The internet and mainstream Media are bombarding the world with an endless stream of celebrity glorification messages. There are thousands of celebrities in nearly every country. These celebrities exert such influence on people’s lives that some of their fans become obsessed with them and face serious consequences as a result – consequences that amount to what is referred to as celebrity worship syndrome.
Many celebrity worshippers may not even be aware that they are a victim of celebrity worship syndrome. They probably think they are just a fan. It can be confusing to know whether you have gone beyond being just a casual fan to a passionate fan because the line between a fan and a celebrity worshiper is quite thin.
In this article, we will discuss the negative effects of celebrity worship and how to know if you are a victim of celebrity worship syndrome. Extensive studies have been conducted and are still being conducted on the subject.
Research and Early Findings on Celebrity Worship
In an effort to clearly define the line between celebrity worship and being a casual fan a number of studies have been conducted with scales been developed to assess celebrity adulation. The most popular scale developed for bass is the celebrity attitude scale. With this scale, investigators have conducted several studies on a group of people to further understand the impact of selective celebrity worship on the masses.
During such studies the investigators were able to detect certain characteristics in people who ranked highly on Celebrity Worship Scales. Among such characteristics include dissatisfaction with Body Image particularly among young adolescents, making them more prone to cosmetic surgeries. Victims also were known to have a personality type characterized by sensation-seeking. They also exhibited cognitive rigidity, Identity diffusion, poor interpersonal boundaries. They were also found to exhibit characters such as narcissistic features, dissociation, addictive tendencies, stalking behavior, some even suffered from poor mental health, and showed clinical symptoms of depression, anxiety and social dysfunction.
What Amounts to Celebrity Worship?
If you are not careful about how big a fan you are of a particular celebrity, you are likely to end up becoming a celebrity worshipper. That is when it actually starts to negatively impact your life. Being a fan does not present any problems. However, being celebrity worship is certainly a negative eventuality. we will define what celebrity worship means.
Celebrity worship is not a recent phenomenon but still has a number of definitions. On one side of the spectrum, celebrity worship is similar to being a passionate fan. A fan of someone or something is an individual who devotes to that person or thing with great enthusiasm. On the other side of the spectrum, celebrity worship appears to share characteristics of the psychopathological. Some medical experts consider celebrity worship as an abnormal type of par-asocial relationship driven by absorption and addictive elements. There are other definitions of celebrity worship, all of which describes it as a disorder with consequential effects.
General Traits of Celebrity Worshipers
All the characteristics of celebrity worshippers discussed here have clinical proof. A study was conducted in the U.S and UK to examine these characteristics. The results were that celebrity worshipers are more likely to be foolish, persistent, irresponsible, submissive, and less honest. Imagine having all these personality disorders just because you allowed yourself adore and artist or an actress beyond the normal threshold. The more you follow a particular character the more likely you are to become a celebrity worshipper of that character. you may not even notice but of course, you will suffer the consequences as outlined in this article.
A study conducted in the US and UK also found that celebrity worship correlates directly with Body Image concerns among victims. It was also found in a separate study that celebrity worship directly influences the propensity of a fan to accept cosmetic surgery like soft tissue fillers, breast augmentation, breast lift, laser skin resurfacing, rhinoplasty, and Botox treatment. Due to celebrity worship, Body Image Dissatisfaction is a problem for many today especially young female adults.
What Exactly is Your Body Image?
Body Image is the perception that you have of your physical self and the thoughts and feelings that accompany such perceptions. The resulting feelings can be positive, negative, or both, and are also influenced by individual and environmental factors. There are four factors that define Body Image.
- Perceptual Body Image: this refers to how you see your body, which is not always a correct representation of how you actually look. you can mistakenly perceive yourself as being overweight when in reality you are underweight.
- Cognitive Body Image: this refers to what you think of your body. It has the consequence of preoccupying you with your body shape and weight. Preoccupation with your body is most likely going to result in satisfaction with some part or aspect of it. The more preoccupied you are with how you look the more likely you are to compare yourself with others.
- Effective Body Image: this refers to the way you feel about your body and defines the amount of satisfaction or dissatisfaction you will have regarding your shape, weight, or individual body parts.
- Behavioural Body Image: this relates to behaviours you engage in as a result of your effective Body Image. for example, if you are dissatisfied with your body image you may isolate yourself because you feel bad about your appearance.
The rise in popularity of cosmetic surgery is a direct consequence of celebrity worship and other factors, but mainly celebrity worship. A lot of people, particularly women, are highly conscious of their body image and strive to improve it. many are not satisfied with their body structure, and some are so desperate to improve it they are willing to risk cosmetic surgery, which does go wrong for many people.
In another finding, researchers tried to define the relationship between celebrity worship and religiosity. They found that celebrity worship decreases religiosity for both men and women. That is, as religiosity increases celebrity worship decreases and vice versa. If you are a religious person and you want to keep your relationship with God, then celebrity worship is something you should avoid like a plaque. It will have a direct effect on your ability to get closer to God – that is, soaking you deeper and deeper into worldly life until you begin to do things unimaginable to you before you became a celebrity worshiper.
Another study on celebrity worship and cognitive abilities found celebrity worship results in lower cognitive abilities in relationships.
Personality Characteristics and Celebrity Worship
Some studies have concluded that individuals who become celebrity worshipers exhibit certain personality characters that are quite abnormal. Such personality characters include sensation-seeking and cognitive rigidity, identity diffusion, and poor interpersonal boundaries. Imagine learning these negative attitudes all of a sudden just because you are too passionate a fan of someone you probably will never meet.
Celebrity worship makes you prone to fantasy and dissociation. Victims feel a desire to establish contact with a celebrity and can try to contact a favourite celebrity through phone calls, emails or letters, largely based on fantasy and false beliefs. This is what amounts to dissociation. Imagine trying to establish contact with someone who probably doesn’t even know you exist. While you consider them special and even create a space for them in your life, they don’t even know you nor do you mean anything to them. There are usually too many fans for a celebrity to establish personal relationships with each.
There is also a positive statistical relationship between celebrity worship and criminality as researchers in the United States, UK, Canada, and Australia discovered. For example, if you are a celebrity worshiper of a film star who is famous for playing criminal roles in movies, you are likely to copy some criminal behaviour and implement it live even though you only copied it from a fictitious event. That is the reason some crime novels are banned in certain countries.
As a celebrity worshipper, you are also likely to engage in stalking behaviour. Researchers in the United States examined the relationship between insecure attachment to parents and the condoning of behaviours by celebrity worshipers. The result links to celebrity stalking.
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As a celebrity worshipper, you are likely to spend recklessly due to the compulsive urge to buy things you saw on your celebrity or things they recommend. Marketers are now using influencers to advertise and sell their products. All influencers are celebrities. when you show more love to them than you should, it is very difficult to resist the urge to buy anything they recommend regardless of how financially inconvenient it may be. This can have a direct effect on your financial health and your ability to spend objectively towards attaining other goals you may have. You also become materialistic, and that has its own disadvantage because you are unlikely to lead a happy life if you don’t have the material things you desire. In short, you will link happiness to materialism, which is quite very wrong.
Apart from increasing anxiety and depression, researchers also discovered that higher levels of celebrity worship are associated with the overall poorer mental health of celebrity worshippers, in addition to lower levels of life satisfaction.
From what we’ve learned so far, it never pays to be a celebrity worshiper. Even if you derive some pleasure and motivation from doing that, the negative results on your personality outstrip any benefit you are likely to get. Should things go south about your life expectations, being a celebrity worshipper will only push you deeper down the depths of misery. As such, we must watch our habits carefully. This world has become interconnected and people have become more social like never before. You are bound to have some celebrity you like and probably even follow on social media. There is nothing wrong with following your favourite entertainer or role model, but it shouldn’t turn you into a passionate fan.