Thinking about what "breaks the internet"
By: Anthony Manrique
The recent news surrounding Kim Kardashian’s naked photo shoot for Paper Magazine stirred up a huge buzz on the Internet. Apparently the media is so obsessed with her butt that Kim made history by “breaking the internet.” Various media outlets glorified her butt in a way that almost seems like sexual fetishism. It doesn’t make sense that the media is spending so much time talking about a person’s butt for the sole reason of it being big.
Does it even matter? All I know is that it’s just another publicity stunt.
I remember back when Miley Cyrus stirred up controversy during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards with her antics like twerking and playing with a foam finger. At the time, she did manage to get a lot of attention for her actions, mostly criticizing her for doing such inappropriate acts on stage. A year later, she returned to the 2014 VMAs and yet again turned heads on stage when she sent a homeless young man to accept her award, in order to raise awareness for youth homelessness.
Surprisingly, she received a lot of praise from the press and the audience, with Miley looking like she did it out of sympathy for the poor guy. It seemed like everyone forgot about the events from the previous year, and that this was a chance for Miley to redeem herself. All I could feel back then was sorry for the homeless teen, because it looked like he just used up his fifteen minutes of fame.
Miley trying to highlight a good cause at the VMAs was a personal excuse to receive praise and attention from everyone who once thought of her as scandalous, and the homeless teen was just a tool to help her achieve this goal. Later on, Miley’s homeless VMA date was sentenced to six months in jail for violating probation. As for Miley, well, she’s still in L.A. doing whatever she’s supposed to be doing.
While she definitely did raise awareness for homeless youth, the way she went about it seemed more of a publicity stunt than an actual commitment. It was similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos people made to seek attention and “raise awareness,” instead of actually donating.
For quite some time now, I’ve noticed that the media and its audience are unaware of the attention they are giving to publicity stunts that are utterly irrelevant and pretentious. Trying to understand why and what makes them interesting puzzles me. It never made sense how even the most meager of things, such as a picture of someone’s butt or using a good cause to save face, can be newsworthy.
The only celebrities who are worthy of attention are the ones that take an active role on issues that are particularly relevant. Leonardo DiCaprio and Emma Watson are some of the few celebrities who deserve praise for what they’re doing, especially for their respective stances on climate change and feminism.
No self-respecting celebrity would do a publicity stunt to gain more fame or respect. If our society keeps paying attention to celebrities who “gain fame by being famous,” what will become of those who actually deserve it?
Photo Credit: Christopher Polk