America’s obsession with celebrities can be detrimental

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Corinne Capodagli, Opinion Editor

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I’ll be the first to open up and say that I love celebrity drama, as do many of my fellow Americans. Maybe this is because we’ll desperately grasp for anything that will elevate us to the same level as some of our favorite pop culture icons. This fixation with celebrity life isn’t anything new though, America has been doing this for decades. We’ve created a culture where we have this compulsive and inherent desire to stay caught up on all celebrity gossip and trends.

As rumors of Kylie Jenner‘s pregnancy began in September, I spent hours googling and going down a social media rabbit hole in hopes of uncovering a clue that either validated or disproved this rumor. Every time a gossip column or magazine would claim to have pictures of pregnant Kylie, I desperately open the links, only to see yet another picture of Jenner in an oversized black hoodie.

Like many Kardashian-Jenner fans, I spent months waiting in agony for a hint at a baby that may or may not have even existed. Then, when Kylie announced the birth of her baby girl on February 4, 2018, I was ecstatic.

But it didn’t stop there. For two days fans took to social media platforms to speculate on potential baby names, dissecting each and every one of Kylie’s posts. When Kylie announce the name of her baby, Stormi, it felt like the last piece of the puzzle was finally inserted.

However, amid all the baby news and celebrity drama, I ponder whether or not I should feel ashamed for becoming so involved in something that doesn’t really even concern me. It was just so easy to get wrapped up in it all and offered a way to branch out from my boring life. But as I take a look at these past few months, I am forced to acknowledge an alarming new trend: a large number of Americans, myself included, are more apt to know about celebrity drama and trends than how to deal with what’s happening in our own lives and in the changing social and political climate.

The capability we have to connect with celebrities via social media is fueling this obsession. We have the ability to view every tweet, or live stream they produce. But this infatuation can be detrimental. It’s easier to escape into a world of celebrity babies then it is to acknowledge the facts of life.

Though we may not be conscious of it, diving into celebrity drama is merely a way of avoiding our own obligations. When given a choice between dealing with personal issues or stalking my favorite celebrity, I would much rather flee into a world of Kylie Jenner drama than face my own problems.

Not only does the celebrity hype distract us from our individual problems, it also shifts the focus in America from actual societal and political issues to superficial celebrity narratives. Following the announcement of her baby name on Instagram, Kylie’s post reached an all time high of sixteen million likes. Sixteen million people are out there who are as happy about Stormi Jenner as me? While I may not be in a position to judge, I’m sure the energy spent stalking our celeb icons could be put to use in a more constructive manner.

President Trump’s State of The Union Address was viewed by 46.5 million people. In contrast, 27 million people viewed Kylie Jenner’s “To Our Daughter” video, which answered many questions fans had about her nine month hiatus. Though Trump still had roughly twenty million more views, the support celebrities are able to garner is slowly reaching up there among those of political dignitaries. Meanwhile, I can’t even remember the last time I physically turned on the news. Instead, I scrape by reading the notifications my phone sends me when something happens in the world, yet keeping up with my favorite celebrity icons is like second nature.

It’s not that occasional escapism into the celebrity world should be shunned. But we do need to be consciously aware of the dangers of too much celeb stimulation and its tendency to distract from pivotal societal and personal problems.

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