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Why Do We Worship Famous People and Celebrities?

Updated on April 28, 2014
Pretty Angelina
Pretty Angelina

Celebrity Obsession

What is it a about celebrities that so obsesses us? Think about it, we even call them idols. It is not just that we enjoy their work, be it singing or acting or playing golf. We want to know all the nitty gritty details about their personal life, and the more personal the better. There is a huge thriving industry selling us the dirt on celebrities. Here is an interesting fact; People Magazine has a weekly audience of 4.6 million readers and has the largest audience of any American magazine. That is a lot of gossip, but more frightening, that is a lot of people spending their time and money reading about people they don’t even know. There are also plenty of TV shows running in prime time that are exclusively about celebrities such as Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and Extra. And there are people becoming rich and are now celebrities themselves by blogging about the stars. Perez Hilton (real name Mario Lavandeira) is one such blogger.

A beautiful Halle Berry
A beautiful Halle Berry

Celebrity Worship Syndrome

Celebrity worship is becoming such a problem psychologists even have a name for it, Celebrity Worship Syndrome or CWS. There are different levels of intensity but a study done at The University of Liecester found that a whopping 36 percent of British citizens suffer from this disorder. Physiologist and Author John F. Shumaker says “CWS is an obsessive addictive disorder in which a person becomes involved with the details of a celebrities personal life”. In researching this article I came across one story of a woman who cut her own wrists and throat when her favourite celebrity got engaged. Luckily, she lived to obsess another day. And another extreme of this disorder is people stalking their favourite star. It was a sad day for the world when John Lennon was killed by a “fan”. While most of us go nowhere near these extremes, there is still a wide spread fascination with the famous.

Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber

The O Effect

Companies know this about us and are cashing in on it. Think of all the celebrity endorsed products. Taylor Swift, Shania Twain, J Lo, Halle Berry, Justin Bieber and Madonna all have their own perfume. Do we even want to smell like them? You can get a credit card with The Kardashians on it, Jessica Simpson has her own shoe line and Oprah has made people very rich by just mentioning their product. There is even a name for this; it is called The O Effect.

Candle In The Wind

The Rise And Fall

Why do we give them this God like stature? We put them so high on a pedestal that if they fall, they fall very hard and in the spotlight. And this, of course, is more fodder for the gossip junkies. We almost seem to take pleasure in their misfortune or mistake. We have an almost moral superiority even though we still can’t help but gawk at every detail of their fall. We act as if they have let us down personally, as if they somehow owed it to us to remain perfect.

They owe us nothing. They are business people, that is all. If they have a movie or song to sell us, it is up to us to buy it, or not. This does not give us the right to peer into their personal lives, who they are sleeping with, how much weight they have gained or how their marriages are going. The transaction is completed when you buy their goods.

Micheal Jackson
Micheal Jackson

Some Popular Weekly Gossip Magazines

  • People
  • The National Enquirer
  • Star Weekly
  • Life and Style
  • In Touch
  • OK! Magazine
  • Globe Weekly
  • National Examiner
  • Us Weekly

We are living in a time of mass communication and instant information gratification. We can use all these wonderful new tools to connect with real people, advance understanding between people and cultures and share information that others can build on. The time we are living in is unprecedented and we have many amazing opportunities. Or, we can gossip.


And let’s remember the celebrities are just people. People packaged up very nicely, but people all the same. They have the same ups and downs, fears and joys, successes and challenges as the rest of us. When they stumble and fall let’s have the good grace to look away. We can appreciate them when they entertain us, for that is their job, and then get on with our own lives.

Great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events, small minds talk about people. Eleanor Roosevelt

Watch This 1:13 Minutes Of Hysteria

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    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      sheri faye, i don't think that we necessarily worship celebrities, i think as a society that we find them extremely beautiful and powerful associating as always in our society that the more money you have, the more power you have. nice hub. voted up.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I think some people are obsessed with celebrities..at least we love to read all the gossip and know what is going on in their lives. Very well done.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Sheri, it's funny you mentioned John Lennon in the beginning of this hub. That was the exact thought that came to my mind as I was reading.

      Very well written, by the way!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Hi Torrilynn...thanks for dropping by. I don't think we all worship celebs but some people do. I think about poor Diana...poor woman was hounded to death.

      Carol thank you. I learned a lot researching this hub.

      Bravewarrior Thank you and I love John Lennon's song Imagine. His death was a big loss to the music world!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Sheri, Imagine is the epitome of my outlook on life. It's one of those songs that I tell everyone to hush up and listen whenever I hear it!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Yeah! See he was right...he is not the only one!

    • aziza786 profile image

      Zia Uddin 4 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your article, thanks for sharing. Celebrities are indeed ordinary people and it's the fans that made them so famous. Celebrity worship syndrome? I learn something new everyday, but I wonder if these psychologists have the answer to this problem and how to treat people with CWS.

      I myself adore many celebrities but did not go to such lengths as if to worship them. Generally, those fans who are deeply obsessed with celebrities usually are living their own phase and development, and as they get older, this obsession of worshiping celebrities will eventually pass away. That's what I think but some fans are die hard fans and may require psychological help. Voted up your hub.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      In thr research I did they didn't say how they treated those with CWS. They did say that they were usually anti social and with drawn..maybe they are living in fantasy instead of real life. Thanks for dropping by and I appreciate your support!

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

      Absolutely delightful article. I feel sure if some of the "worshipers" actually got to know the object of their intense affection they might decide they aren't fans of that particular entity at all. Among those I've met there's the good, the bad and the ugly -- and the delightful few who remain true to themselves and are actually real! Very enjoyable read and I thank you! Best/Sis

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      It is pretty amazing to see how fame elevates a person seemingly "above the masses" so to speak. I think worship is the key word here as well, some people devote whole shrines to certain people they're infatuated with! Very interesting read and voting up Sheri!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Angela thank you for your comment. I have a friend who was a huge fan of a celeb and she got to meet her....and...well...the crush was off!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't think I have ever been in awe of celebrities as an adult. I do remember a serious crush on Monroe when I was a kid, but any rational human being, once they become an adult, should realize that celebrities are just people with the same, if not more, problems. Good job on this one, Sheri!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Hey Bill,

      Yes I was sure Donny Osmond was the only boy for me when I was a tweenie. Alas, he seems to have made a good life for himself without me. And I am sure ever red blooded male had a crush on Marilyn...such a beautiful lady. Thanks for dropping by Bill..BTW is there any way to know who new hubbers are? I would like to connect with other newbies and don't really know how to do this. If you can help, thanks!

    • Paul Bisquera profile image

      Paul Bisquera 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      I think people are delusional worshiping another person, who is usually a "bad role-model" but that's the way society is nowadays. If there was no religion (which is barely hanging on to their own followers), this is what society would be doing 24/7 today.

      Great topic Sheri Faye!

    • wildove5 profile image

      wildove5 4 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

      I think for some, reading about the trials, tribulations and fame of others is what makes some of us realize we are all human. We put our pant's on the same way, except, for some, their pants are a size 1 and cost more than mosts monthly salary. Good write!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Paul thanks for your comment. Funny you should mention religion. In the research I did some are saying our lack of religion is one of the reasons CWS is such a problem...as in apparently we need something to worship.

      Wildoves thank for the comment. You may be right and that is funny about the size one and the cost.

    • DIYmommy profile image

      Julie 4 years ago

      It's funny that you had published this so close to the Oscars. Perfect timing. I admit, my husband and I watched at least a portion of them....and, if nothing else, it is fascinating to see the extent that people are infatuated by celebrities. From who they are dating, to what they are wearing on the red carpet, people become so engrossed in the lives of celebrities that, even at a steep cost, they have to do or have they latest things they are promotiong. Great (and very timely) hub!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thank you DIYmommy. It was a a coincidence that I published at the time of the Oscars. I watched the Oscars too and really enjoyed the singing. Thanks you for dropping by!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I get a little irritated with all of the press about celebrities. It's just "fluff" to me. There are some that I don't mind hearing about briefly, but to me they are just regular people with spectacular lives, living right there where everyone can see them. I would not want to live like that, but at least they get paid a lot.

      This is a great article. Thanks for sharing your research with us!

      I bet the photo is going to attract a lot of people over time. Jolie is one of the most popular actresses in this time, and she is so pretty.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks Kathryn. I know what you mean about "fluff". I have much better things to think about than movie stars! And I would not want to live in the public eye all the time either. I don't know if all their lives are spectacular. So much drug use, suicide and broken marriages. Well, at least they have lots of money to help ease their pain. Thanks again!

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      wendyjean2001 4 years ago

      Great article Sheri Faye. Celebrity idolization is an epidemic in our western society. Just look at American Idol and The It Factor and shows like that. They confirm, especially to young people, that to be famous is the ultimate success. Great job bringing this to our attention.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks for your comment Wendyjean. You are right!

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Generally, these celebs and their lives fascinates us, let's admit it. However, I am not that personally crazy about them and not one to waste my money on celeb mags, although I'd read them while on the waiting line cash out in the supermarket. Why not? :)

      I love Michael Jackson (as an artist) and his music though and for that I am guilty, your honor.

      Great entertaining hub! Thanks.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks CrisSp. Yes I thought M Jackson was a brilliant artist. I love the work of lots of actors and musicians, I think there is a difference between appreciating the work of someone and being personally obesses with the artist. Thanks for reading!

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Nice hub Sheri. People worship celebrities because of all the glamor and prestige associated with them, and their lifestyle They are unreachable and a fantasy for many people. But you are right. They are just people just like all of us and go through the same things as we do. Thanks for a nice read.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thank you for reading Careermommy. And they put on their pants one leg at a time just like you and I.

    • profile image

      Dave 4 years ago

      Nice job Sheri! The inner writer has emerged!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
      Author

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks David. I appreciate your support. So far I am loving this new life.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      I have often pondered why people spend time finding out things about people they don't know. Perhaps its CWS....or something about them that strikes a chord. It's puzzling, and sometimes worrying. The kids in one of my English classes actually decorated the entire back of the classroom with Justin Bieber posters and for the life of me, I still wonder why! It can be an addiction if not careful. Thanks for sharing, Sheri!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks Midget38. Yes I don't get it either. I was just talking to my hubby and out of all my hubs this one is getting the most hits by far. He thinks I should write more movie star stuff, but it is really the last thing I am interested in.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

      We are definitely obsessed with well-known people who are mostly known for being known. And so often, it's for the most shallow reasons. Someone lives a life of excess, and we want to watch it every week.

      Great hub, as always!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      You are right Marcy. Famous for being famous! Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Joanne M Olivieri 3 years ago

      Putting them on a pedestal as you have said is the problem. They are just people like us but because of they are famous we look at them in a different light and expect them to be perfect. It is very sad, really. Great hub.

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 3 years ago from Parts Unknown

      I agree that CWS is a problem that is inflicting many. I don't quite understand why people feel the need to worship at the church of Oprah and other celebrities. But maybe I'm just bitter that I am not famous and no one is worshiping me. Great hub! I enjoyed it immensely!

    • Ericajean profile image

      Ericajean 3 years ago

      What's in a name? What's in fame?

      The only difference between Us and Them, is the airtime the celebrities receive. This is why celebrity worship is a clear sign of people without a life. Let me say this gently: There are some celebrities who I respect simply because of their community services outside of television. It is quite alright to watch movies, listen to their music, etc. but where do we draw the line?

      We buy their products, quote their songs and sentences, buy hair to look like them and discuss them with friends...and they do not know who we are.

      YouTube has made it largely possible for anyone to get airtime. Now, some may be thinking, "Well talent goes with airtime."

      True. But there are many talented people trying to make it everywhere so they may get to that celebrity status-and fail.

      I watch Japanese Animations mostly anyway. Some stars are too overrated.

      Good hub though -Informative.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks Ericajean. I agree with you!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Hi Sheri,

      Thank you for sharing an awesome hub on a new topic with lot of originality and creativity in it. I liked it.

      Yes, I know people who worship celebrities. I see them everyday on the streets of Toronto and also within my family friends. But most celebrities don't keep up their end of bargain, failing their fans miserably.

      However, I do admire those celebrities who go beyond the call of duty to protect disenfranchised people, support nature conservation, cruelty to animals, raising charities. I have my own list of celebrities that I admire (not worship though) and take lot of encouragement from their work. One may not agree with me, but the main picture on this hub, of Angelina Jolie, also reminds me of this person's beauty, from both outside and inside.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      I agee Suhail. Lots of celebs do amazing work. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Veerrry interesting. This is a fascinating subject. How clever you were to think of writing about it. And, you chose such great photos!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks rebeccamealy. I wrote it because all those celeb shows like ET bug the hck out of me, but are soooo popular. I think people need to get on living their own lives instead of worrying about what Angie and Brad are up to. Thanks for commenting.

    • MJennifer profile image

      Marcy J. Miller 3 years ago from Arizona

      While I have exceedingly little interest in celebrities, I do take an interest in the fact that society has become ever-increasingly obsessed with them, and I find it inexcusable that paparazzi hound them to death in the name of satisfying the public's insatiable curiosity about their private lives. It's a sad statement about society that we make idols of actors and actresses -- people who are famous for the irony of pretending to be someone whom they are not -- yet we have little esteem for true achievement. Stephen Hawking? Now there's a "celebrity" I'd love to meet. Angelina Jolie? Please don't give her my number -- I'm busy that year! Seriously, though, you brought up a great topic, and I'm surprised and interested that there's even a working name for the obsession with celebrity! Good job --

      MJ

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      I agree with you. Now S. Hawkings...there is a real life celeb! Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      FIssyVanhggray 3 years ago

      True so true, nice explanation... Thank u (:

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thank you Flssy!

    • PaisleeGal profile image

      Pat Materna 3 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Interesting topic and thot provoking hub! And so true for so many people.

      I think the last quote by E Roosevelt sums it all up! Think I will have to save that quote and put to memory.

      Great Job!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks PaisleeGal...I love that quote too and it is so true!

    • profile image

      Keith 3 years ago

      Instead of worshiping celebrities, why not worship yourself or God

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Very interestign indeed. Voted up.

      Eddy.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks Eiddwen, I am glad you found it interesting.

    • profile image

      Phil Harminics 2 years ago

      Why would anyone want to worship the stars that are druggies, drunks, and trainwrecks? What kind of role models are they? And as far as beauty goes, have you seen some without makeup? They are absolutely hideous. Why people, why?

    • profile image

      Joe hole 2 years ago

      Celebrities frighten me, I don't recognize them but everyone around me does. People start acting strange and more rude than normal. I need the industry for income that the workers bring me but I don't like it. I would rather live a real life than a pretend one as served on TV .

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 2 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Phil I think the point is that their personal lives are their won...including their battles with substance abuse....just as you and I have our own challenges so do celebrities....they are people...paid to entertain us...that is it! As far as how some look without makeup....why should we care? Why are those pictures splashed all over the place when some sleazy photographer gets an unattractive shot of one of them??? Would you want the whole world gawking at a bad picture of you?? Again...it is none of anyones business and as for me...I am too busy living my own life to worry about how someone looks without makeup.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Sheri,

      A question for the ages and I think you answered it well.

      I really love this hub. And here are the reasons why:

      1. This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, it is amazing.

      2, I loved the way you worded this hub.

      3. Graphics, superb.

      4. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.

      5. Voted Up and all of the choices.

      6. I loved your topic of this hub.

      You are certainly a gifted writer. Please keep up the fine work.

      Sincerely,

      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • Sheri Faye profile image
      Author

      Sheri Dusseault 2 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thank you Kenneth!

      t

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Sheri,

      You are very welcome. I meant every word. Keep up the fine work and I cannot wait until you follow me. I can really learn from your style of writing.

    • profile image

      Ed 2 years ago

      Hi,

      I'd just like to say i found your research really interesting. Thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image

      laura 2 years ago

      I couldn't care less about celebs. After all they are just people. I do like genuine people and genuine things. I like honesty and trustworthlyness.

    • profile image

      Keith Jackson 2 years ago

      Sheri, I think you hit it right on the head when you say that celebrities are just people and sometimes have the same problems that we have like paying bills, caring for families, etc! This obsession with celebrities is just what it is............ an obsession! If you want to obsess over somebody, obsess over yourself!

    • profile image

      Gil 19 months ago

      Yes celebrities are not important than a everyday person walking down the street.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 19 months ago from London England

      So sadened to hear of the passing of Cilla Black (real name Pricilla White). The coverage of Cilla's funeral was a glowing tribute to this Diva who entertained us over half a century. However London's gutter press which gave an unwarranted 7 pages the following day is the same 'rag' that misreported the cause of the Hillsborough stadium tragedy and have still yet to retract their outrageous accusation!

    • profile image

      Limpet 6 months ago

      The first celebrity whom i physically and metaphorically worshiped was Sophia Loren, that was in the days when she was still single and was then working out of Hollywood. La Divina as i referred to Miss Loren was and still is my ideal. She could portray a Queen with the dignity of royalty or the sauciness of a slave girl which she did more than once. During the James Bond phase Miss Loren even took to espionage a few times.

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