This post was inspired by how appalled I am at most of my countrymen who view celebrities as if they’re god-like creatures because I am used to viewing them as equals. They’re merely humans with different priorities and principles in life, and understandably so, is in a different path in life than the rest.
Leaving the TV on is usually our family’s background noise to keep our home from being too quiet because quiet is boring and sad for my parents. They would usually put a noontime Filipino TV show on. Recently, I watched a show about people auditioning to become celebrities. I know things like this is weird for some culture but for the majority of the Filipinos, auditioning to become a celebrity is viewed as something only god-like creatures can do. In other words, most people think they are unworthy, especially if they base their worthiness on their looks. The glamour & elitism in the Filipino celebrity world is attractive and sellable because of this. This, I believe, is shaped by the centuries of discrimination and exploitation my ancestors faced in the hands of the colonizers. It created a line between paupers and the “better citizens”. I say this because one is very likable if one is good looking, smart, and is in the middle-class or are well-to-do. In other culture, individuals are viewed as better than the rest if one possesses riches – looks are just extra. In the Filipino culture, any of the aforementioned makes you better than the rest. Alright, now this is not based on research. These are merely based on my personal observation that my friends and family also share. I am open for discussion about this but if anyone knows a related research, I’d appreciate if you’ll include a link or the title of the study in the comments. I can’t find any as of the moment.
Auditioning to become a celebrity, just like applying for a job, is a process where employers (or the show business) acquire resources – in this case, humans/celebrities – to help them generate income. While auditioning to be a celebrity is personal and subjective to the auditioner by proving one’s self to be valuable than the rest, the business’s main concern is monetization. In other words, employers exploit the celebrity’s emotional vulnerability for capital. You may think, “So what? It’s a win-win situation.” Well, yes. It may be. But a clueless celebrity may be susceptible to stronger exploitation that may even cause them their mental health. The ones who know how to play the game – pretending to get exploited to exploit the show business for monetization, is in a real win-win situation. It’s business. It’s transactional. The celebrities who are successful are because they’re either skilled at being resourceful and innovative, or they have smart and very skilled business managers which as a result, the celebrities may learn from them. It’s all about capitalism, even in the case of fame. To give you an example, let me tell you a story about a young starlet in the 80s named Pepsi Paloma. She was blinded by the entitlement, fame, and money in show business to the point her naivety was taken advantaged of. This cost her her mental health, and eventually, her life. The 80s was a very different world for the Filipinos and sexism and misogyny was strong. She was raped by veteran celebrities. She told the country about it but no one believed her, and worse, the society shamed her for it. She eventually took her own life.
I want the Filipino society to realize that good looks are just one of the many characteristics that make a human being valuable in the society. We’ve been conditioned as a child that a person with great looks is more valuable than the rest. But we also have to realize that humans are valuable for other reasons, such as, when one is an intellectual, or when one possesses creativity or if one is bodily-kinesthetically skilled. I know, I know. It’s obvious that Filipinos love the arts: especially drama or what’s commonly known to the Filipinos as acting; we love music or what’s commonly known to the Filipinos as singing at high octave vocals, something most Filipinos enjoy and put value into; we value intellectuals such as writers and journalists turned TV Anchors. We also love sports and this is very evident in our basketball fanaticism. We all value these traits but not valuable enough as the person who has great looks. To primarily put value into one’s good-looks may overlook other people’s skills and talents that may be useful in progressing the community, and the country as a whole.
We all go through the same life stress in our careers, finances, and relationships. It doesn’t seem to make sense obsessing over how someone is better than the rest and idolizing them for being better than one’s self because of their looks or fame. Sure, there is high monetary value in fame brought about by the celebrity’s good looks (and great talent manager) but happiness is not merely in monetary form. You’re happiest when you are in good company of friends and family and yep, this is backed by research. I also think humans invented the social hierarchy because of their yearning to find meaning in life and to feel unique and to make their selves feel better. Just like cakes – we’re all the same without the icing. You’re a better cake when you taste good without the icing. Fame and money is the icing in the cake, and it ain’t shit. (Figuratively) We’re all going to die anyway. Find joy in what’s already around you.
Thanks for reading, until next time.
(Published yesterday but edited today because I’ve better thoughts to add today than yesterday. Blame caffeine. Coffee is love.)