Celebrities. People who are famous around the world. How people came to their fame could be a number of different reasons, whether it be their genius mind, their looks or their families – the reasons that we hold people to such acclaim are endless. But does this mean they’re any less human than the rest of us? Or are they just figures in society we can ridicule and treat like play-toys to entertain ourselves, like they don’t have any emotion?
In the last week, american magazine InTouch released their latest cover – a photoshopped image of well-known Olympic gold medallist and reality TV star Bruce Jenner, where they placed his head upon “Dynasty” star Stephanie Beacham’s body. His face fills the page, laden with feminine attire and photoshopped make-up, with a headline ‘Bruce’s story: My life as a woman’. Firstly, anyone who believes that a family man like Bruce would reveal his true identity in a celebrity gossip magazine in such a tacky manner should take a step back. He may be in the limelight for being associated with the Kardashian clan who bare their lives so publicly, but he’s at least more humble than that. The story inside the magazine isn’t even his own words, it’s from a ‘close source’ of the family, but people won’t realise that until they buy the magazine – which is what the shocking cover is aiming to do. Using a person’s private issues to provoke sales is a bit of a low ball move, don’t you think?
Obviously plastering shocking stories about celebrities across magazine covers to encourage sales is nothing new, but the latest issue that’s arisen should make us think; is it worth toying with people’s personal issues, dragging their family into it and making a mockery out of them, and does this actually make us feel better?
There have been stories in the media over the last couple of years about Bruce Jenner’s gender identity, and if the rumours are true, and he wishes to live life as a woman, so be it. His business is none of ours, and we shouldn’t encourage transphobia because of it. Mainstream media is the established form of communication, so if the media are bashing and judging Bruce for his choices, it makes a mockery of him and seems to give people the right to act in the same way too. As Russel Brand put it in his video on the matter (which explains what’s happened very well) – it’s like we’re laying people out on a mortician’s slab and dissecting every part of them for analysis, for no reason what so ever. But when a magazine cover can lead to a 65-year-old man to cry in his car for just trying to live his life how he wants, you have to wonder where a line is drawn. Bruce may not even be transgender. Just because his hair is long and he has a manicure, doesn’t mean we have the right in society to point fingers and throw accusations.
It’s just worth considering next time you go and pick up a gossip magazine. It might be interesting reading about the lives of famous people, but there are personal issues when it’s more than just speculation, it’s prying and bullying. If someone was to follow you around every day and make a mockery of your face shape for example, it would reach a point where you would be so self-conscious about a part of you that you can’t change, and that can be damaging.
I would put the way the press have dealt with Bruce’s life down to ignorance, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to educate people to be a bit more compassionate with our peers. After all, we are all human.