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The Wolf

The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

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Evelyn Rusnac
Staff Writer

Celebrities are manipulating their fans with parasocial relationships

Photo+by+Olivia+Beauchemin
Photo by Olivia Beauchemin

While it isn’t unhealthy to like a celebrity, a fixation can get obsessive. When someone fixates on a celebrity, they may comment on their posts or tweet at them. If celebrities respond to this behavior by replying as if the fan is their friend, the fan may feel as if their relationship is personal. 

These connections are called parasocial relationships, which are one-sided relationships with a celebrity. When a celebrity is close with their audience, their fans are more likely to buy and promote their products. This means that any relationship with a celebrity is a power imbalance, as young fans can be impressionable.

Many Gen Zers have experience with parasocial relationships. The internet has made it easier for celebrities to show intimate moments of their lives, allowing fans to think they know them on a personal level. 

This became popularized with YouTube in the early 2010s, where the platform allowed everyday people to vlog their lives. Many YouTubers would address their audiences personally, giving their fanbases a name and creating merch to deepen a bond with the fans, some of whom were running fan blogs or dedicated social media accounts. Nowadays with more social media outlets, such as Instagram stories and TikTok, it has become easier and normalized for celebrities to show off every miniscule detail of their lives. 

Taylor Swift is currently in the hot seat for being one of the largest participants in parasocial relationships. She has invited fans into her home to listen to her albums and has published pages of her personal diary for the world to see. These actions have made it easier for her fans to feel as if they are close to her. When someone as popular as Taylor Swift has their actions exposed, it is much harder to critique them when there is a fanbase ready to support someone they see as a friend.

Being aware of parasocial relationships makes it more difficult to get roped into one. If you find yourself in one, it may be best to take a step back and realize the celebrity you have a personal connection with is really a stranger with less-than-genuine intentions, for the sake of your wallet and sanity.



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Daisy Valencia, Staff Writer

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