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Big Brother and Our Big Celebrity Obsession

Big Brother and Our Big Celebrity Obsession

dappy big brother

Layla Haidrani delves into the world of the celebrity, and in doing so, questions society’s crude obsession with them.

What do Sam Faiers, Ollie Locke and Luisa Zissman all have in common? Besides being minor celebrities, singers and reality TV stars, these tabloid favourites are part of the twelve housemates in this year’s Celebrity Big Brother which kicked off on 3rd January on Channel 5.

Marking the thirteenth series of Celebrity Big Brother, it beggars belief how it can still cause controversy and end up amongst the trending topics on Twitter. But we only need to look at how fabricated the reality TV show really is to see how it appeals to the masses. With a serial celebrity dater, a glamour model and a former boy band sensation, the audience are hooked on the fights, fireworks and the drama.

The fact that this series is continuing to run and is still watched by many is merely symptomatic of a wider phenomenon in society – our utter obsession with celebrities. During the Hollywood boom of the 1950s, celebrities were untouchable. Yet by the early noughties, the arrival of magazines such as HeatCloser and Reveal contributed to a change in culture, so much so that a celebrity walking down the road or eating out is front-page news.

Now, celebrity culture has escalated more than anyone could predict; through a mere click of the mouse, we can see or hear them on the television, find out what they’re wearing or eating on Instagram, or even converse with them on Twitter.

With more and more forms of social networking sites to converse with their followers, celebrities have enabled both fans and trolls, as they are now known, to keep track of their every move. And it seems to work – an innocent peruse around the social media profiles of Made in Chelsea stars such as Lucy Watson and the Kardashians reveal obsessive fans begging to be followed, dubbing them role models. In this way, Twitter has decreased the ‘mystique’ of the celebrity due to us being able to communicate with them on relatively equal terms.

Moreover, Celebrity Big Brother provides a perfect platform where the celebrities can change misrepresentations of themselves in the press, thereby boosting their popularity and ensuring further exposure, possibly even resulting in financial profit during a glut in popularity.

Anyone questioning Dappy’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother need only know that he is at present declared bankrupt. The show will provide him with enough profits, be it through interviews, selling goods or being the new face of a brand, to keep going. Even if a celebrity on the show is reviled, the British press most likely will scope out interviews, wanting to feed our hatred even more, thus finding a profitable venture for themselves, too.

So why do we have such an embedded celebrity culture? Perhaps celebrity culture has been so voraciously consumed by the masses because it deviates away from real-life issues and problems. As Chris Martin argues, “Celebrity culture has gone crazy, and I think the reason is that real news is just not bearable, and it also seems impossible to change anything.”

Trying to emulate the lives of higher profile celebrities such as Rihanna, the Kardashians and the Made in Chelsea stars in their fashion choices, Instagram pictures and frequenting their branded stores is perhaps more of an achievable goal than ending world poverty.  In this sense, it is pure escapism.

After all, there is something to be said for the fact that Kim Kardashian has over 18 million followers on Twitter, whereas Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, has about 9,000 followers.

From OK! magazine photo shoots to perfume advertisements, Celebrity Big Brother is not the last place we’ll see the contestants. Celebrity Big Brother is symptomatic of our obsession with celebrity culture, and this doesn’t appear to be disappearing any time soon.

Now, I wonder which ‘celebrity’ is next going to release a fragrance, clothing line or chart-topper? My money’s on Dappy.

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