Thursday, 25 October 2012

Respecting Celebrities

The Internet allows us the opportunity to communicate with people all over the world. It provides us the opportunity to connect with people in the public eye; an opportunity that is often taken for granted. Those in the public eye are not obligated to communicate with us; it is an honour not a right. They generously give of their spare time or down moments to do so and some people repay them by treating them like property, demeaning them, harassing them or generally being disrespectful and inappropriate.

What some of you seem to forget is that celebrities are real people with real feelings. They are entitled to private lives and down time and do not have to justify their absence to us, we don’t own them. Their professions may be in the public but their private lives are just that: private. What they choose to share with us is entirely up to them, what they don’t is none of our business. We do not have a right to their personal lives any more than anyone in our own lives has a right to pry into our own personal business. And just because someone is in the public eye doesn't mean that their children and families are. They should be free to be online like any one of us, without fans swarming. They did not choose the public life and we should respect that. If someone introduces their family members and states that it’s ok to interact with them than that is a different story.

Celebrities are not your girlfriends/boyfriends. Finding someone attractive and complimenting them on their looks is on thing. Making sexual comments online, particularly in their mentions is perverted. They are people, not meat and deserve to be treated with dignity not reduced to body parts. Would you really talk the way some of you do to/about celebs to someone you were actually dating? Because some of the comments, twitter locations, banners, DPs, and things that make it onto tumblr are downright disgusting. And just because you are a teenage girl does NOT make it cute. If a guy said some of the things I see teenage girls put out there they would have their heads bitten off. Double standard much!? How would you feel if someone said such things to you or your daughter/son as if you/they were nothing more than a sex object?

Just because we are fans of someone’s work doesn't mean they have to work on our timeline. It is their careers, their talent and visions that they generously share with us. They should be free to pursue the paths they choose on their own schedule, within the bounds of any professional contracts they may have. I for one would rather see something that they are proud of and that is meaningful to them than something they just churned out for the sake of it or to meet demands. Asking something over and over again isn't going to change the outcome. We don't know what is going on behind the scenes so why harass celebs over something they may have no control over. We are not the only people in the equation, have you ever considered how it makes them feel to see the repetitive questioning to things we don’t know the whole story on. Consider how you feel when someone constantly nags you about something. Being patient doesn't mean that you don’t admire someone’s work, but it does show respect for their feelings. If they have news relevant to the public they will share it in time, not on demand.

If you have the privilege of meeting someone in the public eye or receiving a DM from them the information that you receive as a result of such interaction is private. It is not a bragging right to share with the world at large. You have been entrusted with information, honour that trust and keep it to yourself! If a friend or family member shares something privately with you do you not honour that trust? How is it different if that trust is bestowed upon you by someone in the public eye? Just because they are famous doesn't mean they don’t have the right to be respected and their trust in you upheld.

Many celebrities have asked bluntly or more subtly for people not to spam them. They have so many mentions and to have to scroll through all the spam must get old. It also means the rest of us get lost in the onslaught and makes it harder for them to reply to people should they wish to. There are also boundaries that need to be respected. Their private lives are not our personal jungle gyms and to act as though they are is disrespectful and inappropriate. Like everyone else they are entitled to their opinions. If you don't like something they have to say you don't have to reply. If you don’t like someone’s work that’s fine, everyone has different tastes, but that doesn't give you the right to slander them online for it. There is constructive criticism and then there is bashing. The world really doesn't need more hate.

Celebrities are not pawns in your sick games of pit one person against the other. Everyone is entitled to have their favourites and everyone is entitled to make comments on someone’s talent. Nobody is right or wrong. If everyone liked the same things the world would be a boring place. However, trying to prove that your favourite is the best by slandering other celebs and their fans is disgusting. These are again real people you are bashing in the name of your own favourite. They have feelings. And you are hardly being a proud representative of a fandom when you assume that the person you are barracking for would be alright with you putting down their friends and co-workers in their name. Respect each other and those who are generous enough to share their talents with us. 

For people who claim to respect, love and admire these people some of you sure have a bizarre way of showing it. Just because you have the safety of a computer screen or other such device between you does not give you the right to be hurtful, disrespectful or inappropriate. Online persona is not an excuse. You are still choosing to act that way. There are boundaries and some of you run right on past them and don't stop for anyone or anything. People often talk about such behaviour ruining things for everyone else, and while this may very well be true I am personally more concerned about the feelings of those who are subject to such things on a daily basis than my own enjoyment of interacting with these wonderful people. I would not blame some of the celebs if they pulled away from social networking altogether with the endless crap that ends up in their mentions and only intensifies at the smallest of things. Mountains are made out of mole hills on an increasingly regular basis and at the brunt of the speculation, demands and gossip are real people with real feelings, people who don’t deserve to be treated this way. Like everyone else they have the right to feel safe online and if minimising their interaction online is what they need to do to avoid such things their happiness is more important to me than their continued generosity to communicate with us.
So before you go mentioning someone in the public eye put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you would feel if someone treated you like that. I’d like to hope that you would not wish to be treated the same way.