Lizzo and Grande being made into little edits by fans and pumped out through social media accounts making it even harder for any negative experiences with them to seem plausible. 

PR teams work diligently to create and maintain specific images for celebrities, helping them bounce back from scandals or avoid them altogether. But, as consumers, we need to acknowledge the hard truths about our own gullibility. 

Supporting someone's career or determining their true character is challenging when all we see is a polished public image. We must recognize that those who create good art often have complex lives. 

Recently, gossip TikTok has seen a creator rise in popularity for sharing 'blind items'.

Blind items are anecdotes from employees or peers, anonymously posted to a forum- usually pertaining to their experience with a certain celebrity. The items name no names, instead leaving clues for readers to fill in the gaps.

Kyle Marisa Roth has gained a lot of TikTok notoriety for dedicating their whole account to reading out these items. 

Whilst dangerous as we can always find a way to link these vague stories to fit our own celebrity narratives and perpetuating hate and stereotypes, these items also play with our gullibility - making us question the reliability of our perceptions.

It's time to admit that most celebrities at the peak of LA fame present some level of false imagery.

Despite our emotional connections to those images, we don't truly know them. Let's be mindful of how we set ourselves up for disappointment as consumers. Enjoying a song or admiring a celebrity's message is fine, but we must avoid falling into the trap of extreme fandom without truly knowing who we are supporting. 

Still skeptical? Watch Donald Glover's "Swarm" to witness the eerie depths a parasocial relationship can reach.

Edited by Emily Duff

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