The word “celebrity” derives from Latin celebritas, meaning “fame,” “busy,” or even “crowded.” Its early meanings entail pomp, ceremony, and the act of celebrating. These early meanings ignore the role of audiences in the creation and maintenance of celebrity. Hollywood is perhaps the best example of this phenomenon. The earliest use of the term, however, was in a Roman Catholic context.
The rise of television and popular culture introduced new types of celebrity. The Beatles and Elvis Presley became rock stars, and John Lennon made the controversial comment “We’re more popular than Jesus now.” Television also gave birth to other forms of celebrity. Rather than being actors and musicians, celebrities were now talk show hosts, newsreaders, and other personalities. Even some former young stars shunned the limelight. Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson stayed away from the hard-core Twilight limelight.
Some celebrities have come from humble backgrounds. While they may not have achieved international fame, their parents or grandparents may have been wealthy. Some of the more notable families may have been famous for a specific field. For example, the Kennedys were famous for their involvement in US politics, the House of Windsor was famous for royalty, and the Rockefellers and Hilton families are well-known for their business savvy. Other famous families include the Kardashian family, the House of Windsor, and the Rothschilds.
Ballet dancers do not expect to become famous overnight. However, their popularity can be huge enough that they can become popular for one reason: their talent. In the United States, Misty Copeland, a former ballet dancer, broke the mold by becoming the principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater. She later appeared in a Drake music video, on countless TV shows, and even wrote a book. In addition to her many accomplishments, she has nearly 2 million followers on Instagram.
The term “celebrity worship” is a complex concept. As a social phenomenon, it has become a topic of intense interest. Researchers have suggested that there are three levels of celebrity worship: entertainment-social, intense-personal, and borderline-pathological. While many scholars accept that celebrities are an important part of our culture, their worship is not healthy. For these reasons, celebrity worship should be examined carefully. And how does it affect us?
Some theories suggest that celebrities pass on symbolic meanings to the products they endorse. According to these theories, a celebrity’s endorsement process enhances the perceived value of a product. In the 1980s, McCracken proposed that “celebrity endorsements enhance a product’s perceived value”.