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Communications & Media
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How the Media Consolidates Systems of Stardom/Celebrity, Whilst Supporting the Beauty Industry (Essay Sample)

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the task was to analyze how Hollywood stars are used by the media and the beauty industry to sell products

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How the Media Consolidates Systems of Stardom/Celebrity, Whilst Supporting the Beauty Industry
Introduction
The consolidation of systems of stardom/celebrity in the U.S and Europe started in 1913 and 1914 and reached its peak by 1919. Consequently, the prototype masculine stars emerged and took their place in the center stage. Before 1911, the public did not know the names of the big stars because the producers were not revealing them (Dinu, 2012). The reason the producer did not publicize the stars was that anonymity was being used as a tool for competition by different production companies, and this practice continued in Hollywood for a long period. For example, the two most dominant production houses at the time were Vitagraph established in 1897 and Biograph. Actors in the productions by the two companies were known as either “Vitagraph girl” or “Biograph boy”, but not by their real names (Dinu, 2012).
In spite of the anonymity, stars had to sign contracts, and they were expected to adhere to the terms of the contract, even if they were not satisfied with the pay. The practice changed when the Motion Picture World magazine demanded that the real names of the stars should be stated in cinematographic productions, and it is speculated that the first star whose name was revealed to the public is Maurice Costello (Dinu, 2012). The aim of this essay is to examine how the media consolidates systems of stardom/celebrity, whilst supporting the beauty industry using contrasting examples. The primary methodology used in this essay is secondary research where books, journals, websites and magazines were the main sources of information.
How the Media Consolidates Systems of Stardom/Celebrity, Whilst Supporting the Beauty Industry Using Contrasting Examples
Towards the end of the media development age, the star system emerged and evolved, and its consequences are evident in the star transformation process for different social actors that were being exploited through the television by the beauty industry, entertainers, politicians, and moderators among others (Gibson, 2012). In the book “Glamour” published in 2008 by Stephen Gundles, the author elaborates how a new association between luxury brands, celebrity and fashion, that is the beauty industry has emerged. The point the author makes mirrors common practices today whereby a celebrity attaches his/her name to a certain product for example perfume in what fashion journalism calls “fragrance” (Gibson, 2012).
Scholars have placed celebrities into two contrasting categories concerning the beauty industry and they include a group that consists of stars who are highly devoted to the beauty industry, and a second group of stars who are not much concerned about the beauty industry. Fashion designers and other players in the beauty industry prefer stars who are devoted to fashion, and an example of such stars in Hollywood include the Olsen twins, Madonna and Chloe Sevigny among others (Gibson, 2012). Celebrity who take a keen interest in the beauty industry and a high-fashion look, and influence prominent designers are normally reserved front-row seats in dressmaking shows held seasonally, and this means that they have replaced the prominent fashion journalist who were traditionally granted these seats (Gibson, 2012).
However, in some occasions fashion houses invite the wrong star to help market their products. For example, the young actress Lindsay Lohan, who has never been known to be a devotee of fashion, was invited to take the role of Artistic Advisor at the House of Ungaro. The fashion house was harshly criticized for its involvement with the actress, and this led to Lohan’s dismissal (Gibson, 2012). The beauty industry and fashion as understood in the celebrity world is different from the clothes people wear on a daily basis, or how people choose to present themselves. Many people idealize women who have celebrity status that include girlfriends and wives of famous people, but it is difficult to find the picture of these women in glamorous magazines. On the contrary, fashion magazines always welcome fashion celebrities (Gibson, 2012).
The influence of stardom on the beauty industry have made many young women today to prefer being labelled sexy as opposed to stylish. This trend has been characterized by the manipulation of the female body to achieve the ideal size-zero look. The size-zero look is a central feature in catwalk shows and front pages of glamorous magazines (Gibson, 2012). However, the celebrity culture has led to the emergence of new types of body ideals, with the most popular one being breast implants that make the breast larger than the norm in the beauty industry. The beauty industry has had profound effect on young women, but young men have not been left behind as there is quite a number of movie stars, singers and people in the music scene whose dress and hairstyle has been mimicked (Gibson, 2012).
Most studies on stardom and the beauty industry have focus on the female body because it has been the subject of interest among both men and women. Most young women that aspire to attain the celebrity look cannot afford the luxurious clothes from designer brands spotted among celebrities (Britton, 2012). This has led to the emergence and growth of a market that manufacture inexpensive designer goods, and the growth of counterfeit markets. On the contrary, young women who want to appear glamorous and sexy as opposed to being admired for their sense of fashion may opt for close-fitting clothes that are revealing (Britton, 2012).
A study done among British footballers’ wives and girlfriends sought to examine the power these women wielded. The researcher noted that these women will never think of wearing a dress that fail to enhance their shoes or cleavage, and make their legs appear longer. Unlike the gatekeepers of fashion, the status of the footballers’ wives depends on wearing trendy clothes and looking attractive, and this makes many regular women to identify with them based on the perception that they have common fashion challenges (Klein, 2014). The curvaceous look that has been over sexualized is partially influenced by the glamorous models seen in men’s magazines. What is considered glamorous among modern stars is different from the old-fashioned conception where glamour was associated with carefulness and love. The modern glamour is a soft version of the porn star look (Klein, 2014).
The preference for size-zero models has continued to dominate debates in the beauty industry, but a new body that has emerged that is even harder to achieve and it is present everywhere in the popular culture. Achieving this new body demand undergoing extreme measures that may include starvation and surgery (Gibson, 2012). In the fashion industry, a flat-chested body is preferred but the most popular body among young female singers is slim body with large breasts. This gives these celebrities an over-inflated cartoonish body, as best exemplified by several glamour models depicted in men’s magazines and tabloids, but this type of beauty has nothing to do with fashion (Gibson, 2012). However, some women undergo procedures to attain this type of beauty, especially women if they want to look like their favorite celebrity for example Pamela Henderson in her younger years and Kim Kardashian among others (Gibson, 2012).
The global desire to attain the new ideal of beauty has made some scholars to question what fashion has become. For a survey done in 2009 on a website owned by a female celebrity found that 85 percent of the people who were visiting her website were women contrary to the popular opinion that staunch followers of female celebrities are men (Sandler, 2015). The fashion industry exploits celebrity status and fame to sell their merchandize while celebrities benefit by looking glamorous for their fans, and thereby gaining more popularity. Celebrities are used by the beauty industry as an ideal representation of beauty and fashion (Sandler, 2015).
Philosopher who have theorized on the concept of beauty have come up with different theories to explain beauty and its influence in society. The theories of beauty have been divided into universalistic approaches and subjective approaches. The universalistic approach consider beauty to be an inherent quality that is possessed by a person or an object that can be measured based an objective criteria (Klein, 2014). The Greek philosopher Plato who placed beauty among forms that exist in perfect and idealized states advanced the argument, and some of these forms include goodness, justice and the truth. The classical conceptualization of beauty in the Greek philosophy further consider beauty as something that can be quantified and measured objectively using mathematical formulas, proportion and ratios (Klein, 2014).
Even Greek philosopher who embrace the universalistic approach to beauty like Plato still consider gender in their discussion of beauty (Klein, 2014). The classical understanding of beauty concentrated on male bodies because perfectly proportional muscles was thought to present the ideal beauty. From the onset of 18th century, scholars changed their definition of the ideal beauty to the female body and started to only use the female body in their discussion of beauty. Women were considered a passive object to be observed, female beauty was labeled a “deceitful maze”, and this enabled the linking of beauty, morality, and the truth (Klein, 2014).
The universalistic approach to female beauty has also been referred to in semi-scientific discourses. For instance, some evolutionary psychologists have argued that the ideal female beauty is connected to health and productivity. This means that under this definition of beauty w...
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