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JASMINE SMYTH ON HOW THE MEDIA AND CELEBRITIES AFFECT SOCIETY
CELEBRITIES TODAY have a huge impact on people young and old. A lot of the information we hear about famous people is blown way out of proportion by the media. Their stories influence, for example, how we act, what we wear and our eating habits.
Celebrities can have negative influences on society. When celebrities are pictured drunk or wearing next to nothing, their actions are glorified. The media rarely tell us of the consequences of these actions and so we tend to do the same. We may think getting drunk is "cool" when in fact it is very dangerous! However, celebrities can also have positive influences on society. An example of a positive influence is Band Aid 20. They were the 2004 incarnation of the charity group, Band Aid. The group, which included Chris Martin of Coldplay and Bono of U2, re-recorded the 1984 song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" written by Band Aid organizers Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. It was recorded in 2004 to benefit Sudan's troubled Darfur region. The single became the UK's biggest seller of 2004 and the Christmas number 1.
The media and celebrities can also influence how we dress. If we see a celebrity wearing an expensive brand or beautiful dress, we want to own it. Many celebrities have a specific type of clothing they like to wear and their fans often mimic them. An example of this; Michael Jackson fans still sport the signature red leather jacket and single white sequined glove. While this fashion statement will last the test of time, some are only temporary. An example is the plastic glasses with the bars across the front that Kanye West made popular. The majority of celebrities are really skinny. This causes us to become depressed and we force ourselves on diets and/or develop eating disorders sometime into the future. Examples of the most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Annamarie Gahan, Coláiste Bríde says, "Nobody should look at pictures of celebrities and think they have to be as skinny as they are. Their pic
tures are photo shopped and many don't even realize this!"
Some celebrities however, demonstrate their food practices to encourage us to take up their eating habits such as vegetarianism and veganism. Recently, Lady Gaga appeared in public wearing a meat dress. This had a controversial effect across the world and many people came up with their own interpretations of the dress. Lady Gaga said, "It's certainly no disrespect to anyone that's vegan or vegetarian, as you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth. It has many interpretations, but for me this evening, it's 'If we don't stand up for what we believe in, we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones.'" Her message was clearly heard and just goes to show the effect that food can have on society.
Many celebrities have chosen veganism including Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Jason Mraz and Madonna. We often decide that we want to change our diet due to celebrities' influence.
Another way the media influence us is by using various celebrities in advertisements. Celebrities are often used as product endorsements, i.e. they are used to promote the product. If we see a celebrity we like advertising a certain product/service, we may be persuaded to purchase it depending on the celebrity used in the advert.
Another advertising trick is perfumes. Celebrities bring out fragrances which they claim they participated in the making of. Generally, however, they had nothing to do with its creation and are paid to put their name to it to attract customers. Many people purchase them, whether the fragrance has a nice smell to it or not!
Overall, it is not exactly a bad thing that we are too easily affected by celebrities and the media. Long-term consequences such as eating disorders, depression and inappropriate public actions may occur but there can also be positive effects like standing up for what you believe in and eating healthily. Everyone must remember to be happy, no matter what shape or size they are!