What Can We Glean About the Degree to Which Celebrities Are “Like Us” and Not Like Us Given Nytimes, Vulture, Buzzfeed, Vogue, Mirror Posts and How Does Gender Factor Into It?
Taking celebrity culture as a potent site at which to analyze the new visibilities of feminism and its responses to a new wave of conservative and deeply reactionary politics, I explore the ways in which networked publics coalesce around celebrity events and, in discussing, analyzing, and critiquing various actors within these events, engage in boundary work around what it means to “be a feminist.” From responses to celebrity harassment to hashtag campaigns supporting celebrity feminism to critiques of imperfect feminist celebrities, this dissertation explores the contentious debates about feminism that arise around celebrity culture within digital spaces. To analyze these discourses, this project draws together literature from three often-disparate academic subfields: platform studies, feminist media studies, and celebrity studies. Using a case study approach, each chapter draws on intersectional feminist theory to examine a celebrity event from 2014-2016 that incited controversy across a variety of media platforms around issues of gender, sexuality, race, and class. I track each event across online and legacy media outlets and engage in multiplatform critical technocultural discourse analysis to analyze how discussions amongst issue publics that coalesce around each event both reflect and further define contemporary feminist discourses in ways that are often distinctly shaped by the digital platforms on which they emerge.
It is apparent that we as a population of the world are not represented by most of these celebrities. Although signs of an open society are displayed by them, the unique lifestyle that is displayed by them is full of hedonism and wealth that a majority of us cannot attain. Despite this, we live our lives believing that we can be in their positions and strive to accomplish this, and somehow we tend to relate to them. It is because celebrity culture that parasocial relationships have formed in our society, where average individuals like us feel an intense sense of connectedness with these celebrities in a one-way relationship.
Celebrities’ lives are easily identifiable to the public and can thus make them good role models.
Epstein, Joseph. "The Culture of Celebrity." Weekly Standard. 11.5 (2005): n. page. Print.
Gabler, Neal. "Celebrity Culture Is Beneficial." Trans. ArrayCelebrity Culture (Opposing Viewpoints). Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Print.
Hedges, Chris. " Celebrity Culture Is Harmful." Trans. ArrayCelebrity Culture (Opposing Viewpoints). Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Print.