Nearly everyday, celebrities appear in the news, whether it be to bring them down or hype them up, but more often than not, these stars struggle with the constant pressure of their peers, fans, and managers to look and act a certain way. They either conform or go against the pushed labels. However, it isn’t such an easy decision to make, and many factors need to be considered. Although not all have been able to stray away from the molds created for them, several celebrities strike down conformity by following their own values and interests instead of trying to please the public.
Public image has long since played a major part in a celebrity’s success. However, the pressure to maintain their reputation often ends in poor mental and physical health. For instance, “an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder” and a portion of that number are the celebs who constantly receive criticism from the public (Firman). The numbers are terribly high due to the unhealthy beauty standards that for so long have been drilled into this society. Fortunately, body positivity has become a popular topic and works towards reform, but the idea that being thin was the only way to be beautiful was a parasite for too long and lingers to this day. Not only did these stars struggle with their figure, but also they had to worry about their words and actions. Specifically, women have had to face the dilemma of being “respectable” or being “indecent”. To elaborate, in the past the expected portrayal of female stars, especially those in the music industry, meant being “pure” and “innocent”. They were simply “expected to set an example to kids” to be polite and modest (Snapes). This kept them from voicing their opinions and being true to their own values in fear of upsetting the public, putting them under immense pressure which is harmful to their mental health. For a long time, they suffered and endured the constant criticism, but several women grew tired of being kept in a box and decided to finally express themselves.
One way in which they chose to do so was through clothing. This garnered immense criticism due to several women choosing to wear more revealing clothing. However, one pop star of today, Billie Eillish, did not participate in the trend. She decided to wear quite the opposite, oversized and baggy clothing. Several “editorials praised Eilish’s ‘total lack of sexualisation’, [but] she denounced them for [degrading] her peers” (Snapes). She appropriately reminded the press of the offense of their actions and comments and that the other artists shouldn’t be shamed for simply not wanting to dress like her. Her behavior was baffling to most, but is completely reasonable in the sense that how one decides to dress should be based on their own preference and comfort and not on others’ opinions. Sharing in Eillish’s beliefs yet not in clothing style, fellow singer, Lizzo, has stated that “‘people [should be able to] wear whatever…they wanna wear’” and that “she’s exhausted by the cruelty that permeates online culture” (Elizabeth). With valid input, Lizzo fittingly fights the shaming culture and encourages others to live for themselves as she does. Thankfully, there are others with these same values and, hopefully, one day people will no longer judge but simply encourage one another to be true to themselves and not worry so much about others’ opinions.
In sum, celebrities have faced many challenges with public standards and, fortunately, many have rejected the unrealistic expectations and, instead, lived by their own principles. This step is only the beginning and should allow others to follow suit. Not only should other leading figures speak up, but the common people should do so as well. Society needs improvements, and, hopefully these values of self-expression and self-confidence will continue to spread and foster positive growth.
Elizabeth, De. “Lizzo Has a Message for Trolls Criticizing Her See-through Dress.” Teen Vogue, Teen Vogue, 16 Oct. 2021, www.teenvogue.com/story/lizzo-responds-negative-comments-see-through-dress.
Firman, Tehrene. “Celebrities Get Real about Eating Disorders.” Prevention, Prevention, 19 Feb. 2021, https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/g30996694/celebrities-with-eating-disorders/.
Snapes, Laura. “New Rules: The Destruction of the Female Pop Role Model.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Nov. 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/nov/25/destruction-of-female-pop-role-model-decade-in-music