October 19, 2021

The Decline of Celebrity Culture: A Search for Relatable Content Post-Pandemic

By: Colby Finucane

Celebrity culture in the United States has become a huge facet of our capitalist society, as movie stars, reality tv stars, musicians, and actors rise to fame in the limelight selling the illusion of relatability and attainability to us. With the rise of online social platforms like Instagram and Twitter, it has only become easier for these individuals to share glimpses of their day-to-day life that is otherwise unknown. Before the pandemic, it was normal to see them flaunting their wealth, but something shifted in 2020.

After COVID-19 started spreading rapidly and the world came to a halt, even celebrities were forced to quarantine at home like the rest of us. It was then that public attitude shifted. Everyday people were busy being consumed with the grim reality of losing loved ones, a rising national death rate, political unrest, racial injustice, police brutality, and more. It started to feel a little out of touch to go online and see a celebrity rant about the inconvenience that is the pandemic.

From complaining about having to take care of their kids 24/7 to outright ignoring lockdown regulations and traveling, the celebrities did it all. My breaking point was Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” video, but I won’t get into that.

[Read: Ellen takes down video after ‘jail’ joke about coronavirus self-quarantine lands poorly]

The lasting result of this pandemic on pop culture is a search for authentic online voices that are self-aware and actually relatable. Whether it’s a celebrity or online influencer, people want to follow someone who represents their values and uses their platform for more than just performative allyship and activism.

Writer Tomi Obaro states in her article on the subject that, “at their best, celebrities can actually use their massive platforms to champion the messaging from public health officials, amplify charities doing good work, and spur personal action. But at their worst, they highlight the deeply entrenched inequalities in our country.”

As states are reaching the point where those 16 and older are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and we’re entering into the new normal, it will be interesting to see how the celebrity will change in the public eye. I think this change in public behavior will have a lasting impact on the culture of oversharing among celebrities online. My prediction is that celebrities will be more selective with what they share and social platforms will slowly become more for brand engagement and advertising through influencers and public figures, rather than the flaunting of personal wealth.

What do you think the future of celebrity looks like? Where is line the between influencer and celebrity?

6 thoughts on “The Decline of Celebrity Culture: A Search for Relatable Content Post-Pandemic

  1. Hi Colby,

    I would agree with you that social media platforms will shift into more brand awareness and engagement. However, with celebrities and influencer culture, I feel it will only get bigger despite everything that has happened in the past year. In a way, since everybody had to quarantine, people only felt more connected. In any case, it will be interesting to see what happens with social media in the future.

  2. This is an excellent conversation to have as we rapidly approach normalcy post-pandemic. I agree, the ever increasing disparity between the average citizen versus wealthy celebrities was highlighted enormously during the pandemic. However, I don’t necessarily think that it made the “shock value” entertainment of following a celebrities daily life any less enjoyable for many. Part of the “joy” in following celebrities is that we get an insider-look in how “the other half” lives. I agree, people did get more up-in-arms about seeing how these individuals were spending their time/money in lockdown but the key part was that they were still tuning in.

  3. Hi Colby! This is an awesome blog post! I agree that as a consumer/follower we want to follow someone who is somewhat relatable, and represents similar values.

  4. Hi Colby! I love your Tomi Obaro quote and then the picture of the Kardashians. That was so perfect and really to the point. I agree that celebrities didn’t do that great of a job with their social media during this pandemic and that people are getting over it. I know at least that I am so annoyed with staring at celebrities flaunt their wealth and that they can still travel and have fun. I hope your predictions are right and that our society’s obsession with celebrities is ending.

  5. I think this was a great topic to write about and one that I honestly hadn’t thought about much before reading this blog post. I agree that it was super fun to see celebrities posting at home in their sweats during quarantine and about their quarantine pets. It made them seem more human. I also remember a few of the crisis moments celebrities had when they went on vacation mid-pandemic, like the Kardashians in the photo above, and they got a lot of backlash for it. I think that during this pandemic communities really came together to hold everyone accountable, including celebrities.

  6. Hi Colby,
    I completely agree that Covid-19 has shown the major differences between celebrities and the average American. While many people were experiencing food insecurity, job loss, isolation from loved ones, celebrities complaining about things that everyday people go through as shocking really showed that many celebrities are out of touch with reality and the people who gave them fame.

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