What's wrong with enjoying a bit of celebrity gossip? It doesn't do us any harm ... or does it? Read the article to find out if celebrities really are bad for you.


Are celebrities bad for you?

Celebrities are everywhere nowadays: on TV, in magazines, online. Is this preoccupation with famous people harmless fun or is it bad for us? How many people are truly obsessed with modern media idols? And on the other side of the coin, can fame be harmful to the celebrities?

Studies suggest that the vast majority of teenagers do not really worship celebrities. Researchers have identified three kinds of fans. About 15% of young people have an ‘entertainment-social’ interest. They love chatting about their favourite celebrities with friends and this does not appear to do any harm.

Another 5% feel that they have an ‘intense-personal’ relationship with a celebrity. Sometimes they see them as their soulmate and find that they are often thinking about them, even when they don’t want to. These people are more at risk from depression and anxiety. If girls in this group idolise a female star with a body they consider to be perfect, they are more likely to be unhappy with their own bodies.

That leaves 2% of young people with a ‘borderline-pathological’ interest. They might say, for example, they would spend several thousand pounds on a paper plate the celebrity had used, or that they would do something illegal if the celebrity asked them to. These people are in most danger of being seriously disturbed.

What about the celebrities themselves? A study in the USA tried to measure narcissism or extreme self-centredness, when feelings of worthlessness and invisibility are compensated for by turning into the opposite: excessive showing off. Researchers looked at 200 celebrities, 200 young adults with Masters in Business Administration (a group known for being narcissistic) and a nationally representative sample using the same questionnaire. As was expected, the celebrities were significantly more narcissistic than the MBAs and both groups were a lot more narcissistic than the general population.

Four kinds of celebrity were included in the sample. The most narcissistic were the ones who had become famous through reality TV shows – they scored highest on vanity and willingness to exploit other people. Next came comedians, who scored highest on exhibitionism and feelings of superiority. Then came actors, and the least narcissistic were musicians. One interesting result was that there was no connection between narcissism and the length of time the celebrity had been famous. This means that becoming famous probably did not make the celebrities narcissistic – they already were beforehand.

So, what can we learn from this? People who are very successful or famous tend to be narcissists and are liable to be ruthless, self-seeking workaholics. As we can see from celebrity magazines, they are also often desperate and lonely. They make disastrous role models.


Do you agree that celebrities make disastrous role models? Which celebrities do you think are good role models?

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Ofelia's picture
Ofelia 1 August, 2015 - 06:39

Yeah, I think sometimes famous people can be so irresponsible with what they do, and what they represent for society. For example Miley Cyrus, who was a role model for so many girls around the world, and now she's being such a bad model just because she wants attention, money and a "normal teenager life", but she's forgetting what she used to represent. You choose what you do with your life, but she was something different, even if she never wanted it. I don't think what she does is right. Or Justin Bieber, the same thing I think about him. I know lots of girls about 12 or 14 who loves him, just because of his face, but don't mind of his behaviour.
And I have such a wonderful man I love: Robert Downey Jr. He's the perfect example of a guy who had passed through some hard things, by his own choice, but had been over them succesfully and now he's a million boys' hero, and lots of girls and women have a crush on him.
His life is so inspiring for me, although he wasn't always the good one, he has learned of what he lived and I guess that's what really matters: learning of the mistakes of our youth. Oh! That reminds me someone I love too: Mark Oliver Everett aka Mr. E. He is so inspiring for me too, 'cause he have been through a lot of pain and it wasn't his fault, but he's so romantic and positive and awesome, he is a genius.
I love them not just because they're good in what they do (Robert is an actor, songwriter and produce and Mr. E is a singer, songwriter and musician), but because they have amazing lives.

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AnnieSwifty's picture
AnnieSwifty 27 May, 2015 - 16:56

Speaking to myself, I think celebrities are both good and bad. it's depend on the ways we learn and imitate them
btw, Taylor Swift is my idol, and she have a good effect on me. She is a really good girl! :)

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Rio007's picture
Rio007 21 August, 2014 - 17:13

Sometimes they do make disastrous role models because they are victims of fame. Fame changes people. For example a famous person or a celebritie has a personal image to keep and sometimes that image fades more and more and another celebritie image rises leaving the previous one in total darkness... That celebritie who is losing his/her fame has to do something about it quickly and let me tell you that he/she choose the worst ways possible just to be in the center of attention once more and that gives a really bad example to people. ...Why?....Because by doing that they make people face the fact that to have something quick and fast every thing can be used, but it can't!!

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