Celebrity Worship

Kayla Katounas

Celebrities are everywhere. Almost everyone can name a favorite actor, musician, or even reality TV star. It’s almost human nature to be attracted to these figures who live a life many people dream of, especially in a world of celebrity gossip all over the media. But sometimes an innocent admiration of a celebrity role model can be taken too far into worship or obsession.

Celebrities are so commonly seen now, in large part because of the rise of social media in the last few years. People are becoming famous more easily, using platforms like TikTok, and content revolving around celebrities is being shared more easily using Instagram and YouTube. Fans are able to feel like they know celebrities better, on a more personal level, by looking at photos on an Instagram page curated by the celebrities themselves. By just clicking the “follow” button, anyone can call themselves a fan of a celebrity. Enjoying an actor’s movies, or a singer’s music is harmless on its own, but when does it go too far? 

Celebrity worship syndrome (CWS) is an obsessive-addictive disorder that occurs when a person is overly involved in the personal life of a public figure. Three dimensions of CWS have been identified, the entertainment-social dimension shows people attracted to a celebrity for entertainment and interaction with other fans, in the intense-personal dimension, individuals begin to have strong feelings for a celebrity, and the borderline-pathological dimension shows uncontrollable actions having to do with a celebrity. 

Oftentimes people affected by CWS have poor mental health or body image, this is especially seen in teenage girls. People who worship celebrities for just entertainment or social reasons actually tend to be more positive. There is likely no problem if you happen to be a big fan of a celebrity now, though. “If you’re 13 and you’re obsessed with Harry Styles, go with God. If you still have a locker, then enjoy. That’s one of the nice parts of being a kid, that and that you don’t have to pay taxes.” said Julie Klam, author of The Stars in Our Eyes. So if you are a major “swiftie,” “belieber,” or “directioner,” there is probably no need to worry.

While it often doesn’t get this serious, celebrity fascination can be seen everywhere. Even without worshipping them, people trust celebrities, enough to listen to the things they say and even elect them into politics. John Maltby, who published a study called “A Clinical Interpretation of Attitudes and Behaviors Associated with Celebrity Worship,” said “Generally, the vast majority of people will identify a favorite celebrity, but don’t say they read about them or think about them all the time. Like most things, it’s fine as long as it doesn’t take over your life.”