Celebrity worship syndrome (CWS) is an obsessive addictive disorder in which a person becomes overly involved with the details of a celebrity’s personal and professional life.
Celebrity worship for purely entertainment purposes is a perfectly healthy past time for most people. This type of celebrity worship involves harmless actions such as knowing and reading about a celebrity and following them on social media to know about their upcoming movies, music albums or sporting events. But apart from this, there are many different levels of celebrity worship that is harmful to themselves and those around them. The different classifications include simple obsessional, entertainment-social, intense-personal, love obsessional, and borderline-pathological.
This level of admiration is linked to a celebrity’s ability to capture the attention of their fans. This can be following celebrities on social media, and knowing about their daily life. Although considered the lowest level of celebrity worship, it has been seen to have a number of negative effects like unhealthy eating tendencies, poor body image and low self-esteem.
- Simple obsessional stalking
This is not necessarily between a common person and the famous person with whom they are obsessed with. This case happens when a person has social awkwardness or low self-esteem and they feel inferior seeing someone they know personally, or a celebrity, for the confidence that they have. Such people bolster their own self-esteem by dominating and intimidating their mates. Exercising power over another gives them some sense of power in a world where they otherwise feel powerless. This is the most common form of obsession and it results in domestic violence in many cases.
This is an intermediate level of obsession that is associated with neuroticism and psychoticism. An example this would be, “I consider my favourite celebrity to be my soul mate”. It has been found that people who worship celebrities in this manner often have low self-esteem, especially if they think that the celebrity is physically attractive. People who have high levels of obsession are more accepting of cosmetic surgery than those who do not obsess over celebrities.
- Love obsessional
Individuals who demonstrate this sort of stalking behavior develop a love obsession with somebody who they have no personal relation to. The people that demonstrate this form of obsession are likely to suffer from a mental disorder, mainly schizophrenia or paranoia. Individuals that are love obsessional stalkers often convince themselves that they are in fact in a relationship with the celebrity. These are the cases where people have imaginary conversations and discussions with the celebrity they admire.
This classification is the most severe level of celebrity worship. It is characterized by pathological attitudes and behaviors. This includes spending tons of money on common items that were once used by the celebrity or even willingness to commit crime on behalf of the celebrity.
Although the media is not the only cause of CWS, it is the main reason for it to go to such dangerous extremes. The mass media is constantly bombarding people with images of glamorous lives of celebrities. The media is thankful for CWS and encourages it, as it gets more viewers, sells more products, and obtain more subscribers. In short, it makes money off of people who have CWS. Celebrity worship is not a new phenomenon. It is only reaching new terrible extremes because the media is coming up with innovative ideas to get people to obsess over celebrities.