October 19, 2021

The Media Places Toxicity on Young Celebrities

By Nikki Zing

Children grow up idolizing artists, actresses and entertainers they watch on television or in social media. Individuals who are being observed on these platforms begin their careers at a young age, which contributes to them developing a fanbase early on. The media has portrayed these celebrities as perfect and untouchable, rather than as human beings with emotions and feelings. Our current society does not recognize the severity and detrimental pressures that come along with having the entire world watching you.

Child actors and singers are exposed to the spotlight at an early age, with their every action being examined and critiqued. There is a lot of pressure placed on these young celebrities to be a role model for their young followers which causes them to eventually have a breaking point. Not to mention, it is very damaging and toxic to grow up in an environment that places so many unrealistic expectations on you at an adolescent age. 

Billie Eilish, 19, was recently featured on the cover of British Vogue magazine, showcasing revealing attire as contrast to her usual baggy style. The internet blew up when the cover was published and since then has gained record breaking views. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the photoshoot about how Eilish was an advocate about controlling her own image which was initially non revealing clothing. 

Eilish is a talented singer and songwriter who rose to fame at the age of 13. Her initial impact on the music business was with the song “Ocean Eyes,” and we have witnessed her grow into her career since then. Eilish is recognized for challenging the ideal standards of singers and celebrities with her values, one of which being the media’s objectification of women’s bodies. In 2019, she explained in her Calvin Klein advertisement that she utilizes fashion to hide parts of herself from the world because she does not want to be judged for anything other than her music. This resonated with many of her followers and females around the world because social media is used as a weapon to harass and sexualize women’s bodies based on what they choose to wear. 

“Suddenly you’re a hypocrite if you want to show your skin, and you’re easy and you’re a slut and you’re a whore. If I am, then I’m proud. Me and all the girls are hoes, and f— it, y’know? Let’s turn it around and be empowered in that,” she said. “Showing your body and showing your skin — or not — should not take any respect away from you.” 

Billie Eilish Defends Vogue Cover Shoot, Jeremy Fuster, TheWrap

The media needs to understand that it is not their place to judge or place their opinions on a young girl. Eilish was a child when she came to stardom and she recognized at that young age that social media would produce judgments about her body rather than focusing on her music. It is awful to watch celebrities shield themselves from the harsh criticism based on ideal beauty standards that society has established and continues to reinforce.

13 thoughts on “The Media Places Toxicity on Young Celebrities

  1. It is so sad what happens to child actors. As one of the most exploited industries, child actors are forced to go through so much. Billie is a great example. People criticizing her for not showing her skin when she is a minor is so beyond wrong. This article really brings attention to some of the dangerous media portrayals of children.

  2. I never knew Billie utilized fashion to hide parts of herself from the world because she does not want to be judged for anything other than her music. It’s so sad she has to do this because people can’t just take things for what they are like for example good music. The media is a weapon and I’m not sure how it has gotten to be this but hopefully one day it can be fun again and a way to connect with people.

  3. Hi Nikki!
    Great article. I found it very interesting how you brought up child stars and the effect fame has had on them from an early age. I have never thought about the way that the now young social media stars are going to be affected long term by their extremely quick rise to fame on platforms such as Tik Tok.

  4. Hi Nikki!
    I love absolutely everything you have wrote. I forget how young Billie is and how sophisticated she also is. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. That is one of my favorite quotes from Billie!

  5. I think it will be interesting to see how social media fame impacts young people in the coming years. Since viral platforms like YouTube and TikTok are so new we haven’t had much of a chance to see how fame there will impact the rest of that person’s life. However, you’re right that it will likely lead to unnecessary criticism of someone, whether that be their appearance or something else about them. While Billie Eilish is famous in the traditional sense, the impact we see still might be the same due to her age. Will influencers suffer the same fate as may child actors did before or will there be a change in the culture around fame?

  6. Hi Nikki,
    I think your blog post was super interesting and I actually did not know that about Billie. I think she acts very mature and carries herself well so I forget how young she is and how difficult it must be to grow up as a celebrity. This reminds me of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber and how they grew up on camera and even move they made the paparazzi was there to catch every mistake they made and finally they just did not care anymore and did what they wanted. I remember seeing an interview from both of them talking about how hard growing up as a child star is and I think Billie is handling the haters very well and she has been a huge inspiration to all of her fans.

  7. Absolutely powerful post on the effects of celebrity status on young people. Oftentimes people don’t think of the negative effects that stardom can have not only mentally, but also in physical approach to craft and appearance. Media representatives get paid for getting a quick story out, and often don’t think of the effects that it may have.

  8. I think using Billie as an example was a great idea! From such a young age she had so much pressure from the media and her followers on being more mature and could have felt pressure to grow up, but still did it the way she wanted. She is a great role model for younger girls and for the music industry because of her focus on the music instead of her image, which is rare for artists similar to her.

  9. Hi Nikki, This is interesting content and a great example. Nowadays, I feel most of the young age is dominated by social media platforms. It has a negative effect on them, such as bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people’s lives, and peer pressure.

  10. It’s crazy that there was so much media coverage surrounding Bille’s Vogue photoshoot. I applaud her for speaking up about the harmful effects of being in the spotlight at a young age and empowering young women to be comfortable in their own bodies.

  11. Hi Nikki! Thank you so much for writing about this topic. It’s so important to acknowledge toxicity in media especially toward young artists. Like commenters have said, it’s crazy to see how these double standards and unrealistic expectations plague the industry and damage people’s well being.

  12. Hi Nikki! I loved this article! I think it’s easy for us to forget, as consumers, how much pressure is put on celebrities from such young age. Billie is a great example of someone who has consistently faced public scrutiny when it comes to things that have nothing to do with her career. The quote you included clearly outlined the toxicity of this.

  13. This is a really important topic. In the past year and during the pandemic, people are spending way more time on their phones and leaving negative comments on social media. Celebrities have all been called out so intensely for every picture and every word they use. We also only know what we see and they have to be dealing with countless shaming messages and responses. I would never want to be a celebrity because your life is constantly critiqued.

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