What got me thinking about this? Well, I couldn’t sleep last night so I ended up migrating to my computer (as usual) and began looking for something to do. I was sorting through my photo, since the internet wasn’t working. The end result was a ended up staring at pictures of Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Yes I do wince a bit in admitting to having pictures of these has-been pop stars (Britney in particular), but it got me thinking about the media.
The Boom of Britney
Most people my age and older won’t forget this Barbie doll who burst onto the scene with her hit singles some years ago. I was still in Junior School, so seeing this amazing beauty, along with her tingling stage presence made me mesmerized. I listened to her music, and found it strangely catchy (and dare I say addictive). Back then though, I wasn’t aware though That I was buying in a media culture, and potent symbol of female sexuality.
I doubt I could listen to that stuff now, but back then it was great for me. It put some tuneful songs in my head, and an interesting person in my dreams. I think that the success might’ve even astounded her, with the rate in which she rose to the top. Most people nowadays, will write her off…but back then most of us liked her, if not her music as well.
Why do Icons exist?
I’m starting to sound like a die-hard Britney fan, so I’ll move onto a more vital point. These questions come to my head, and I’ll stick with three just for now. They are:
- Why do these icons exist?
- Is it healthy for society to have these symbols?
- Is it telling us something about ourselves, and the way we are handling our culture?
These are big questions to answer, but I think they’re worth tackling. I personally like to find out the reason behind the reason. I like to think about something hard enough, to be able to get to the core of it.
So with regards to the first question, probably the broadest one, there are a number of answers. First off we are a competitive society. It has its pros and cons, but a spin off from that is that we idealize people. We compare ourselves to people so that we can become better. These icons also bring us a sense of comfort, because they’re people we look up to. It’s also just exciting looking at someone who is talented in their field. I also think that these icons exist because they keep the world sane.
Look I won’t deny that some icons like Marilyn Manson for example are more damaging, but with regards to positive icons…they keep us comforted. We stay comforted to a degree that if we were to pull those people out of the picture, there would be big, uncomfortable gaps.
The second question is less complex. I believe it’s a healthy thing. Look I can see why it is beneficial, provided those icons don’t have a nihilistic approach.
Unfortunately with these people come savage and hungry paparazzi. There are rappers, actors, musicians and so on not giving us something legitimate. But look hard and you’ll see positive people.
Angelina Jolie may not be totally angelic, although she has been actively involved in UN projects, and other forms of social outreach. I give her credit for that. With other positive icons like Bono, I can’t say that I’m worried about iconic figures becoming an unhealthy thing for us.
The Concluding Question…
I think Media icons mean, that there are people prepared to stand out, and in some cases stand up for something good. If you look at a political figure like Al Gore, he would be a good example in standing up for good ideals. It also means that we are willing to embrace, and stand up for some ideals. That’s quite comforting I think. Icons tell us a lot about ourselves, and the way we handle things. They also give us an indication of our limits. Since its only the controversial in most cases that stand out. Think about it, Paris Hilton wouldn’t be the same had her sex video not been released. And Marilyn Manson would not be who he is if had not eaten his own shit on stage.
Just a couple of thoughts to keep you busy ;D