A New Age of Celebrity Worship
Experts help you understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of being the world's biggest fan.
Healthy, Happy, and Star Struck
While for some, celebrity worship can be unhealthy, experts say that for
most of us, it's a pleasant diversion that can actually improve our lives. This
is particularly true when the object of our interest sets a good example that
helps us strive to achieve our own ideals.
"If you idolize someone for their accomplishments, and those
accomplishments spurn you on to make gains in your own life, then admiring a
celebrity can have a positive influence on your ambition, or even your mental
health," says Aronowitz.
Indeed, many say that the popularity of Donald Trump's hit show The
Apprentice and his own new-found star status stemmed from the fact that
both he and the show provided a can-do attitude that inspired many young
viewers to move forward on their own dreams. This mirrors the success -- and
the feverish fan base -- for shows like American Idol, the Hollywood
dream machine that showcases fresh talent from around the country.
Experts say hero worship can yield even more positive results when
celebrities take to the streets with campaigns that encourage good health --
and ultimately help convince us to personally make changes in our own
"Celebrities can have a positive influence on our life, with positive
messages. They can be very helpful in terms of increasing awareness and
decreasing stigma about many problems, including health problems, that might
otherwise not get the attention they need," says Hollander.
Such was the case when Katie Couric launched her awareness campaign about
colon cancer, when Brooke Shields gave postpartum depression some much-needed
attention, or even when Michael J. Fox helped increase our own -- and our
politicians' -- interest in stem cell research.
"In this respect, a celebrity can act almost like a support group --
helping us to see that life is OK, that I can do this, you can do this,"
Indeed, if there is a key to being a "healthy" fan, experts say it
is in our ability to enjoy what a celebrity brings to our life, without them
becoming our life.
"If you can just have fun with it, if it's not replacing emotional
connections in your real life, then it's really all OK," Aronowitz