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Stars — They’re Just Like Us!

October 11, 2016
What is it about celebrities that merits a stream of endless death threats and hate?

I, for one, am both a participant and a spectator in this weird obsession with celebrities. I like to indulge in ~star~ gossip. I follow my future lover (lol sorry to my partner), Evan Peters, on Instagram and was bummed to hear that him and Emma Roberts got back together. I was disappointed when Brangelina fell out of love and their divorce was (and still is) a public spectacle. I was enraged when Jamie Lee Curtis misunderstood Obama and tweeted #AllLivesMatter (ew seriously C’MON).
Celebrities are in positions of power and privilege, and rightfully so. They have the ability to reach people who will listen, even if momentarily until they scroll to the next image on their Instagram feeds. Our culture has them on pedestals, their lives and secrets are accessible to anyone with internet. And any mistake they’ve made, either present or past, is scrutinized mercilessly (I’m not saying that celebrities shouldn’t be accountable for their mistakes, because they should — Jamie Lee Curtis, I’m talking to YOU!).

Images by Krizia Victoria
A few days ago Ema overheard the words, “She deserved it! I hate her!” in the confines of a shared workspace in Toronto. These words weren’t said jokingly or enviously about a friend or an acquaintance, but dry, full of malice and about a celebrity. The “she”, this person was referring to, was Kim Kardashian.
On Facebook alone, approximately 710K are talking about Kim and the events that transpired during Paris Fashion week. If you’ve chosen to avoid the news, Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint, gagged, and bound in her hotel room in Paris. The robbers made off with her iPhone and approximately $10 million dollars worth of jewellery. Sad, right?

“This is the reason u got robbed in paris [sic]” or “You are a celebrity, you should know better,” and “they should have skinned you alive.you’d deserve it [sic],” populate the comments beneath her well-curated pictures.

As news and tidbits of information are slowly seeping out into the mass media, and conspiracy theorists are arguing whether or not “Kim staged this robbery,” the one thing I can’t stop thinking about is how bad I feel for Kim and her family.
Whether she experienced this traumatic experience organically, or it was a rouse to garner more publicity and fame (I hope it’s the former), no one deserves bad things to happen to them. Not to mention, no one should have to read comments praising their assailants, or reading visceral reactions wishing that they had died.

Personally, I am impartial to the Kardashians. Although I understand how people find their saturation of the news annoying, I do not hate them. I recognize their cultural capital, and although debatable to most people, I applaud their success and business endeavours. The hate and apathy towards Kim shows the gross way we dehumanize celebrities.
The response to her frightening reality, by justifying it as something that was deserved, something that was coming, is sad. Just because these people are well-known, doesn’t mean they are less of a person. The trolls on the Internet only felt sympathy, when reminded that yes, she is a mother. Yes, she is a daughter. Yes, she is a person. It’s easy to forget that these public, floating figures are real people, trying to navigate through their own lives the best way that they can. Stars — They’re just like us.