Opinion: Celebrity bashing is not our right



Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere is a junior journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

I dare you to think about this question very carefully: Could you handle being a celebrity? I know for certain I could not. Sure, there’s fame, fortune and thousands of admiring fans, but the armor you will be required to wear at all times may get to be a bit constricting after a while. I’m talking about the hate, the bashing and the nameless, faceless, malignant comments, about everything from the way you dress to your breed of dog, from which you will have to protect yourself.

Some may say these people — and let’s remember that they are people just like us — have chosen a career in which strangers have the right to discuss them freely, positively or negatively. You would be right. They absolutely do create a platform for conversation by choosing to live their lives in the public eye. But I think we need to remember that they open themselves up to criticism, sure, but not cruelty.

I believe, through the Internet, we have created a false sense of entitlement to say exactly what is on our minds, whether it be a glowing review or a harsh, personal attack on someone we don’t even know. Because we have the ability to sit behind a computer screen, or even remain anonymous, as we detonate our crushing blows on these strangers, it becomes so easy to be as ruthless as we see fit without ever having to deal with the consequences.

But celebrities do have to deal with the consequences of our words. To think I am still learning how to handle constructive criticism is laughable compared to the angry mob of “critics” that berate people like Anne Hathaway or Kristen Stewart. Just the other day BuzzFeed posted dozens of tweets from random people wishing Kristen Stewart a happy birthday, all directly followed by some variation of how much they hate her. Reading those messages even made me feel hurt, so it’s hard for me to imagine how they affected Stewart.

Where did we get this idea that being critical is equivalent to being hateful? That loose exercise of hate is a fabricated “right” we have amended to our role of critic in attempt to justify our trash talking. Unfortunately, we have to live with the fact that this cultural norm of being cruel to celebrities is our own fault; no one else gave us permission to let our insults fly freely.

As cliché as this might sound, I think it’s important we take a moment to pause our fingers before typing something we would not like written about ourselves. As much as we often believe celebrities are not “real” people because of their glamorous, lavish lifestyles, they are prone to the same emotional traumas as the rest of us. As much as they like to say they don’t pay attention to our unkind remarks, I don’t believe that for a second. They just have better poker faces.

There’s a very fine line between being critical of someone’s work or talent and being cruel. I think it’s time for us to think about leaving the criticism to the real critics, the ones who get paid to use their words in a constructive but not defeating way. There’s only so much hate one person can take, and I wouldn’t want to be a part of pushing someone to his or her breaking point.