These days looking around at the people in our world it’s clear we are divided. Two different worlds. One with the most people, these individuals are living their life and just trying to make ends meet, often maintaining a low-income home. Then we have celebrities, high-ranking officials, politicians and anyone else you see on the news or television consistently, they are the spectacularly unreachable famous community. A minority not too different from ourselves but unattainable. The gap seems huge between these two demographics; this day and age more so than in the past. With this gap, it would also seem many people believe that most role models or inspirations must be people who are the best looking, most popular or have the most money and possessions, which is not true.
For us, ordinary people, trying to stand out, these ‘Role Models’ were our inspiration. They were our end goal. They were what during childhood we’d want to be. Then when reaching adulthood they were the inspiration that lead us to who we need to be. Speaking from only one side I can’t say that all famous individuals are far from reach but the majority clearly have their own world to live in and I have not seen a celebrity I ever thought would have a big part on helping me become who I am.
With that said, music doesn’t count either, nor do books or famous plays, laws nor arts. Music can carry you to a separate world and maybe the artist can inspire through music or any other art form or intellectual form. This article is not addressing what everyone can do but the overall appearance they emanate what they have and what they can do. All these are what I include when deciding how relatable they are to the average Joe.
Looking back to the 19th century celebrities were realistic and more attainable to the common folk, although there still was very clear hierarchies. Just a simple Google search taught me that famous people in the past were scientists, explorers, writers and anyone who put time and thought into their life’s work. For example, Margaret Fuller. She was a woman’s advocate during times of hardship for women independence. She published a book on woman’s rights called “Women in the Nineteenth Century”. Here’s a quote from that book.
We would have every arbitrary barrier thrown down. We would have every path laid open to Woman as freely as to Man… – Margaret Fuller
She went on to become the first ever woman editor for the New York Times Tribune, and she truly does live every word of that quote. As she lived her life she proceeded to take on jobs and hobbies not normally associated for women to do at the time.
She is a big inspiration to myself since I am an aspiring writer and when I look at her I see a normal reachable figure that I can learn and grow from. Her story only proves that anyone and everyone can change social outlook. What made her strong and a historic figure was her adept ability and desire to learn; as one of the only women at the time let into the Harvard Library she only expanded her knowledge. She submerged herself in the world of knowledge and aspired to be a journalist.
Today, I find that examples like Margaret Fuller are far and in between. The world of the famous have just become too far out of our grasp. She is an easy inspirational figure in our history because not only does she fight for equality among genders she also used knowledge to do so. She did this not because she was given the money or the opportunity to, she did so because she had a passion and a drive of her own that kept her going. This woman inspired by showing that knowledge and hard work can get you anywhere. Another example this time from our century, known pretty much everywhere is the famous JB! Yes, Justin Bieber.
Looking at this young adult, he lives a pretty luxurious life. Just last year (2014) JB managed to make over 70 million dollars. He can travel wherever he wants, he can buy whatever he wants and pretty much do whatever he wants. For us people who know we have a 0.01% chance of this happening to ourselves, JB is just too out there to ever relate to anymore. Not only does JB have this effect but so does many other celebrities. They are fun to admire and it’s never boring to tune into their lives but as a leader for us, the general public, they fall short.
If it still isn’t too clear I have another example. Currently, an up and rising comedic you-tuber nicknamed Lisbug. She creates videos daily ranging from vlogs to parodies and anything in-between. She recently created a parody of a Taylor Swift song. Her intention is not to sound mean or cynical but to point out that not everyone can reach that perfect look celebrities all resemble. This is how I took the video and it left me thinking about YouTube and the YouTube community. A quote from the video is:
…you with your perfect face, long legs, flawless style. Reminds me that I’m short, out of shape, can’t run a mile… -Lisbug
Here she is talking about TS and how she can’t compare.
What these two examples share is that they were/are both part of the YouTube world. JB was just a normal teen dabbling with music and wanted to share his talent with the world. Being on YouTube he could write comments back to fans and still show off his normal way of living. A way of living many young guitar players and singers could relate to at the time. YouTube also got him noticed and pulled him into the famous life and he made his own choices from there on, be that good or bad. When he was pulled into that world his fan base from YouTube lost that small personal connection they previously had with him.
Lisbug is just a normal girl who started on YouTube. Most of her videos are comedic and well-edited but while watching she has a very realistic feel about her. Not only does she make funny videos and is also able to make a career by being famous on YouTube, she also keeps familiar with the public. She makes videos answering questions and she does videos on what her fans suggest she should try. She is very much a part of our lives as we our hers. This is where Justin Bieber falls flat. We have a personal connection to Lisbug but no longer Justin Bieber.
From the nineteenth century to our current date these two worlds continue to drift further apart. We no longer can be inspired by celebrities today because of just how amazing and popular they have become. Those on YouTube are the new up and rising stars because most people can relate to them more clearly, they don’t have perfect hair or perfect teeth with the perfect life all wrapped up in their palm. They had to work for what they have. They had to learn and explore outside their comfort zone. Not only are they similar by looks and lifestyle they are also able to reach us simply by communication. They talk to and notice those who watch their videos. They can relate to us as much as we can relate to them. This leaves a bond between those who chose to be leaders and those who wish to follow and learn.
Celebrities will always leave something for us to gain from music, movies, or other art forms, but that doesn’t make them relatable in any way. People who work hard and live a life similar to your own make it relatable, even though there is still the misconception of all famous people being everyone’s role model.