I used to hate Kim Kardashian. I don’t often hate people, but edgy teenage me hated her with a passion. “Why on earth is she famous? She does NOTHING. OMG SHE’S EVERYWHERE. SHE ISN’T EVEN THAT PRETTY. AND HER FAMILY OMG WHYEVENISSHEFAMOUSICAN’TBELIEVE-”
You know what changed that stream of vitriol? Netflix.
Once I had access to something that I could easily watch for 24hrs, I realised how easy it was to not see Kim K and her Klan of Karacters. And then it occurred to me that in reality, she’s a woman trying to live her life. We’re not all that different, she has a family that is crazy but loves her, just like I do. She has a nice butt, so do I. She likes shopping, so do I. She just has a lot more money than I do and a camera on her when she shops (Kim, you should get Amazon Prime. Stepping over paparazzi to get to the fitting room must be pretty tiring.)
From then on I stopped hating on celebrities just cuz they’re famous. At the end of the day they are people doing a job, and while I can certainly side-eye something specific they’ve said or done, I’ve started to think of them the same way I would think about anyone. It can be a little hard to do that when they’re so absurdly rich and doing things so different to what you’re doing, so I’ve found that an easy way to stay empathetic when seeing a headline is to remove all identifying factors that shows that a celebrity is involved. For example: “Man declines job based on differing principles between himself and another man” is a little less polarizing than “Ewan McGregor snubs Good Morning Britain interview following Piers Morgan row“. After all, most people can agree that if you afford to maintain your principles, then you should, right?
The thing is, even if you disagree with someone quitting on principle, I can accept that. What I find difficult to accept is when people say “Oh they should just shut up and do their jobs.” I mean… they’re entitled to an opinion too. Just because they have a bigger platform than you and your 250 facebook friends, doesn’t mean that they aren’t free to express ideas and opinions, and in some cases they’re in an even better place to express them than we are! I have my opinions on politics in America, but I don’t live there, and can’t vote there. If Meryl Streep, who is an American citizen, has had 4 children who are American citizens and lives in America wants to comment on America, then who am I (British Caribbean living in London) to grumble? It’s not like she stopped in the middle of The Devil Wears Prada to deliver a speech. And if it really bothers you that someone cares enough about something to talk about it, then maybe the issue is with you, not with them.
Something that horrifies me is when people take time out of their day to wish ill on someone just because they’re famous. Last year, armed thieves broke into a woman’s hotel room, tied her up, hurt her and stole her things, and apparently she deserved it because she’s Kim Kardashian. She must have been traumatised, she went low profile, her husband dropped what he was doing to go to her, and yet it serves her right. Really? She is a human being. Disapprove of her moneymaking methods but no one deserves to be held at gunpoint , tied up and robbed. Like I said before, she’s a woman like me. She’s a human being. She’s a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife. Surely a little empathy is deserved?
In other celebrity news, a man recently found out his son has cancer, but people asked why should we care just because he’s Michael Buble. I don’t think the point is to care about his kid more just because he’s famous, I think the point is to show a little sympathy for someone who found out that their loved one is suffering from a life-threatening illness. People who say “Oh well this happens to normal people all the time, why should we care more???” are the worst. I doubt many of those people regularly give to charities, or regularly sign petitions or march or are activists or fundraisers, yet when a celebrity story comes along they all of a sudden demand to know why people care about this person when there are starving children in Africa to care about. Instead of expending energy on social media attempting to silence people with your false moral high ground, have you done something to help the social ills of the world you’re using as a weapon in this argument? Because if you’re only bringing up other people suffering in the comment section of a Buzzfeed article, then you’re not actually helping anyone.
It is perfectly possible to care for celebrities and for the rest of the world. But if you really don’t care about pop culture, then that’s ok too, providing you 1) actually care about something and 2) don’t bash people for caring about pop culture. As someone who is looking forward to more Destiny’s Children being born (Red Rose and Yellow Sunflower FTW), I’m also pretty invested in the rest of the world. So before you post that meme, or write that comment, or tweet that tweet, maybe consider saving your energy and expend it to somewhere useful. Here, I’ll start you off.