It’s difficult to avoid the amount of Free Britney Hashtags that have bombarded my twitter feed as of late. It seemed Britney was taking action to look after her own well being by checking into a mental health facility in the midst of her Fathers illness. Though, if the internet is to be believed this is not quite the full story.
As we know she has been under her Father’s conservatorship for the last ten years. A legal concept that is normally reserved for those individuals who unable to care of themselves mentally/physically and financially. For example, people who suffer from Alzheimers, severe learning disabilities etc…
In an age where the stigma surrounding mental health has been challenged (although we still have a way to go) celebrities are now able to speak about the struggles they face without being silenced by the people around them wanting to preserve their brand and image for financial gain.
And I believe what is going on with Britney is not ok.
The fantasy of fame is something a lot of young people aspire to achieve — admittedly I’ve been guilty of this in the past. The celebrity lifestyle, admiration, millions in the bank, a career that is the envy of millions is all very enticing… how could anyone not be happy with all this?
Quite easily actually….
We as the general public only see a fraction of what these glorified people go through on a daily basis. What we don’t see is the complete lack of privacy, human flaws publicised worldwide and judged, addiction, mental illness, constant pressure, lack of freedom, isolation, stalkers, untrustworthy friends and family, being used, pushed by people who make money off you and of course remaining relevant.
And this is all without mentioning the sexual predation behaviour that has intoxicated these kind of industries for years. Thankfully because of the Me To movement these kind of behaviours are no longer tolerated. Celebrities (both men and women) have been legally silenced and prevented from exposing the dark side of fame for far too long.
And that’s if you do achieve success.
There are millions of hopeful starlets grinding everyday for a shot at the big time. The sacrifices, constant rejections, financial struggles, loss of hope, disappointment, instability, broken promises and so on. This is not to be ‘negative’ but to give a more balanced view of what the actual reality. My aim is to give insight into a fantasy Hollywood is selling and a lot of people are buying.
Celebrities are often shamed for voicing their struggles from people who think they have everything. If money and success were the key to peace and happiness we wouldn’t see so many meltdowns and deaths (especially suicide) from people in the public eye.
The media also doesn’t help! They appear to be the gatekeepers to the ‘true’ information and we are merely told what to believe without question — and we do. They create excite around stars and we become obsessed; then ultimately they drag them down. We’ve seen how the paparazzi have hounded and harassed celebrities including Britney Spears, Marilyn Monroe and of course Princess Diana, just to name a few, in such an inhumane way.
Even though as a society we are becoming more understanding towards people’s struggles it seems the craving for success still dominates — especially in the bigger cities. It’s not about what qualities you possess as a person; it’s about your financial power and career status.
I’ve noticed the idea of fame seems to appeal to those of us with more of a vulnerable soul (not by any means all). Often those of us who were not treated with the love and nurture it takes to create a healthy human being can probably understand how world wide adoration appears extremely attractive.
In contrast, what we have right now is what some iconic celebrities would love to have. They frequently pine for freedom, normality, stability and anonymity, which we take for granted. They may seem like basic privileges when you compare it to global stardom and millions in the bank but they are some of the most important of human needs. We all know that story of when Michael Jackson hired actors to ignore him in a supermarket setting just so he could experience what it feel like to be ‘normal’.
It is so easy to get swept up into the fantasy spell that has been cast upon us from an early age but one important point to emphasise is that even celebrities themselves have admitted what we see if not really them — it’s a strategically construct image that appeals to the masses. I remembered Cindy Crawford revealing how she wished she looked like how she did in the magazines, and that’s Cindy Crawford! Now Social media allows us ‘normies’ to experience that celebrity lifestyle; again only allowing people to see the ‘perfect’ version of ourselves — it’s not real life.
It is also possible that if you cannot find contentment with how your life as it is right now; then even if you attained fame it is more than likely you will not be happy with that life either after the novelty wears off — normally with this kind of thinking more is never enough.
Not that I’m a big fan of the show but it seems ‘Love Island’ has come under fire recently from the two contestants who completed suicide. An intense burst of fame is more likely to to crash when reality seeps through. Often big celebrities are managed, and I guess in some ways protected, but reality stars are often a ‘normie’ one day and thrust into the clutches of fame the next, without getting to select what parts they want and what parts they don’t. It’s a LOT to handle!
So we have established now success does not equal happiness so why may there be a slight niggling that says ‘it might’. As there are many people who seem fine and are able to reap the rewards of stay somewhat sane.
I believe there’s nothing wrong with having strong desires for success; I feel it’s great to pursue dreams, express yourself, push yourself and use your full potential. It only becomes a problem when your self worth becomes attached to the process.
Even my brief affair with the industry opened my eyes to some things I didn’t want to see. It asked a price from me I simply could not afford.
Whats wrong with a normal average life? Those of us who enjoy a ordinary lifestyle with enough money to only afford the necessaries with the occasional splurge?
Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Things like success, money, status, beauty are all fleeting. Sure, it’s great to have these things in our life but they should only compliment our life; not be the sole purpose of our existence — because what happens if you lose it? What do you have? And if you are looking for the external to validate your self worth then you will always be searching because nothing will ever be enough.
We are all experiencing this human experience called life; we are all on the same level with similar needs including love, support, understanding. True some of us are born with extreme talent or beauty, or born into a financially wealthy family with better opportunities but what does it matter? We all have a limited time on this earth, we all age, we all die, we only really have ourselves to face this life with.
What is the point in having all this fame and success when you still feel a void? Because as we’ve seen, from example, a career won’t fill that gap. Then you feel sad because you’re at the top of your game and still feel bad. And then on top of that you feel guilty because you ‘have everything’ but the feeling won’t leave. One of the main reasons people in the limelight develop addictions is because it’s an escape from reality, doesn’t;t sound like a ‘dream come true’ if you ask me (?) That and the fact that despite what they are going through emotionally/physically they are forced to be a performing monkey and bring in the sales. You become less of a person and more of a money making machine who is only worthwhile whilst you are bringing in the top dollar!
And all we see is a perfect veneer with the occasional crack to exposes what really goes on behind the scenes to push people to breaking point (?)
I wonder if people like Marilyn Monroe or Elvis had not pursued the careers they did that led to their untimely demise … would they still be around today?
Though saying this there are many people who live famous and/or successful lives and appear to be happy, content and prospering. I guess other elements contribute like a support team, getting into the business a bit later in life, not letting it define you (?) etc…
This article is in no way meant to discourage people from pursuing their passion. Just to give insight into a industry that proclaims to be something it isn’t. The reality is behind that one superstar you idolise is a lot of sacrifice, hard work, seediness and millions of people who face disappointment for not achieving that level of status.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, as previously mentioned it was not meant to spread negativity. Just to contribute towards a more balanced view.
It is important to have dreams and work hard but to also recognise when it eats up too much of your life and self worth; unfortunately fame may ask you to sacrifice these things in order to achieve greatness. How much do you really want it?
I will get back to posting regularly just settling down into Uni life which consists of a LOT of reading and a shock to the system!
Thank you for reading!