Columbus Day weekend of 2013, I was vacationing in Miami. Some know that Miami is home to the Kardashian sisters store DASH. I, along with others, enjoy watching the Kardashians “not so real” reality TV show, for entertainment. Enjoying the show, I decided to visit the store – DASH. It was a big let down. I realize that watching celebrities lives on TV or following them on Twitter or other social media can be fun, and entertaining. It can also appear as though someone has an obsession but in reality most people are not actually “obsessed”.
People cannot get enough of the gritty details of celebrities’ lives. There is an increasing number of us, for whom fascination in celebrities lives overpowers the fascination in our own lives.
Celebrity worship is a recognizable mental problem for some. According to the British Journal of Psychology a study with more than 600 people, ⅓ qualified for celebrity worship syndrome – worship has become the central figure in their lives.
“Like most things there’s a dimensional approach here; there are some who are fascinated by celebrities lives, but also involved in meaningful activities and relationships in their own lives, and for these people star watching is usually a harmless diversion,” says Eric Hollander, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the Compulsive, Impulsive and Anxiety Disorders program at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Just because you are a fan does not make you dysfunctional, but there is a risk.
“A lot of those people who fall deeply into celebrity worship are just an abnormal pathology waiting to happen. The fact that is comes out in the form of idolization of a particular celebrity is less important than recognizing the pathology was there all along. And if it was not focused on a celebrity it would be focused on something else, but it would still be there,” says Long Island, N.Y., psychologist Abby Aronowitz.
Parents say TV fries your brain, and teachers tell you to watch the news so we learn what is going on in our world today. Parents and teachers like to believe that we pay too much attention to the social media’s latest rumors and gossip.
Talking to your friends about the new juicy details of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s relationship is completely normal. But, when you go and get plastic surgery to look like Kim, that’s a little out of the ordinary, and personally I would say it’s weird.
Celebrity worship can be unhealthy, as shown in studies. But for most of us experts say it is just a harmless diversion.
It’s not all bad. As long as people keep in mind the needed focus on their own lives they won’t suffer from the documented problems such as depression, anxiety, and decrease in self-esteem. Celebrities are fun to follow and listen to the interesting details of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching “E!” TV myself.
“If you idolize someone for their accomplishments, and those accomplishments spurn you on to make gains in your life, than admiring a celebrity can have a positive influence on your ambition, or even your mental health,” says Aronowitz.
Some believe that certain people take it too far when it comes to celebrity worship, like your friends saying “OMG your obsessed with Justin Bieber!”, because you listen to his music all the time and hang posters of him all over your room. Again, most people are not really “obsessed”.
In the end it, all comes down to celebrity worship being OK. It is in our DNA to find an idol and follow him or her. As long as people are using and watching celebrities for entertainment, and not as a way to make themselves feel bad, progressing to unhealthy obsessions. Like the Kardashians – they are entertaining to watch on TV and follow on twitter, but are not as great as they appear to be.