California — If you’ve ever been on the internet, you know that celebrities are one of the most popular subjects on every social media platform. People have always been idolized, but our “internet age” intensifies the way that’s expressed and encourages parasocial relationships.
Every time I open X, I witness a brutal exchange with a stan account. BTS Army, Swifties, Barbs, Arianators — you name it. If someone critiques these artists, they'll immediately be swarmed with hate. Having a community with a common interest is a great thing, but going as far as doxxing and making death threats is the epitome of over-idolizing.
Fans become harmfully attached to celebrities because they can follow their every move through social media. They develop emotional connections that won’t be reciprocated, create expectations for these celebrities, and feel hurt if those expectations aren’t met.
Singer Ethel Cain recently expressed in an interview that she felt “meme-ified,” and that fans obsessed over her persona to an uncomfortable degree, rather than her work. She experienced supporters taking jokes too far on X and yelling untimely comments during poignant songs at her shows. But people need to realize that they’re supporting real people with boundaries, and they can’t really know someone from their media presence.
Audrey La Jeunesse (she/her) is a high school senior from the Bay Area.
Edited by Amber Ly