Royal Bodies

Evidence from history proves that the Ancient Greek civilization was obsessed with Idols. From their superhuman strength to their unparallel beauty, mere mortals have gravitated towards images greater than they are. This holds as much truth today as it did four thousand years ago. In today’s culture, instead of praying to false Idols, we are obsessed with the idea of celebrity due to the impact that the media holds. The media, to be specific is obsessed with celebrity and vice versa; due to the power that each holds. When a magazine puts someone famous on its cover, people are more enticed to buy it.

Hilary Mantel dares to make the rather obvious point that the royal body is public property. She describes the Duchess as “becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung…, a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own.”

Mantel states that it is important that the Duchess of Cambridge is young, pretty and now demonstrably fertile. She contrasts Kate’s all-important reliability to the tragically unstable egos of Marie Antoinette and Diana, Princess of Wales, writing that the Duchess “seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character.”

Living in a technological era, we have access to the tabloids more than ever before. There are television sets, magazine covers, Internet blogs, and movies screaming to be read and watched, and they are plastered with images of these tacky celebrities. Now, in an age where we have more contact with celebrity gossip than we have ever had, we are faced with a question: what are the effects that superstars have on our youth?

Celebrities influence fans to be destructively thin, put harmful substances in their bodies, and many parents are concerned with the overall content these celebrities are putting on television, in movies, and over the Internet. Pop culture idols need to think twice before making a poor decision or practicing awful morals because of their influence on their young fans and other people who may look up to them.

Even reality television plays a factor into the media’s obsession with celebrity. MTV has a show called “I Want a Famous Face” which highlights ordinary people who undergo several thousands of dollars worth of plastic surgery to achieve a look of a celebrity that they admire. We as a society are intrigued with lives far greater than our own. We look up to these undependable Idols to motivate us. Their beauty and status gives people something to strive for and imagine being a part of. The media as a whole feeds this obsession and is showing no sign of stopping anytime soon.

Their effect is especially evident in their appearance and attitudes. With celebrities creating impossible standards of beauty, more and more young adults are feeling ‘less confident, more angry, and more dissatisfied’ with their looks (National Institute on Media and the Family). Now, this cannot all be blamed on the media, but with celebrities becoming thinner and thinner, much self-confidence is lost and images of television stars or models have been connected to body displeasure (National Institute on Media and the Family). With television shows today including sexual content, violence, and adult language, children are exposed to unsuitable matter for their ages.

Since many parents work and are not always at home, kids have access to shows, movies, and the internet blogs that can tell them things that should be left for parents to explain. Stars need to be more aware of their images because some are allowing younger fans content that many parents do not want their child seeing. Celebrities have glamorized smoking in the media and are setting an example for supporters everywhere that it is acceptable to smoke. Pop culture icons need to support a drug free program instead of using harmful substances.

In the past, people learned how to live through religion and fear. Now, with fewer and fewer people attending Church, celebrity culture fulfills a certain spiritual value that is otherwise lost. Mantel said Kate had gone from being a ‘jointed doll on which certain rags are hung’ to a woman whose ‘only point and purpose’ was to give birth. She continued to say Kate ‘appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished’. What bothers me is that someone can judge the duchess from the outside with never having experience within the Royal family or even being a celebrity.

Hearing these things about the Royal family is like a chapter out of the bible for how to live like a royal. People get so obsessed with hearing trash talk about people who “ live better lives” than themselves. In the media’s rush to take snippets out of context and highlight the piece as royal-bashing the Duchess of Cambridge, they are completely missing the speculative insight of a royal’s physicality.

In the face of both royalty and celebrity, we are all too quick to forego one’s humanity. Celebrities need to change the way they act and how they are viewed. Their actions have more of an effect on us then many people believe they have. Thin, addicted celebrities are changing the way many young fans think and act. Celebrities need to change these horrible habits now and realize that they need to be more concerned with themselves and with their portrayal in the media.