I believe that in this era of fast-paced and easily accessed information, people attempt to manipulate and decontextualize moments, events, and concepts at all times. What I mean by that, is that something that has an established meaning can be taken out of its context- its setting, its time period- and brought to today’s reality for the sake of marketing and public relations. For instance, Jay-Z (or his agents) decided to wear something cool in his jacket for a concert, so he randomly took the title of a philosophical book called “In the dust of this planet” and put it on the back of what he was wearing. He took a complete set of ideas and printed it on a jacket, to give it a whole different meaning and to leave his insanely large audience to assign their own meaning to it. I believe that when we become content producers on the internet we imprint our own opinion and perception into what we are talking about, however, this decontextualization gets to a smaller audience and causes less of an impact. I believe that in this case, celebrities are the biggest decontextualizers, as every single one of their actions is followed by the mainstream media and every single one of their words are followed and appreciated by millions of people. Yet at times they don’t realize how much power they have.
For instance, let’s consider the ability that celebrities have to change the meaning of certain concepts or words- and make people believe them. Recently, Shailene Woodley stated that she does not consider herself as a feminist because she loves men. Wow. I was really shocked by this because being a feminist certainly does not imply hating men. I believe this comment came from her naiveté and her unawareness of how many girls were going to receive this wrong message.
Also, let’s consider the ability that celebrities have to become activists. Beyoncé has stated several times that she’s a feminist; but what has she done exactly? She sings lyrics that say that girls run the world, she takes pictures like the one below, and in the back of the stage in her concerts she displays the word “feminism.” But let’s face it. Some girls (who are not singers and famous) might do all these and more (like writing blog posts about women’s rights), but not consider themselves activists just because they don’t have as much of an impact. I believe that the perfect example of real activism is what Emma Watson did recently- speaking before the United Nations about women’s rights, and how the word Feminism has been so wrongly misinterpreted.
In conclusion, I think that the biggest decontextualizers are celebritites- especially because partnered with social and mainstream media, they have the most power to impact and manipulate masses. I wish that some of them utilized that power for the good and the betterment of society instead of using it to sell and market their own image.