Life Group Notes Week 6 – Celebrity Culture

Celebrity Culture – Reality TV / Pop Music

Do a basic search in Google for “Celebrity Culture” and you will end up with multiple pages relating to the subject, and on first view the majority of pages relate to concerns about the effect that the “Celebrity Culture” is having on Children, Teens and families.

But what do we mean by “Celebrity Culture” how do we define it?

Exercise:

  1. 1.       When presented with the words “Celebrity Culture” what does it mean to you?
  2. 2.       What virtues or characteristics are generally associated with “Celebrity Culture” ?

The impact of celebrity culture on our ordinary lives

Nigel Tween, Elim Training  –  http://www.elim.org.uk/Articles/187528/The_impact_of.aspx

We live in a celebrity culture – a fact borne out by TV viewing figures and magazine sales. OK, Hello and Now, celebrity-gossip magazines are sold in their millions year on year, the huge viewing figures of ‘X factor’ and ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ tell a story. Many a ‘Christian’ coffee or bedside table ‘owns’ a copy, and celebrity TV is required viewing in our homes too.

Jordon, Simon Cowell, Becks and Tiger Woods are simply the lead characters in a perpetual ‘real life’ soap opera that feeds our fascination with the famous. But is this trend harmful? Has not every generation had its hero’s, is it just innocent fun? Does celebrity culture trivialise life? Does celebrity create personal dissatisfaction with ‘my body shape or lifestyle?’ Do they create a harmful role model?

But, is it all bad or are there positive aspects that benefit society? Some celebs use their notoriety to promote good causes! Others try to promote awareness of worthy causes. But let’s consider a few of the more sinister aspects of celebrity culture, attitudes that perhaps come under the radar, ask yourself, how badly have I been influenced by ‘celebrity culture!’

Beauty

How about ‘Beauty’ it’s a hot word. The ‘celeb advert’ is usually a young, symmetrical, skin-and-bone, tanned woman (or man) swishing back their gorgeous hair, smiling with blinding even white teeth at your screen – “I had SUCH problems with my hair/skin/body etc; until I used THIS product!”, Popular celebs sell a lifestyle through Cars, Homes, clothes, IT, mobiles fashion, they say to us “if I want try life and happiness” buy me. Manufacturers budget huge amounts to have their product on the film set, or associated with celebs. To say we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture is evident to all, however the challenge is, how do we prevent Christians, especially our children from becoming beguiled by the prevailing ‘celebrity’ culture?

In Psychology Today, writer Carlin Flora suggests that our fascination with celebrity is a cultural obsession with the three A’s affluence, attractiveness and achievement as our common goal. Affluence, attractiveness and achievement are desirable and in themselves may not be harmful, but they have the power to divert individual’s especially young people from the noble goals of community, charity and commitment.

 

Sexualisation

Mental health experts say more and more youngsters are being influenced by the “sexualisation of girls,” a term coined in a report released by the American Psychological Association. What ‘role models’ do your children follow?

The research analyzed the content and effects of virtually every form of media, including television, music videos, music lyrics, magazines, movies, video games and the Internet. It also examined recent advertising campaigns and merchandising of products aimed toward girls.

What they found was a sort of “Girls Gone Wild” effect in which young girls are succumbing to the pressure of sexualization by posting nude pictures of themselves on the Internet, allowing boyfriends to photograph them in the nude and making their own amateur porn videos.

“The consequences of the sexualization of girls in media today are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls’ healthy development,” said Eileen L. Zurbriggen, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California.

As a result of an over-sexed society, young girls are reaping the following mental health issues:
undermine a person’s confidence in and comfort with her own body, leading to emotional and self-image problems, such as shame and anxiety.

Sexual Development

Research suggests that the sexualisation of girls has negative consequences on girls’ ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image.

“As a society, we need to replace all of these sexualized images with ones showing girls in positive settings—ones that show the uniqueness and competence of girls,” said Zurbriggen. “The goal should be to deliver messages to all adolescents—boys and girls—that lead to healthy sexual development.”

 

As to the effect the afore-mentioned celebrities have upon our society? I have to say it’s mostly negative. Although they do not ask for the amount of attention they receive, they maintain an image that is terrifying. To me, celebrities are symbolic of an age where beauty, where fashion and superficiality are more important than your faithfulness, education, integrity spirituality and your sense of self.

The world of the celebrity is one where drugs, sex and beauty are traded on a daily basis. Social and physical capital is more important than godly capital. Models throw themselves at photographers in the hopes of securing a fashion shoot. Celebrities strike me as being eternal children, particularly those who have been introduced to the lifestyle at an early age. Psychologically, people only grow up by living through the tough times that life throws at you. Celebrities live in a cushioned world where little of this registers. And their selfish attitude encourages others in society to think the same way.

 

Quotes:

Germaine Greer – Pioneering feminist Germaine Greer has despaired at the growth of a “paedophillic culture” obsessed with celebrity, looks and sex.

Speaking to a packed Wellington Town Hall for the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival, Greer said the next generation was at real risk. “They are besotted with celebrity culture, asking their parents for cosmetic surgery. It’s a society where everyone has to be blond. There has been no other female stereotype more oppressed than this one. …………… “Just look at [model] Kate Moss, she’s 45 but she looks like she’s 12, yet we are all terrified of paedophilia. We are becoming a paedophillic culture and we have to resist, resist, resist.”

 

“We are interested-and young women are obsessed-with celebrity weight because stars are our benchmark in terms of fashion, glamour, and beauty,” TV Producer Alice Keens-Soper tells Yahoo! Shine. Keens-Soper, who helped create the BBC documentary “Super Slim Me” in which a faux want-to-be actress struggles to lose twenty pounds in eight weeks to become a perfect “Hollywood size zero,” adds, “And we love to gloat about celebrities who have ‘fallen,’ i.e. who are ‘too fat,’ have ‘lost it,’ and have proved that they are as glamorous and ‘real’ as we mere mortals.”

The CelebrityCafe.com: The pedestal on which we have put movie stars, sports figures, and famous people could give some people neck strain. We idolize them, follow their every move, and treat them as modern gods. There is a giant media subculture around the cult of personality. Gossip and news about the rich and famous is big business. Magazines like People and Us Weekly, TV shows like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, and a long list of blogs such as Gossip Girl, TMZ.Com, and Perez Hilton have captured our imagination. More specifically, the celebrities on which they report have. These days, there are more celebrity magazines than real news mags in the United States. Simply go to a grocery store to see how obsessed America is with our neo-royalty.

In our culture, celebrity news often takes the headlines above world events. We build them up as modern gods, and tear them down when they show us they are all too human. They make an easy object of obsession, as celebrities are ubiquitous. And the paparazzi have helped this craze by blurring the line between private citizens and public persona. When Princess Diana died, it was in a high speed getaway to escape reporter/stalkers. French courts ruled that photographers were not responsible for her death, but it clearly drives home the point: Our obsession with the rich and famous has a cost on us, and on them

Iain Duncan Smith: In an interview reflecting on the summer riots, he complained that the “celebrity culture” in Britain meant children took their role models from The X Factor and Premier League football.

He said that more needed to be made of people who had become successful out of “serious hard work”.

“We seem to be a society that celebrates all the wrong people.

“Kids are meant to believe that their stepping stone to massive money is The X Factor.

“Luck is great, but most of life is hard work. We do not celebrate people who have made success out of serious hard work.”

So how do we, as Christians, deal with the Celebrity Culture Exodus 20 v 1-5

Philippians 4 v 8

Matthew 13 v 22

John 17 v 15-17

1 Tim 6 v 17

Titus 2 v 12

Fruit of the Spirit

If we want our children [and may I say adults too] to live with the understanding that we are more than the sum of our achievements and failures, more than the sum of our possessions and salaries and more than our appearance and image. We must give our children the tools to examine or celebrity crazed culture.

Great Questions:

For children

  1. Resist putting a TV/computer in your Childs bedroom. This helps the parent to know what is viewed, this way you can discuss the program contents.
  2. Reflect on the celebrities they idolize. Ask: would you want to be known simple because of your looks or money rather than being a good, kind and thoughtful person?
  3. Regularly affirm and express appreciation to important people who serve in your community. By appreciating kindness, faithfulness and goodness of ordinary people you model ‘everyday hero’s’ and thereby teach your child a new value system.
  4. Re-examine assumptions, encourage your kids to be Sceptical. Get them to ask questions. Is the only reason I like ‘so and so’ because they are on TV?

For adults

  1. Resist being a advertising junkie, remind yourself that advertisers works by making you feel a ‘loser’ if you do not have the latest gadget. Before you make the next purchase; why not first consider the full purchase price and ask yourself ‘Do I really need this item?
  2. Reflect on who you idolize? Do you regularly fantasies about your neighbours wife?, car?, job? Salary? Do you find yourself continuously saying “if only such and such would happen……….” Why is it we always compare ourselves with those who have more, rarely with the majority who have less?
  3. Regularly review your lifestyle; does my friendship circle only reflect my social standing? Do I have friends who are unemployed, aged, immigrants or disabled? Should I down size my house so that I could be more generous? When was the last time I gave a generous financial gift? Ask am I a taker or a giver?
  4. Re-examine your heroes, have you been seduced by toxic media, that seeks to shape your thinking and choices, Are you aspiring to a lifestyle that has more to do with this worlds values? Should you consider going on a media fast?

There is a tendency to think in linear terms relative to the course of history and the church. In other words, we assume that things were once good, especially in Britain. To be sure, many things were probably better in some ways in the past, but some things were also worse.

Life in eighteenth century Britain was particularly brutal, decadent, violent, and vulgar. Slavery was only the worst of a host of social evils that included epidemic alcoholism, child prostitution, child labour, frequent public executions for petty crimes, public dissections, and burnings of executed criminals, and unspeakable cruelty to animals. I think it can be shown that it was Christian reformers that challenged the prevailing culture and demanded change. Do we need Christian families who refuse to be seduced by the fashions of this culture and march to the drum beat of this world, Christian that will live counter cultural lives?

A note of warning to the Church:

Need also to be careful about the Church – there are many “celebrity” preachers and pastors and people will travel miles just because their favourite speaker is in town ! Mega-Churches bring fame and fortune to their leaders

http://owenstrachan.com/2009/03/09/carl-trueman-on-christian-celebrity-culture-and-the-churchs-future/

The American church reflects the culture: ministries built around individuals, around big shots, churches that focus on god-like guru figures, all of them pointing to one door.  I have lost count of the conversations I have had with church people anxious to tell of who they heard at this conference, of which person they corresponded with, of how this opinion or that opinion would not sit well with this demi-god and is therefore of little value; and, of course, of how anyone who disagrees with, or criticizes, this chosen hero must, of necessity be morally depraved and wicked.  People want the gods to do their thinking for them.  All of the Pelagian, Manichean celebrity malarkey of the American political process is alive and well in the church as well.  The question is: when it comes to churches and ministries built around messiahs who are supposed to point not to themselves but to the true door, who is going to have the guts to leave the temple?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s