FOR some reason, as a society, we seem to have decided to place celebrities at the forefront of morality. While I’m not one to judge, I can’t help but ask: of all the qualified people in the world – why them?
The issue of Palestine and Israel is something that’s sure to have passed by your timeline at least once in the last few years. What’s sad to see is that instead of focusing on the actual problem, people have put their energy into waiting for their favorite celebrities to take their respective stands on the matter, as was done with every other recent political issue.
Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Are you pro-Trump or pro-Clinton? What are your thoughts on same-sex marriage? Would you consider yourself a feminist? Are we going to see you walking alongside the writers during the SAG-AFTRA strike? Question after question piles on and on and on.
To an extent, I believe that it’s important for celebrities to use their platforms to educate millions of followers about certain issues. My only qualm is this: why expect a nuanced perspective from these people who’ve never claimed to be experts on such matters in the first place?
Putting celebrities on a pedestal
In all honesty, I believe that even when celebrities go public with their stances on a particular topic, it’s not always done authentically.
These people have entire PR teams and managers working for them. For many of them, their personas are carefully curated, no matter how relatable, unique or quirky they might seem.
A person playing a gay role does not mean that they are scrubbed of traces of homophobia. Take, for example, the actor who was removed from the production of “The Color Purple” in 2019, after it was discovered that she’d made several homophobic remarks a few years prior.
Just because a celebrity takes a stand on a political issue doesn’t mean they believe in what they’re saying. Sad to say, I think many of them decide on what their political stance is going to be, depending on what’s trending among their target demographic.
In our society, we have, for some reason, placed celebrities on a pedestal. No offense to celebrities… I just don’t see how any of them are meant to be the basis for our morality, or of how we are meant to feel given such serious issues.
One Reddit user explained that people may place celebrities on pedestals because they wish to fill a void within themselves through these celebrities, forming strong emotional attachments to them. It’s possibly a form of escapism.
Another user claimed this idolization of celebrities has become a free pass for bad behavior.
No matter the reason behind it, my opinion on the matter will not change. If a celebrity says they are for or against something, that should not be where your attention on the matter ends.
It extends far beyond the world of Hollywood and superficiality: the issues being discussed affect millions of people in real life, and to focus solely on what celebrities have to say feels more like a form of disrespect rather than a contribution to justice.
Don’t just follow what’s trendy
Look—I’m not stopping you from listening to celebrities when it comes to political issues. There are many celebrities who do use their platforms in great ways by bringing light to these matters, as well as helping the victims.
All I’m saying is that your knowledge of these issues should go beyond what your favorite celebrities say. Do your own research and listen to credible people who know what they’re talking about: activists, for example, or people who have firsthand experience of these problems.
What does a straight cis-gendered male know about the depth of feminism? Or of how the LGBTQ+ community struggles daily? What does someone whose job is to act in films know about the deep, long-running history of the issue between Israel and Palestine?
At best, the knowledge these people hold is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s up to you to dive deeper, to form your own opinions, and not just taking the side that you see people you know are standing on.