When Celebrity Fandoms Become Idolatry & Why It's So Toxic

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How Celebrity Fandoms Are Actually Idolatry & Why It's So Toxic
Entertainment And News

We all are guilty of loving a celebrity just a little too much without it crossing the line of idolatry. 

But what happens when the love for a celebrity starts to cross a line and the casual fan starts to worship the air around their idol?

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What is Idolatry?

Idolatry is originally a religious term that refers to is the worship of an idol or cult image, being a physical image, such as a statue, or a person in place of God.

For example, saying that one person is better than God and any form of God because of their personality, talent, or looks. 

Celebrity worship is modern-day idolatry.

Fans of certain celebrities (singers or actors) have gotten to the point where they put these celebrities on a pedestal and say that they could do no wrong.

This isn’t the same as celebrities thinking they are better than everyone else, this is mainly focused on fans thinking that the person they are a fan of is such a good and amazing person and has tunnel vision if they were to ever do anything wrong. 

Celebrity fandoms sometimes take idolizing too far.

Harry Styles Fans

An older video shows fans worshipping Harry Styles' vomit. While some fans might be joking (because why would they want someone to throw-up on them?), it’s hard to tell if the person was only joking or if they truly want vomit from Mr. Styles to grace their skin.  

Timothée Chalamet Fans

Hela Gomulwal wrote an article about her experience sitting in with fans of the young star at a movie premiere perfectly encapsulates what fans do while waiting to see their favorite star, even if for a short glimpse of the top of the head.

She describes that while waiting, fans exchanged statements like these “If he's wearing make-up and looks flawless again like he did at the Korean premiere I will literally jump off a cliff,” and “I would literally let him step on my face if I could.” 

Taylor Swift Fans 

A review posted by Pitchfork in July 2020 gave Swift's Folklore album an overall rating of 8.0, which isn’t such a bad rating. But fans were not happy that Folklore did not receive a perfect rating that many believe blindly it deserves and even went as far as doxxing the author's personal information and sending her death threats. 

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Idolatry becomes an unhealthy obsession.

Walls lined with posters of the celebrity, tattoos inspired by favorite song lyrics, even buying products the celebrity-endorsed is just something a fan does that doesn't cause harm. But when it turns into an obsession, it's gone too far.

Obsession with a celebrity includes: 

Reading fanfiction

Fanfiction is a type of fictional text written by fans of any work of fiction where the author uses copyrighted characters, settings, or other intellectual properties from an original creator as a basis for their writing where the author includes a way for the reader to put themselves in the story (self-inserts) with the celebrity, not the character. 

Stalking

Some "fans" have gone on to find out everything about the celebrity to the point of stalking them on social media, like looking through their likes and what they comment on and pretending to be family members in order to get information about them.

Harassing

Some people have pretended to be in a relationship with the celebrity and if they are seen with someone else, threaten that person with violence such as death threats. Others have sent hate to someone who either doesn't agree the celebrity is a perfect being or thinks they don't deserve as much praise as fans are giving them.

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Why is idolatry toxic? 

This is toxic for the celebrity because like mentioned earlier, it places them in a box that if they don’t hold to those standards set by the fans they feel like their fans will lose interest. 

For example, the song Idle Worship by Paramore. The song itself was written by lead singer Hayley about her “realization that she isn’t the person fans and people around her think she is. She has long been a prominent figure in the pop-punk/emo scene due to her unique vocals and charisma. The celebrity aspect of being in that role led to people idolizing her,” according to Genius.

Some lyrics that perfectly describe how Idolatry is bad for the celebrity include:

“Be sure to put your faith in something more

I'm just a girl and you're not as alone as you feel”

“Oh, it's such a long and awful lonely fall

Down from this pedestal that you keep putting me on

What if I fall on my face? What if I make a mistake?

If it's okay a little grace would be appreciated”

“Oh, no, I ain't your hero (eh, eh, eh)

You're wasting all your faith on me

Oh, no, I know where this goes (eh, eh, eh)

Think it's safe to say your savior doesn't look a thing like me”

Another example is that fans believe anything that the celebrity releases are praiseworthy and should be viewed as revolutionary. Yes, sometimes actors and musicians release things that do showcase their talent and should be presented for others to enjoy. But when it comes to differing opinions, fans who idolize their idol tend to only see in one color and will tear down anyone else who sees something different.

It's okay to be a fan of a celebrity, that's why they do what they do. But going so far as worshipping the ground they walk on and having tunnel vision to the point if the celebrity does make a mistake, fans will rush to their aid and make up excuses for them is overstepping a line. 

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Isabell Tenorio is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, love and relationship topics.