The Evolution of Celebrity Culture: From Old Hollywood to Social Media
The concept of celebrity has been around for centuries, but the way we view and define celebrity culture has changed significantly over time. From the emergence of Hollywood to the rise of social media, the evolution of celebrity culture has been shaped by various factors, including technological advancements, cultural shifts, and societal changes. Today, we’ll explore the evolution of celebrity culture from Old Hollywood to social media and examine how the concept of fame has changed over time.
Old Hollywood Era
The Old Hollywood era refers to the period between the 1920s and the 1950s when the American film industry was in its prime. During this time, Hollywood became the hub of the entertainment industry, producing movies that were watched by millions of people worldwide. The studio system was the driving force behind Old Hollywood, and it was responsible for creating the star system that made celebrities out of actors and actresses.
The studio system was a way for movie studios to control every aspect of film production, including the actors and actresses who appeared in their movies. Studios would sign actors to long-term contracts, giving them control over their careers and image. The star system was born out of the studio system, and it was used to promote and market movies to audiences. Movie studios would create personas for their stars, often using their personal lives to sell movies.
During the Old Hollywood era, celebrities were viewed as larger-than-life figures, with fans idolizing them and wanting to emulate their style and behavior. Some of the most notable Old Hollywood celebrities include Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, and Audrey Hepburn.
The post-WWII era saw significant changes in celebrity culture. Television became the dominant form of entertainment, and it had a profound impact on how people consumed media. Unlike movies, which were released in theaters and only shown for a limited time, television shows could be watched from the comfort of one’s own home and were available for a more extended period.
The rise of television also led to the emergence of new celebrities. Talk show hosts like Johnny Carson and David Letterman became household names, as did game show hosts like Bob Barker and Chuck Woolery. Musicians like Elvis Presley and The Beatles also rose to fame during this era, and they became cultural icons, influencing fashion, music, and popular culture.
During the post-WWII era, celebrities were viewed as glamorous and aspirational figures, but they were also seen as more accessible than their Old Hollywood counterparts. People could watch them on television every day, and they seemed more relatable and down-to-earth.
21st-Century Celebrity Culture
The 21st century has brought about a significant shift in how we view celebrity culture. The rise of social media has democratized fame, and anyone can become a celebrity by creating content and building a following online. The traditional gatekeepers of the entertainment industry, such as movie studios and record labels, no longer have as much power as they used to, and social media influencers have become the new celebrities.
Influencer culture has also blurred the line between celebrity and non-celebrity. People who were once considered average have become famous by sharing their lives on social media, and they have created their own brands and personas. Influencers can earn millions of dollars by partnering with brands and promoting products to their followers, and they have become some of the most influential voices in popular culture.
The impact of social media on celebrity culture has been both positive and negative. On the one hand, it has given people the opportunity to become famous and share their stories with a global audience. On the other hand, it has also led to a culture of self-promotion and vanity, with people seeking fame for fame’s sake. Social media has also made it easier for celebrities to be targeted by trolls and online hate, which can have a negative impact on their mental health and well-being.
The democratization of fame has also changed the way we view celebrities. In the past, celebrities were seen as unattainable figures that people looked up to and admired. Today, celebrities are viewed more as peers, with people feeling like they can relate to them and interact with them online.
Examples of social media celebrities include Kylie Jenner, who has built a billion-dollar beauty empire by leveraging her massive social media following, and PewDiePie, a YouTube star who has over 100 million subscribers. These social media celebrities have become some of the most influential voices in popular culture, and they have disrupted the traditional entertainment industry by building their own brands and personas.