This week in seminar, we spoke about gaze. First, we gazed at a picture of Robert DeNiro, an exemplar of power and fame. We spoke about the specific features of his face that complemented his personality. Even though the picture was taken at an award ceremony, he looked like he had not shaved recently, and his long hair was not done flawlessly like many other stars would have their hair if they had been in his position. This conveys his rough persona perfectly. Robert DeNiro has a certain attitude that everyone knows because he is so famous. His “tough guy” carefree attitude allows him to get away with things like neglecting to shave for an award ceremony, because it is almost expected of him to be rough around the edges and to not care about what others think of him. We also spoke about how there are different expectations for women that are higher than those for men. For example, if a female movie star went to an award ceremony wearing a dress with the tag still on it, she would be criticized by every news station on television about how she “made such a careless mistake,” but if Robert DeNiro went to the same ceremony with his fly open, we would just laugh it off because it would almost be normal to us.
So today, I decided to ask myself a slightly different question on the same topic. Why do we have different views and expectations of famous people than we do for ourselves? If an obnoxious rapper like Kanye West wore a chicken suit one day, no one would even question it. News stations would glorify him for “showing us that everyone can be beautiful in their own way.” Meanwhile, if we saw an ordinary person on the street wearing the same chicken suit, we would probably call the police to contain the mentally unstable and threatening individual. This made me realize that we have a much different view of our lives than we do for celebrities’ lives. We have trained ourselves to be very professional and contained in our everyday lives, but we look to celebrities to view life on the other side; they may represent the side of personality that we wish we could get away with in our everyday lives. Not that we can’t have fun in our “day jobs” per say, but looking at celebrities that act silly and outrageous every day makes us wonder what it would be like. It is almost as if celebrities live a “dream life,” where they can do things that would be unacceptable in average society.