Celebrity Culture

One point analyzed is celebrity culture and its effect on body image.  In our society, the average person puts an immense focus on celebrity culture within the media and what these celebrities dictate as “popular”, which includes ideal body image.  People can easily see this while waiting at a cash register where magazines are posted on the sides or even watching a reality TV show in the comfort of a lazy boy chair. This newfound obsession of celebrities with “ideal” bodies affects how society views body image. By focusing on celebrity culture, the correlation between celebrities and body image and how the celebrities are being portrayed these types of body image in the media can be seen. Knowing that the celebrities and media have many young adults and youth as their subject to exploit, emerging bodily trends can typically be seen through the younger generation as it relates to how many celebrities are being depicted in media.

People have aimed to explain this topic and bring awareness as to how celebrity culture ties to body image and exerts pressure on women and youth.  The people that have written about this topic vary from doctors to social scientists to scholarly writers all the way to popular writers.  The message this category presents is that celebrity culture ties directly to body image and has a negative, sometimes destructive effect.  This category successfully gets across this message by displaying statistics, data, visuals, and interviews with women and doctors.  The context of this category would be having knowledge of current celebrity culture and what these celebrities look like and having a general understanding of what is currently seen as “beautiful”.  The audience that this category targets is any one hoping to understand how celebrity culture effects body image, more specifically, therapists working with women with body image issues, dietitians, and most importantly women that they hope to bring awareness as to the negative effect of chasing after a “perfect” body seen in media.

The celebrity culture is heavily reliant on visual images that portray an “ideal” body image. The reality tv show, Dr. 90210, uses images of perfect breasts to enforce the idea of femininity.

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After the female body builder received breast implants, there are two images that compared her masculine body to her newly modified feminine body. In addition, the images of perfectly shaped breasts are compared with the images of distorted, uneven breasts which suggests the preferred shape. Through the comparison of the visual images, the audience is being convinced of what a perfect female body looks like. Meanwhile, the use of images from advertisements and movie posters in the Business Journal of Ethics provide visual evidence to support their argument. Ultimately, it portrays the “expression of modern’s women beauty” to suggest the stress of classic femininity in society (Lin 2009). The visuals that are used by sources help to emphasize how unrealistic body image within celebrity culture is.  One source that greatly displays this strategy is a video called “Social Media and Body Images.” This video shows images of celebrities within movies and makes the viewer see how unrealistic these bodies presented look.  For example, it shows one male celebrity with a perfect six pack and unrealistic arm muscles.  It also shows a woman celebrity on a motorcycle with a “perfect” butt and legs.  This gets the viewer thinking how dangerous it is to try to achieve a body that is so unrealistic.

Many of the sources intelligently choose to use statistics in their articles. This practices uses logos effectively because they are presenting facts in a practical and logical manner. It is easy for the reader to understand them and the meaning or message behind them. In the “Celebrity Culture: Are Americans Too Focused on Celebrities?”, author Howard Altman provides introduces a histogram graph by saying, “Government and foreign news coverage was slashed and often replaced by cheaper-to-produce celebrity gossip.” The provided graph then showed how the percentage of pages in news magazines dedicated to celebrities and entertainment doubled from 1980 to 2003, while coverage of national affairs dropped from 35 percent of all pages to 25 percent. Similarly, in his article “One Followed by Many?–Long-term Effects of a Celebrity Suicide on the Number of Suicidal Acts on the German Railway Net,”  Dr. Hegerl Ulrich uses percentages to describe the results of his study. He researched the suicides of the general public after the famously broadcasted suicide of a popular German soccer player. Ulrich shocked his readers by stating, “Our results show that the railway suicide of the German football goal-keeper Robert Enke was not only followed by a more than doubling of the number of railway suicidal acts in the following two weeks, but also by an increase of railway suicidal acts by 19% in the following two years, as compared to the two years before this tragic event. The use of statistics is strong and effective because they cut right to the chase and they give the audience a real feel for the direct impact behind that percentage.

Another strategy authors like to use is exemplification. This means providing examples or specific cases to support their argument. In regards to celebrity culture, it often may mean an actor or singer who has had cosmetic procedures in the past. In her article, “Cosmetic Surgery: Are Tougher Safety Regulations Needed?” Jane Friedman picks out specific people to exemplify whose names she knows her audience will most likely find familiar for their fame. She mentions, “The celebrities they [baby boomers] had grown up with — such as Cher and Elizabeth Taylor — appeared almost unchanged by the years, as if they had been able to stop the clock. Their fans wanted the same kind of work their screen idols were getting.” Howard Altman uses other celebrities as his examples, but follows the same technique in his article, “Celebrity Culture: Are Americans Too Focused on Celebrities?” He reaches out to his readers in his statement: “Brad and Jen. They are so big that movie fans know them simply by their first names. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston have long been in the pantheon of celebrity newsmakers. And the amount of press coverage devoted to the recent breakup of their marriage is a textbook example of the economics of celebrity.” The strategy of exemplification works efficiently, because instead of simply stating their argument as fact, writers are proving their argument by showing how it is portrayed in real life by specific examples. It is even more effective in the case of celebrities because the audience has probably grown up being very familiar with these famous names and they can feel more connected, which in turn makes it easier for them to be persuaded.

In conclusion, the authors evaluated have done a good job at presenting their information in an informative and alarming way so that their audience will take the information seriously. Most people do not realize the amount in which the lives of famous people that individuals will never meet can affect, influence, and change their lives.

Celebrity Body Image


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