Paparazzi America. How Should We Treat Celebs?

Imagine giving a photographer complete permission to follow you around all day, taking pictures of each moment and posting whatever they want of you on his or her Instagram account. Maybe you woke up late and have to run errands with your sister. You are tired and in a bad mood, she makes a joke that just irritates you and you respond with a mean look. *Snap* That moment is captured and posted. It looks like you two must hate each other. Meanwhile three seconds later, she teases you about your bad mood and you are both laughing hysterically. The photographer decides not to capture that moment though. Then you go home and get ready for a family party. You are all dressed up. You look great. You open the door and *Snap* the photographer takes a picture from a funny angle and posts it.  No one can believe that you went out looking so awful; and they comment to let you know that that is how they feel! People you have never met, leaving comments on your pictures and judging your life for one entire day. Can you imagine?

Social Media is the where people post the best parts of themselves. We get to share about our lives with others. We can allow people to have a look into our lives from whatever perspective we choose. We share what we want, when we want; and we hide what we want to also. We get to control what others see, and thank God for that. For us, life is like this too. We choose who we want to share our most personal joys and struggles with. Celebrities do not have this luxury of choice.  Imagine having no control over what the public gets to know about you. Imagine having no privacy. None. Whatsoever.

For celebrities, this is everyday life, and social media is just the beginning. People follow celebrities around daily. Everywhere they go, people want pictures with them, people want to talk to them, take photos, and get autographs; and strangers want to act as if they are their best friends. Now, yes celebrities do choose fame most of the time, but does that mean that they should not be respected as people with feelings and the right to privacy and safety? I do not think so.

Celebrities choose to be put on display through the nature of their career, they choose to entertain and make themselves known to many people. People follow them and look up to them, and this is just all part of what they “sign up for.” But what is often forgotten or misunderstood, is the fact that celebrities are people. Real people, with feelings and heartache and struggles;  just like you and me. Yes, their job puts them on display to different levels based on the nature of their specific career and fan base, but why is it okay to judge and ridicule people who we do not even know? Why do we feel that we have a right to information about celebrities personal lives? We do not even know these people, so let’s not pretend to. I think that when celebrities struggles and imperfections are displayed, we like to focus on that because it makes us feel better about ourselves. When we see that these seemingly perfect people are messed up or imperfect in some way, we almost get excited to know that maybe we are not missing out on much by not being famous. Well this says a lot about human nature. At times it seems that we tend to care more about making ourselves feel good, than we do about respecting people. This is so wrong.

I recently saw a post from someone that I know and follow on social media, completely ridiculing Demi Lovato over the fact that she almost died recently from a drug overdose. This post said that she had this coming for her. That it was all her fault and that her own choices have led to this happening. There was no expression of concern or remorse, just lots of blame and judgements toward someone this girl does not even know. Many other people who do not even know her have posted things like this too. None of us have any clue what she has been through or what she struggles with, aside from what she shares. But if you had a friend who you knew was struggling, would you go up to her in her hospital bed or write her a letter in the event that something like this happened,  and tell her that she had this coming for her? I surely hope not.

In James 4:14, the Bible says “There is only one lawgiver and judge, the one who is able to save and destroy (God). But you-- who are you to judge your neighbor?” We have no authority to judge other people, it is God’s job and right to do that; because it is only He who can do so justly.  He is the only one who fully knows and understands our hearts. We are not called to judge others, so let’s stop doing that, whether it be celebrities or people in our everyday life. Let’s instead use our energy toward loving others, toward showing compassion and helping people. Life is so much better when we do that.

By Macy Waddingham