OPINION: From The Red Carpet to The Soapbox

Do celebrities opinions mean more than mine and yours?


Dear Celebrities,

I don’t care about your political leanings.

A 20-year-old suburban girl who might be secretly envious of your fame and success…but that is beside the point.

While I wish I could stop there, unfortunately, the topic of celebrities in politics is a bit of a gray area. When Caitlyn Jenner announced entering in the running for governor of California, I could not help but fight with myself to justify why I have to be okay with this reality.

As someone who quite enjoys going against the status quo, I have never been one to idolize or keep up with a celebrity. In fact, most of my acknowledgements of celebrities are in instances of vague familiarity with them where I will say things like, “Do you know what’s-his-face from, that one movie, with the hair and the eyes?” But even though I tend to ignore celebrities outside of their creative work, as soon as they decide to get political, I find myself morally stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Those advocating for celebrities to shut up and perform are valid in the sense that many celebrities don’t know what they are talking about. They go live in their gated communities giving each other golden statues and stay inside their little curated, privileged worlds. Some celebrities such as Adele or Harry Styles, even have the nerve to weasel their way into American politics when they are not even American citizens. To me, that is particularly aggravating.

However, as much as I value them for entertainment and not their political beliefs, I do not believe we, as regular people, should be bashing on celebrities for expressing their opinions. Though seemingly so far from our own world, these celebrities are people and citizens too; and they have every right to express their opinions as we do. Telling them to shut up and stick to performing is a little annoying on our end because the truth is, we would not be saying that to celebrities who voiced the same opinion as us.

Celebrities have a platform, like none other, to get their voices heard. This could be great for hearing out a minority that a celebrity may represent but also dangerous for impressionable fans. It is not uncommon to see loyal fans mirroring the actions, opinions and thoughts of these celebrities that they admire without doing much digging on their own because we feel like we can trust these people. However,It is ridiculous to expect a celebrity to stay in their lane, and not engage in politics because they are people who are trying to make sense of the world just like us.

At the same time, many celebrities feel like it is their duty to get involved in controversial topics, take stances or be public about their belief systems. They may mistake our admiration for blind faith to believe in whatever they deem as moral or justified.

Celebrities are not the only ones who assume we value their opinions more than we do, but politicians utilize celebrity influence as well. We can see that as recently back as the election season of 2020—where despite countless refusals of formal interviews with accredited press companies— Joe Biden took an interview with Cardi B instead.

This undoubtedly well-planned strategic move for Biden, shows just how much celebrities influence our willingness to watch but also how much celebrity culture plays into how politicians view winning their political races.

This makes me consider what motivates a celebrity to get into politics anyway. When I look at Jenner, I cannot help but feel like this is out of the blue. Suddenly, a fairly quiet voter and citizen, wants to be governor of California. Until now, Jenner has been quiet on many political issues. At the heart of any good politician should be the desire to do good. Though I do not doubt that Jenner wishes to make a positive difference in the state and–besides having over 3 million twitter followers–I don’t see how engaged Jenner has been in the community. If it were not for Jenner’s fame, I doubt that there would be any significant pressure on the new race for governor of California.

Almost two decades ago, fame helped propel another celebrity Republican into office, Arnold Swarzenegger. However, Swarzenegger was not entirely new to the world of politics. He helped enact hundreds of dollars in funding for school programs, created a fitness council for President George H.W. Bush and was married to Maria Shriver, who was a member of the Kennedy political party.

Though we might not enjoy seeing familiar faces break into new grounds that we do not know them for, it is up to each celebrity’s own conscience to determine how much of an impact they want to use their stardom for.

Nevertheless, I do wish the world was filled with more celebrities who took their conscience to the polls instead of projecting their values onto unsuspecting audiences.