Dying to look like Cheryl Cole Celebrities, celebrity

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  • 1.Celebrities & Celebrity Culture: Role Models for High-Risk Behaviour or Sources of Credibility? Dr Yvette Morey Professor Lynne Eagle Dr Gillian Kemp Simon Jones Dr Julia Verne
  • 2.Celebrity/ies? Celebrity participates in our lives as an ever-present current of narratives, discourses & images (Holmes, 2005: 22)
  • 3.Representations & Role Models Media images & representations: Substantive work on media reps → ‘media images’, ‘stereotypes’, ‘ideals’ quantitative, causal relationships but: how are images consumed, meaningful? How do they translate into practice social networks & friendships Role Models: Commonplace but “unclear … in a psychological sense how ‘role modelling’ might actually work” (Gauntlett, 2008) How do role models become meaningful to people? Social or Individual function? One or more role models depending on contexts/behaviours (tensions?)
  • 4.Contemporary celebrity culture Historic, current configuration in 80s (Cashmore, 2006) Dominates media content across formats (tabloidization of news) Becoming/being a celebrity – accelerated, visible process Reality TV (X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Big Brother) Extraordinary Ordinariness, ‘willabees’ Taylor Herring: top 3 career aspirations Not achievable by all, except through: Consumption: consuming, living, behaving like a celebrity Self-promotion: technology enables us to construct ourselves as media
  • 5.Methodology Content & narrative analysis heat, Closer, OK!, New! Highest ABC circulation figures for 18 – 24yr olds (most likely to participate in high-risk behaviours) Examine contexts & narratives about celebrity (textual & visual) Readership survey – how is celeb content consumed in magazines? Interviews & focus groups – how celebrity/ies are meaningful to readers?
  • 6.Initial findings Recycling of key, dominant narratives/stories: Appearance (transformation: weight, cosmetic surgery, addiction) Relationships (marriage/divorce etc.) Pregnancy (attempts/miscarriage/adoption) Mental/health breakdowns (mad-bad to recovering-good) Katie Price, Kerry Katona, Cheryl Cole, Charlotte Church & Victoria Beckham – ongoing process of managing, repudiating, creating scandals that afford media attention Celebrities routinely shown engaging in high-risk behaviours, simultaneously depicted as shameful & aspirational Alongside ‘advertorial’ content – weight-loss, tanning, cosmetic, leisure, fitness, spiritual products
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  • 10. Ideological function of celebrity magazines - deconstruction & reconstruction of celebrity & celebrities
  • 11.Celebrities engage in high-risk behaviours shown as shameful and aspirational – how do young people engage with this? Becoming a celebrity - aspirational identity narrative available to young people – what does this mean to them, what does it entail? Does the ideological tension of reconstruction/deconstruction invalidate celebrities as credible sources for soc mark interventions? OR does this mirror the lives of young people in an authentic manner? Critical need to qualitatively expand our understanding of representations and role models Downstream – we need to understand what role these dominant narratives perform for any intervention to be effective Upstream – whose interests are served? Implications for Social Marketing Celebrity is not an impartial declaration of merit or talent; it is an economic mechanism designed to keep consumers from asking questions about media ownership, control, and taste-making.