Has anyone else gotten caught up in the #freebritney movement?
I’d like to think I was at the forefront of supporting Britbrit.
I’ll never forget the night of the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards when Britney performed her iconic number, “Oops, I Did It Again,” in front of thousands of screaming fans.
I had reluctantly joined a Greek sorority that year.
I was a junior in college and hadn’t gone through rush or anything–that’s how much I wasn’t planning on doing a sorority.
But an old friend of mine thought I’d like it (and probably needed to fulfill a quota at our poor tiny school), so she coerced me into joining.
Young ladies, here’s a short lesson on knowing whether or not you should join a sorority:
If you hate following rules, a sorority is NOT for you.
If you hate pretentiousness, a sorority is NOT for you.
If you are practical and only seek to do things that matter in the long run, a sorority is NOT for you.
If you are an individual with zero cares about being, doing, and going, a sorority is NOT for you.
But I digress.
Anyway, the night of the VMA Awards, we were finishing our weekly chapter meeting.
A gaggle of girls turned on the TV just as Britney was walking down that staircase recovering from the wardrobe malfunction that forced her to fling her pants off earlier than expected.
As she started shaking her tail feather to the beat, I sat in awe.
Britney Spears was a celebrity I could get behind. Young, like me. Comfortable in her own skin. Clearly uninhibited by rules of society.
While I was having those thoughts, the other girls in my sorority were loudly vocalizing their disgust at what a slut and floozy Britney was. (Who knew you could tell a person’s sex life by the clothes they wore?)
Keep in mind that these same girls were going home just about every night with a different guy, dancing on tables, pulling outfits out of their own closets that could easily be called “slutty.”
It was at that moment I realized I probably didn’t belong in a sorority. I quit the next week.
My love of Britney has continued throughout the years.
I still jam out to her music, and I still think she’s a star for the ages.
However, unlike many fans, I’ve never been a rabid-celebrity worshiper.
I don’t know if it’s my lack of care about material wealth, or my empathy over everyone knowing a person’s private business.
I just don’t get celebrity worship.
But I’ll tell you what I understand even less.
It’s this joy some people get when other people’s lives are in destruction.
Whether it’s a self-destruction or a falling apart from the choices of others, some “fans” love to see a celebrity’s life in ruins.
I will never understand that.
Maybe it’s the way I was raised.
I’ll never forget how obsessed I was when I was little over young actors.
I’ve always loved telling stories. I love the multi-faceted dimensions of a human being’s life and the tiny intricacies that form the arch of their overall story.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an actress. It looked like such a fun job, trying on another life, putting on another skin, living in a new world for a set amount of time before moving on to something new.
My father was emphatic: “No way will you ever do any acting.”
It wasn’t until I became an adult with children of my own that I understood why.
You’d have to be blind to not see the train wreck that comes from such a messed up system of celebrity-worship.
And I truly believe that most artists do not seek human worship. (This is what differentiates the real artists from, say, the Kardashians or regular people looking to be famous.)
Like my own childhood dreams, most creatives are seeking to do what they love. Nothing more, nothing less.
But fame is addictive, at least at first.
I mean, I personally don’t know how this feels, but one could imagine what it’s like to be loved and adored by people you don’t even know.
But then I think the person being worshiped starts to get that Imposter Syndrome, that feeling one gets when they’re not sure they are worthy of worship. (Hint hint: they’re not. None of us is.)
And I believe in many cases, especially when there is also childhood baggage carried into adulthood, a person begins to do whatever is possible to numb the pain they’re having to deal with in a very public setting.
Their life becomes a vicious cycle:
Public pain dealing.
Public eats up public pain dealing and fiasco.
Cycle starts again.
There is one factor in the cycle of trauma that could easily be removed, and if removed, would solve the 99 problems created by this thing called celebrity worship:
If the public would stop seeking to hear about the lives of creatives, stop following wannabee “famous people,” and start living their own lives as individuals, we would see far less cases of destruction among celebrities like Britney Spears.
Britney Spears is not making you purchase US Weekly of visit Yahoo or Perez Hilton.
No, in reality, you are making Britney Spears land on the cover every time you feed into the frenzy of her paparazzi-filled life.
It’s not just celebrity, either. When we choose to follow even the mainstream media with rabid intensity, sniffing out the next big pandemic, catastrophe or problem, we are doing nothing more than keeping the 24-7-365 negative news cycle spinning.
The truth is, celebrities owe us nothing. We have no business prying into their personal lives, imitating their actions, or celebrating their downfalls.
So why do we worship them?
Three reasons we worship celebrities:
We believe that the way stars live should be the way we live, too.
What they have, we should have.
How they dress, we should dress.
Their goals should be our goals.
Doesn’t matter if they live in a totally different environment, work a totally different job, or have a totally different background. We want their lives.
2. We’re unhappy.
We aren’t satisfied in our lives, while they look like they’re living the dream.
They’re jet-setting off to other countries, throwing lavish parties on the back lawn, and finding endless amounts of free time, where they neither work nor tend to children.
We get none of this.
3. We’re bored.
Our normal life doesn’t provide us the drama that we’ve become accustomed to seeing on the screen, so we crave the hit of dopamine we receive from daydreaming of being worshiped.
Many times it’s a combination of all of the above, right?
And until we learn that we are all connected and we understand that very few people profit off the destruction of others while everyone in the universe is worse because of it, we will never change the peace we’ve destroyed…
Peace that, by right of being born, belongs to us and to others.
How are you actively trying to stop worshiping celebrities? I’d love to hear from you.